Ethical Stance

In the initial stages of the MA course my interest in the use and value of materials led to researching the unethical implications of the Jewellery industry. Sadly the more I learnt about the impact that precious material sourcing (including all metal) has on large communities of people, wildlife and the environment, the more I questioned my practice. Initially when learning about the reality of sourcing precious Jewellery materials, my reaction was to reject their use to instead pursue alternatives. I realised that this response would be unproductive and I also did not want to limit what I could potentially offer as a jeweller:

Giving up goldsmithing because of irresponsible mining would serve no purpose. We believe that rather than abandoning gold, metalsmiths should demand that the mining industry abandon practices that endanger people and ecosystems. Gold can and should be obtained responsibly and metalsmiths have an important role to play” (Ethical Metalsmiths, 2008)

This study established my strong belief in ethical and sustainable practices but instead of encouraging my pursuit of Green gold and ethically sourced gems it strengthened my conviction and confirmed my pursuit of re-using materials that society discards.

All jewellers should consider the way in which they work and the materials they use and consume in their practice but unfortunately this is not the case. Since completing this study in 2008 positive changes, although slow, have been made within the Jewellery industry which thankfully have been fuelled by pioneers such as:

The Ethical Metalsmiths

Greg Valerio from CRED Jewellery and Foundation 

Association for Responsible Mining 

Corporación Oro Verde (Green Gold Corporation)

Christine Dhein of Green Jewellery News 

Ute Deker 

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