Jewelry has been the biggest status symbol for people since time immemorial. It denotes wealth, beauty, love, and in some cases, family legacy. Gold and diamond ornaments are particularly purchased as gifts for loved ones and special occasions. However, recently, the industry has come under strong criticism for constant mining gold and diamonds and exploiting human rights. Luxury brands are doing their best to grapple with the rising grave concerns in the ornament sector. The online jewelry design software is here to solve all your problems and enable brands to reduce the mining burden and continue with their ethical practices. Its customization and digital solutions enable brands to establish transparency and let their customers know where and how much they will be extracting the jewels. This helps the industry to reduce the burden and do the business with utmost honesty.
Jewelry Design Software Offers Solutions to Become More Ethical and Sustainable
According to a report published by Human Rights Watch, globally, about 90 million carats of rough diamonds and 1,600 tons of Gold are mined for jewelry every year, generating over US$300 billion in revenue. Though it sounds super-profitable, it causes tremendous problems to the planet. Therefore, it is imperative for brands to adopt a transparent supply chain for raw materials, as it is not merely a nice-to-have. Besides, these days, clued-up consumers will not go with the brands if they are unsure where the gemstones and precious metals used in their jewelry comes from. Gradually the subjects, such as accountability, sustainability, artisan mining, and traceable materials, are becoming the mainstream, and the nice jewelry businesses are being overshadowed. Though it’s been a long road, the jewelry industry is waking up to the significance of preserving the environment and giving it back to the mining communities.
According to the World Gold Council, Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) makes up 20 per cent of the world’s supply of newly mined Gold. The environmental impact of continuous mining makes the future of the planet bleak as they are majorly responsible for massive deforestation, especially in the Amazon and other sensitive ecosystems worldwide. It is well-known that artisanal mining is a major source of mercury pollution whose impacts go beyond local problems of contaminating the water. It starts causing long-term health problems for nearby communities and spreads as air pollution across geographical boundaries. It is impossible to trace Gold mined in the Amazon as most of it is exported to leading jewlery brands, and even they are kept in the dark about its safety, and they don’t know who is responsible for sending the wrong material.
While the jewelry brands can’t alone fix the supply chain, they bear some responsibility for the problems, and they need to come up with a strong and significant role to play in looking for answers to these concerns. On the other hand, many experts believe that there is a tremendous opportunity to reduce the burden of gold mining and its impacts on the planet but to turn it into a source of sustainable livelihoods that communities can depend on rather than suffer from.
Let us look at the various ways brands can help in restoring the environmental balance and continue to garner profit from the business.
Here are some ways to become more ethical and sustainable for jewlery brands:
- Charge More to Earn More
It is an open secret that diamonds and Gold are costly luxuries, and the price environment has to pay to meet customers’ needs and fashion sense is very well documented. This is the primary reason for the boom in lab-grown diamonds. According to above-ground diamond creator Diamond Foundry, companies use 127 gallons of water and release 143 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for each carat of natural diamond mined industrially. And as explained above, the complexity and long process of extraction and supplying it to consumers make it impossible to track down the retail diamonds and Gold. This leads to conflict diamonds that reach the market and begin illegal trading. These unethical practices cause poverty among the miners with zero basic facilities, yet the brands continue to earn huge margins. It’s no wonder the industry has such a bad reputation for sustainability and fair trade.
However, as the status quo is gradually changing and brands acknowledge the shift driven by consumer behavior and high-profile choices for the red carpet. The new luxury consumers demand to know the whereabouts of the product they buy, whether it is a leather bag hand-crafted in an Italian workshop or a solitaire engagement ring with a diamond mined by a major corporation, and as the creation and purchasing experiences take on increasing importance in luxury, the product journey from raw material to a shiny, new item is a big part of the story.
Moreover, the jewelry industry has begun to address the issues and incorporating solutions that acknowledge the problems. The Responsible Jewellery Council said it’d seen an increase in demand for responsibly-sourced ASGM and that it “works with partners and members to promote responsible supply chains of ASM material and this includes mining in an environmentally responsible manner”. On questions regarding Gold’s impacts on the Amazon, “We would refer to other expert organizations who are engaging in the Amazon region. We are familiar with the work of the Cleaner Gold Network and have supported their work through jewellery engagements.”
- Lower the Cost of Mining
These days, taking care of people means taking care of the environment. And according to Livia Firth, who recently visited Botswana, examples of best practices show how mining businesses and governments can work hand-in-hand towards a fairer spread of wealth. The government has outlined how the diamonds mining scan benefits the country and how the government should ensure re-investment into free education, healthcare, and local housing communities for the mineworkers. This would thus create a culture of micro-entrepreneurship. From the model, it is evident that responsibility, transparency, and accountability are driving the change. The first step on the road to sustainability is traceability, and tools like De Beers’ Tracr program, designed to create a passport for each stone mined, is an important advancement for the industry. But outside of the big groups, there is a groundswell of smaller operations championing responsible mining.
To solve this problem, Greenland Ruby, an awarded and licensed mining and exploration organization, is the first colored gemstone miner to join the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). It certified and traceable rubies and pink sapphires that are amongst the oldest in the world. Greenland may not be the first country that thought of springing into conjunction with the challenges faced by the mining communities and taking care of humans and animals.
Likewise, Kering has also commenced the internal standards for responsible Gold through the Kering Ethical Gold Foundation Framework, a dedicated buying platform increasing the brand’s gold souring. The luxury house aims to support responsible gold producers and support mining communities through the Kering Gold Fund. Moreover, last year, the brand, through its funded projects-initiated the Amazon reforestation programme.
Similarly, the Dear Darling Berlin, a new digital-based label started in 2020, offers timeless and simple classics procured from sustainable manufacturers. With its chain necklaces or silver and gold hoop earrings, the Berlin-based label hopes to cater to a market niche between inexpensive fashion jewelry and high-priced luxury jewelry. The label works with manufacturers certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and uses mainly recycled silver.
The emerging brands can a lot from the success stories of the leading brands and adopt strategies that will balance the profit and environment. If this seems too much for you, we have got your back. Our jewelry design software online works on the sustainability concept but with a technology flair. It enables brands to establish transparency by allowing their customers to design the ornament from the e-catalogue and getting inspired by it. They can imprint initials or text on their jewel. Besides, brands can manufacture the pieces only after receiving confirmation from the buyers, thus, ensuring track of the manufacturing. Its digital features help brands to produce the jewelry in real-time and supply the entire supply chain.
- Reduce Human Rights Abuses
Millions of people work in gold and diamond mining across the globe, and the majority of them, approximately 40 million, work in ASGM operating with little or no machinery and belonging to the informal sector. It is believed that artisanal and small-scale mining is the most crucial source of income for the people working in the gold mines. But what is worth noticing is that mining leads to human rights violations documented by the Human Rights Watch and other civil society groups that include wide subjects, including labor rights abuses, conflict-related abuses against civilians, violations of the right to environmental health, and other violations. Moreover, there have been cases where international mining companies and governments had abused the rights of local people when they were asked to clear the land for mining and exploration. For example, in Zimbabwe, the government has been accused of forcibly displacing villagers to make diamond mining in Marange.
Additionally, in some conditions, adults and children working for mines have become victims of forced labor and human trafficking. Those who attempt to leave may face violence and other abuse. Human trafficking occurs when a person is recruited or transported by force, threat, or deception for exploitation.
The jewelry industry must look for solutions that prevent humans and animals from becoming the victim at the hands of powerful, cruel, and callous people. The individuals are blinded by the money they earn from all the hard work put in by these local and underprivileged people. Also, it would be unfair to view everyone with the same lens, as there are brands that are doing philanthropy and give it back to nature. Some companies engage in philanthropy or social programs outside their operations due to their commitments to corporate social responsibility. Such charitable endeavours are largely unrelated to the question of whether a company is living up to its human rights responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles.
Amazon Aid launched the Cleaner Gold Network, an initiative aimed at engaging the industry and policymakers, consumers and others to protect the rainforest by creating “a more responsible supply chain from the ground to the consumer.” It’s asking companies to take a pledge calling for commitments similar to what has become commonplace in apparel, that is, to commit to working towards responsible sourcing of Gold by 2030 and to disclose first-tier gold suppliers publicly. Next week, the network will host an event including a panel, “Reshaping the Industry to Protect the Amazon”, meant to engage the jewellery sector.
The Goal is Not Unattainable-
Behind the scenes, activists have been lobbying hard to improve the working conditions of miners and reduce the negative environmental impact they have had. The brands have been working together to control natural resources and amount to neo-colonialism. This quite simply can no longer happen today. Hence, companies need to outline how large-scale and artisanal mining should influence environmentally friendly and involve a shorter supply chain. They should come up with a solution that ensures both models could co-exist and work side-by-side. Also, many companies rely on the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) to help them meet their human rights obligations. The organization has helped the industry adopt more responsible practices and plays an important role on similar grounds; the 3D jewelry design software by iDesigniBuy works that blend technology, design, and nature in the perfect combination. The custom-made tool empowers brands to listen to the environment and people and cater to their demands by letting them customize their ornaments and manufacturing them only after receiving orders from them. The tool offers robust business solutions that enable companies to stand tall in the market as it helps brands meet all the dynamic demands put forth by the users.