Tag Archives: making ethical jewellery

Would you like Meghan Markle to buy your jewellery?

It’s been in the news over the last week or so that the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has been choosing to wear jewellery brands that use ethical materials and have sustainable business practices. However, if you’ve looked into it you’ll know that this is not as straightforward to do as you would hope. There’s so much to think about including mining practices and their environmental and workforce effects; the mining of precious metals; the use of chemicals in the workshop and so much more. This is why we have been working with expert Stuart Pool to create a new one-day course in Ethical Jewellery especially for our students. The course is designed primarily for jewellery business owners who want to feel more informed about their ethical options but is open to all with an interest in the subject.

What is covered in the course?
  • Industry issues and why we need responsible sourcing of metals and gemstones 
  • Gold & silver – Fairtrade & Fairmined options 
  • Diamonds & gemstones – including sourcing options and buying tips, mining and the journey of the gemstone, man-made stones 
  • Your workplace – what you can do in your own space to be more ethical 
  • And more! 
This intensive one day workshop will be taught for 8 students as a maximum, ensuring you have time to discuss your business and get specific advice from Stuart. You will receive a certificate of completion in Ethical Jewellery at the end of the workshop.
ethical jewellery class at the London Jewellery School
Who is the guest tutor?
Stuart Pool is a specialist in responsibly mined and fully traceable coloured gemstones, mainly sourced directly from mines in Sri Lanka and Tanzania. He runs gem trading companies Nineteen48 (www.nineteen48.com), Rubyfair (www.rubyfair.com) and Crown Gems, as well as being a co-founder of Fair Luxury (www.fairlux.co.uk), a group focused on positive change in the jewellery industry.
Stuart works very closely with local mine owners to provide a mine-to-market service, from extracting the rough gem material and the cutting and polishing of gemstones, right up to the sale of gems to the end customer, both wholesale and retail. The emphasis throughout the supply chain is on maximum transparency and fair benefits to everyone involved.
Stuart’s companies support charitable projects in both Sri Lanka and the UK and he is also committed to educating the widest possible audience about the issues within the jewellery sector. He is supportive of many initiatives and programmes within the industry which are trying to improve conditions and benefits for those involved in all stages of the supply chains for diamonds, precious metals and coloured gems.
As Stuart is busy with his own work we currently only have two dates available for this course in 2019 and half the places are now gone for the February course so don’t wait to enrol.
Who knows who will choose your jewellery if you create an ethical jewellery brand. Maybe royalty.

In the jewellery workshop: Ethically sourcing gemstones

London Jewellery School tutor Penny Akester recently wrote about sourcing fair trade metals now she turns her attention to gemstones in her final article on more sustainable jewellery making.

If you’re working in gemstones, (and this applies to a lot of other materials too) – don’t be afraid to ask your suppliers where their stones are sourced from.

Many materials are so anonymous when we receive them that it’s hard to know how they were processed or where the raw materials come from, but if people keep asking and searching, the supply chains and sources will start to become more open, allowing us to make more informed decisions about the materials we choose to use in our jewellery.

ethically sourced gemstones

Ethically sourced gems from Brazil Gems

Why ask?
Gemstones, just like metals, can be mined in terrible circumstances with no regard to the workers safety or human rights, or consideration given to the environment in the mining process and chemicals used.

As well as mining stones from their original source, there are also health, environmental and human rights problems often created where the stones are cut and processed.

On top of this there are ongoing problems, especially with diamonds with both rough and cut stones being sold to fund conflict and violence.

The Kimberley Process
This is an international certificate system that has been in place since 2003 aiming to prevent the sale of conflict diamonds. This unfortunately is not very successful and as it does not certify individual stones, it only relates to batches of rough stones and as well as not tracking stones once they are cut, has a lot of other loopholes that mean in effect that a lot of conflict diamonds are still entering the market.

What Can Jewellers Do?
If you want to know about the stones you use, find a supplier that makes the effort to ensure that their stones are traceable and will be able to tell you where your stones have come from, as well as where else they have passed through.

The more you can know about them the better – for example – it’s no help to the few miners struggling to build peace and work ethically in otherwise troubled countries like the Congo if jewellers avoid buying diamonds from the entire region, or if a stone comes from a responsible mine but has been cut in a factory in India using forced labour.

Some suppliers that sell ethically sourced gemstones include:

(if you know of others – do share their details here too!)

For more information about ethically sourcing gemstones, see: