The jewelry industry still lacks clear certification standards for its materials and manufacturing methods; nonetheless, many terms exist which are used to describe responsibly sourced and manufactured jewelry. To consumers and those in the industry, the loose terms can be quite confusing. Below are working definitions of the labels commonly used.
Ethical is a general term, currently understood by many consumers to mean products that are produced and traded in ways that avoid or lessen social, environmental, economic, cultural and/or political harm an or produce social, environmental, economic, cultural and/ or political benefits at local, national, regional, or global scales and according to the values of the actors in the supply chain, including the consumer. “Green Jewelry,” “Fair Trade Jewelry,” “Peace Jewelry,” and so on, are all terms that are now being used more and more to denote “Ethically produced Jewelry.”
Note: The term “ethical” is understood by some experts to mean compliance with all International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. Under this definition, ethical products in the jewelry supply chain would on be expected to have been produced in ways that comply with all ILO labour conventions, including the avoidance of child labor, forced labor, gender balance, adverse health and safety conditions, among others.
Universal standards are not currently defined. Many jeweler’s have developed their own ethical standards for conducting first party assurance of their supply chains.