Two days of intense learning: “Pathways to Responsible Sourcing”

As a not for profit, charitable organization The Jewelry Industry Summit strives to bring the jewelry industry together to encourage and facilitate meaningful, solution-driven activities that continue to advance sustainability and responsible sourcing. The summits hosted by our organization are interactive opportunities to come together to develop strategies for more responsible jewelry sourcing. They also offer attendees the chance to participate in sustainability initiatives, many of which were conceived at previous Summit gatherings. Our most recent summit took place in Feb 2019 in Tucson, Arizona.

The third jewelry Industry Summit convened experts in sustainability in our industry for two days of actionable content addressing “Pathways to Responsible Sourcing.” Our aim was to provide resources and tools that can be used now for every sector in the jewelry industry to further the goal of maintaining a healthy supply chain for our jewelry products.  The Summit hosted a range of national and international speakers united in their passion to make a difference to the jewelry industry by taking actions to resolve sustainability issues. We heard from leaders of initiatives started at prior Jewelry Industry summits as well as other projects which are successfully promoting responsible sourcing and production.

In a series of presentations, interactive workshops and even a film, the participants engaged in important learning sessions addressing our supply chain. Featured was a presentation on progress developing mining, gem processing and marketing rutilated quartz resources found in the Bahia region of Brazil. This mining initiative targets adding value to the community in which it is located, including training, environmental remediation, mine safety and sustainable methods of growing food, supporting an elementary school and emphasizing environmental stewardship.  This initiative is developing a replicable model that can be employed in other mining settings. Another project pertaining to the empowerment of women in a mining community in Madagascar, including training on gemstone cutting and marketing was highlighted, demonstrating methods that can be incorporated into mining strategies to ensure all populations in communities where gem resources are found can achieve long term benefits.   A panel of small businesses explained how they are now taking steps to address their supply chain challenges, starting conversations with their suppliers about where and how their jewelry components are sourced.

A presentation projecting the benefits that blockchain technology can add transparency to the supply chain also garnered much attention. Tools for color gemstone dealers to conduct due diligence on their supply were explained by The Dragonfly Initiative, an organization that assists entities to discover the nature of their supply chain.  The precious metals presentations included plans to end the use of mercury in gold mining, and a compelling film (“River of Gold”) on the state of the environmental impact of gold mining along the Amazon River in Brazil.  These presentations and more are available on line at our web site.

Our organization has pledged to focus our efforts on education AND action – not only highlighting projects and initiatives under way to address our supply chain, but to provide strategies and tools that our community can employ with no barriers to engage in this movement.

This effort will continue this year and onwards until the next Summit, where we continue to provide up to the moment content for our community. For further  information, visit


Cecilia Gardner, Chair, Board of Directors, Jewelry Industry Summit, is a founder and currently Board Chair of the Jewelry Industry Summit. She previously served as the President, CEO and General Counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.  She currently serves as the General Counsel and Board member of the United States Kimberley Process Authority and is a member of the Standards Committee of the Responsible Jewellery Council. Former positions include serving as the General Counsel for the World Diamond Council, the Chair of the Ethics Commission of CIBJO and service on the Boards of the Women’s Jewelry Association, American Gem Trade Association, Jewelers for Children and the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America.  An attorney, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Justice Department for many years.  She currently operates a legal services and consulting firm in New York City.

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