Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference Highlights Ethical Consumption

BLOOD DIAMONDS
This Nov. 1, 2006 file photo shows miners digging for diamonds in Marange, eastern Zimbabwe. The international body charged with monitoring and preventing the sale of blood diamonds on Friday made it easier for Zimbabwe to export diamonds that are certified as conflict free. At the same time, the group was unable to reach agreement on a new definition for “conflict diamonds” that would have expanded its current mandate. Meeting in Washington, the members of the so-called “Kimberley Process” let lapse a requirement that mining at Zimbabwe's notorious Marange diamond fields be monitored. Allegations of violence and worker mistreatment at Marange led the group to first ban sales and then impose monitoring on operations at the fields last year to ensure that no abuses were taking place. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo
BLOOD DIAMONDS
This Nov. 1, 2006 file photo shows miners digging for diamonds in Marange, eastern Zimbabwe. The international body charged with monitoring and preventing the sale of blood diamonds on Friday made it easier for Zimbabwe to export diamonds that are certified as conflict free. At the same time, the group was unable to reach agreement on a new definition for “conflict diamonds” that would have expanded its current mandate. Meeting in Washington, the members of the so-called “Kimberley Process” let lapse a requirement that mining at Zimbabwe's notorious Marange diamond fields be monitored. Allegations of violence and worker mistreatment at Marange led the group to first ban sales and then impose monitoring on operations at the fields last year to ensure that no abuses were taking place. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo

Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference Highlights Ethical Consumption

Ever since the “blood diamond ” controversies of the late 90’s, the jewelry industry has faced increased scrutiny over ethics and sustainability. Progress has been slow and uneven. While the number of illegally mined diamonds is significantly down, the prevalence of illegal gold mines is shocking. In Peru alone, illegal gold mines are a three-billion dollar a year industry that ravages the country’s rainforests and exploits countless thousands of people. TheChicago Responsible Jewelry Conference will explore all points in the supply chain. We’ll talk with the conference’s founder, Susan Wheeler, about her vision of a jewelry industry that can have a positive impact on emerging economies.