The Hidden Cost of Jewelry

A 15-year-old boy mixes mercury and ground gold ore at a processing site in Mbeya Region, Tanzania.

image © 2013 Justin Purefoy for Human Rights Watch.

On 8th February 2018 Human Rights Watch reported on their findings about supply chain transparency in the jewellery industry.

 

The hard-hitting report pulls no punches about the harsh reality of life for many gold and gemstone miners or the fact that most jewellers have no idea where their materials come from or the conditions under which they were mined and sourced.

Human Rights Watch figures estimate that there are 40 million people working in artisanal small-scale mining for the gold and diamond industries and of those around one million are children.

 

We know that much of the gold we buy for jewellery is recycled but for newly mined gold, the vast majority of the workforce is working at artisanal level, many in subsistence conditions with few choices over their working environment. For most gold on the market there is absolutely no guarantee of abuse or exploitation-free provenance.

 

The report focused on existing standards in relation to avoiding human rights abuses in the industry and the responses of the 13 jewellery companies HRW approached about due diligence in their supply chains. The report may have had a mixed reception but there’s no denying that the ongoing challenge to all of us in the industry is to look at our own supply chains and be bold in asking our suppliers about theirs.

 

You can read the full report at

https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/02/08/hidden-cost-jewelry/human-rights-supply-chains-and-responsibility-jewelry

 

and for more follow-up, with some very helpful information and comment, read the following on the Levin Sources Blog:

http://www.levinsources.com/blog/better-business-in-the-jewellery-sector-supply-chain-transparency

http://www.levinsources.com/blog/better-business-in-the-jewellery-sector-traceability

http://www.levinsources.com/blog/jewellery-industry-responsible-sourcing-human-rights-watch