The Dirty Jewellery Industry
Why we work hard to source ethically at luxe.zen
In the jewelry industry many hands touch the materials we use to craft our pieces before they even arrive in our studio. At luxe.zen we believe it is our responsibility to understand and make conscious choices about the impact of our work on those who contribute to our materials.
So why is the industry so dirty?
Gemstone and metal extraction occurs in almost every country in the world today. Wherever there may be mineral deposits, there will inevitably be mining. In some cases, political instability, lack of human rights laws and poverty can contribute to unethical practices in the industry. Resources can be controlled and extracted to fund civil war and genocide. Lack of safe and dignified working conditions can put workers lives at risk. Mining and manufacturing firms can pay less than a living wage in impoverished regions in order to bolster profits. Further, the process of extraction itself can displace people when the land becomes more valuable for its deposits than its role as a place to call home.
What can be done?
- Work with vendors who offer transparency in the source of stones and raw materials, including diamonds certified by the Kimberly Process as 'conflict free'
- Ask suppliers for certification and source information if not readily available
- Research the human rights and environmental protections that govern the regions where materials are sourced
- Find alternate sources for the material if the record of a particular region is questionable
- Design without material if no alternate sources exist
Our specific steps
- All of our diamond designs feature raw or polished diamonds certified 'conflict-free' via the Kimberly Process
- We avoid sourcing coloured stones from areas where the profits of gemstone or metal mining funds conflict and human rights abuses where no certification process exists
- We work with small businesses in sourcing raw gemstone material right from the cutting region of Jaipur, India to ensure fair living wages
- 75% of our metal components are handcrafted in the USA by a small woman-owned business to ensure fair living wages
- The remainder of our metal components are sourced from supply companies with transparency in location of manufacture
- We are consistently working toward improving transparency and accountability in our supply chain