This post originally appeared as a newsletter to my list on April 12, 2022.
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Which is why I’ll be spending April talking all about them to folks on my newsletter list. The good, the bad, the why.
Let’s hold one truth at the top of this post:
This system for sourcing diamonds that we are currently working in is unfair.
Sometimes in order to fix a problem, it helps to acknowledge that the problem exists in the first place.
When you are operating in a system that is fully weighted against both independent designers and their consumers, it makes it that much harder to make the tough ethical choices.
After all, when a name redacted large jewelry company makes a claim about using only certified Kimberley Process diamonds, for those of us who try to be transparent about the real choices, it can make us look bad.
I know many of us hold ourselves accountable for running ethical businesses, and for using ethical sourcing, but we don’t have the same access to sources that corporations do. We also don’t have a system that actually traces diamonds from the mines to our inventory.
As much as we may want to be assured of the ethics of our diamonds sources, truly the most that we can say is “to the best of our knowledge”.
And it can be hard to use this level of honesty. We fear that customers will run off, or not believe us, or not hear and understand us.
Knowing that the system is not fair does not absolve us of our collective responsibility, though. We can still ask questions of our suppliers*, we can still ask the hard questions of ourselves so that we can make small but significant changes.
Imagine for a moment what would it do for all of the industry if even a fraction of us started shifting our supply chains to use more Fairmined metals? What would it do for the industry if even a fraction of us started sourcing more mine-to-market gemstones? What would a fairer system look like for all of us? What would it look like if more of us started asking questions and being more transparent?
I think it might look like a better, fairer industry.
*https://www.christinatmiller.com/lr-video-archive scroll down this page to the talk about Supplier Conversations in Practice to get an idea of what asking questions can produce.