The Zoe Report (TZR), one of BDG’s brands which collectively reach over 100 million readers per month, recently cited input from IGI on sustainability in the diamond and jewelry industry.
In a 2,700 word article titled “Decoding Sustainable Engagement Rings, From Ethical Stones To Upcycled Metals” author Laura Kaupke covers significant ground on due diligence, obstacles and options for ethically-minded consumers. In addition to comments from IGI, Kaupke shares insight from principals with SCS Global Services (SCS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).
Lab Grown Diamonds and Sustainability
For consumers wishing to identify lab grown diamonds from sustainable growers, TZR shared insight from IGI Senior Director of Education John Pollard:
Power consumption through fossil fuel and excessive water usage are two concerns surrounding lab-grown stone’s sustainability. Pollard says there are lab-grown diamond producers who burn fossil fuels and don’t share their power consumption data, making general comparisons challenging to make. However, he notes, “There are lab-grown diamond producers with output certified to be sustainable by third-party auditors.” When supplied, IGI includes this information for sustainability verification on grading reports.
Antique Stones and Recycled Gold
TZR described how pre-owned diamonds and jewelry are being seen as a solution to supply chain issues by some consumers. Repurposed engagement rings range from existing antique and vintage rings to entirely new designs made with existing materials. As described by Kaupke:
The latter has spurred designers, including Valerie Madison and the LA-based label Kinn, to offer recycling and repurposing programs if it wasn’t already part of their repertoire. Madison’s Heirloom Diamond Rework service accepts pre-existing pieces, including antique diamonds, on a case-by-case basis with guidelines to ensure the best experience for customers and outcome for diamonds and gemstones. The designer also employs an on-staff gemologist to assess repurposed diamonds based on criteria to ensure stones can be safely unset and reset.
Natural Diamond Positives
TZR addressed sustainability concerns surrounding natural diamond mining. In an ideal situation, Kaupke notes that modern diamond mines will ideally be using recycled water as much as possible and have an environmental protection and rehabilitation plans in place. Here again, TZR shared perspective from IGI on the “impact” of natural diamonds.
Pollard points to the indigenous people who benefit from diamond revenues, telling TZR, “[this] might be part of the ‘impact’ equation for some. Customers who value supporting a mining community in geographically diverse locations like Botswana and Canada can, directly and indirectly, support their livelihoods through local employment, education, taxes and royalties, social programs, and infrastructure investment.
Origins and Traceability
IGI was also cited on the matter of transparent sourcing. More and more, consumers want to know the origin of products they are purchasing. This ogically puts pressure on the diamond industry to provide those details:
According to Pollard, the Kimberley Process’s 85 member nations, including South Africa, Canada, the US, and Australia, are all producers of ethically minded diamonds. However, the roughs — diamond rock that has not been cut or processed — are often sent to hubs and categorically sorted, and as a result, a stone’s origin site may not be provided on grading reports or certificates. “Programs designed to identify origin do exist, most notably for Canadian diamonds,” Pollard tells TZR. “As demand for origin information continues to increase among consumers, we expect more traceability solutions to evolve.”
You’re Invited: Join IGI’s Sustainability Mission
As the world’s first gemological laboratory to commit to carbon neutrality, IGI is dedicated to uniting the industry through proactive environmental stewardship. Jewelers On A Mission is our continuing campaign – dedicated to highlighting leaders in the sustainability movement and sharing tactical actions we can take at every step in the supply chain, from sourcing to the end consumer.
Interested jewelry professionals are invited to become part of our sustainability mission today.
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