A recent article out on the news wires (link here) reports that the British government is aiming to make retailers and producers more aware of human rights abuses that take place in their supply chains . This should give a boost to both ethical gem suppliers and ethical jewellers.
Ethical Jewellers such as Rachel Sweeney, co-owner of Cox + Power, said: “I think there is much more awareness of ethics and fair trade in all fields – food, fashion, jewellery – and people are aware of conflict issues relating to diamonds as well.”
This is a great initiative by the UK government but recommendations and guidelines should be backed up with legislation. Unethical dealers will always ignore guidelines and attempt to undercut the ethical competition by using products sourced from those using child labour and unacceptable working methods.
The supply line of gemstones and other raw materials should be open and accountable and any supplier and importer who cannot satisfy officials should be refused the ability to import their stock into the UK.
With the ease of communication and the internet it is relatively easy for companies to become more transparent about their working methods and give their customers the choice. If the government is taking a step in the right direction with these guide lines it can only be welcomed but without teeth it is still up to the buying public to do their own research.