Russia's War on Ukraine & the Ongoing Importance of Ethical Jewelry

The current crisis in Ukraine shows us the imperative that ethical business needs to become business as usual in the jewelry industry.

 


A global reckoning with the contribution of gold and diamonds in the funding of Russia’s war on Ukraine is underway.


There are now official US sanctions on Russian diamonds and movement in the Senate to bar Russia’s liquidation of their gold reserves amid concerns that this stockpile be used to fund the war.


Recycled gold, which is widely promoted in the jewelry industry as an “ethical” option, will be severely compromised for the foreseeable future if Russia begins liquidating gold assets for this purpose.


By applying ethical decision making as a core value all of the time, jewelry businesses do not need to scramble to change in times of crisis.

Below are some standard practices we've applied in our business to safeguard from violating our ethics.

 


We purchase exclusively Fairmined Certified gold grain - an assurance label from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations who meet world leading standards for responsible practices.


By participating in this system, we directly support mining communities and know that our gold purchases are not funding money laundering, terrorism, and other harmful activities - like waging war on Ukraine.


 


US sanctions on Russian diamonds sound good. But there is a major loophole in only banning direct imports from Russia. Rough diamonds are sold in mixed origin lots at auctions outside of source countries, without a shared system of traceability.


These mixed lots mean that it is nearly impossible to determine whether a diamond comes from a location with terrible human rights abuses or a location with better practices.


Since there is extremely limited access to diamonds that can be verified as traceable to a single source we currently only source post-consumer recycled diamonds (or lab-grown diamonds, by request).


 

Materials we typically source from Russia are colored gemstones with important deposits there, such as tsavorite garnet, alexandrite, and emerald. At the beginning of this crisis, we examined our sourcing to pause all purchase of materials newly sourced from Russia until further notice.


This situation is a strong reminder that these purchasing decisions always matter, and that it’s also important to stay responsive.

We regularly re-evaluate and increase the rigor of our sourcing standards.


Asking your favorite jeweler or designer how they obtain materials is always important. We welcome all questions about our sourcing and commit to transparency with our clients.


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