Responsible Sourcing

Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference - Oct. 13 - 14, 2017

Radical Collaboration . . . it is happening.

The inaugural Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference took place Oct. 13-14, 2017 at Columbia College, Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL. The event, created by jewelry designer, Susan Wheeler Geraghty in collaboration with Andrea Hill and in partnership with Ethical Metalsmiths, brought together a highly focused group of people dedicated to all facets of a responsible jewelry practice.  

I delivered the very last presentation, a summary of the conference itself, right after a screening and discussion of the film Sharing the Rough and before the well earned cocktail reception.

Some highlights:

  • A successful, socially and environmentally responsible jeweler, offered customers to those who needed the business (their business is thriving).

  • A Tanzanian gemstone miner inspirationally participated by phone when all other technological solutions failed providing insight into his day-to-day.

  • A rutilated quartz miner, determined to plan a post-mining, permaculture community in Brazil.

  • How big jewelry companies are leveraging their size to increase transparency across the industry.

  • A panel of independent jewelers shared their diverse responsible sourcing strategies and their challenge to suppliers to make more traceable products available.

  • Silicosis, berylliosis - two life threatening diseases that still plague gem cutters globally and a plea to help.

We each hold a vision of what a fair and thriving society for all could look like and also a very crisp and clear version of the opposite. And while we can generally agree that some societies do seem to experience fairness and happiness, we don't really believe life is fair or even safe for a whole lot of people and places around the world. 

Let’s work for fairness.

See you at next year’s conference.