Leading Jewelry Retailers Act on Pledge To Shun ‘Dirty Gold’

Dozens of the nation’s leading jewelry retailers are taking innovative steps to provide consumers with gold jewelry made in a more environmentally and socially responsible way, according to a report released today by the Washington-based environmental group EARTHWORKS.
The report, “Tarnished Gold: Assessing the Jewelry Industry’s Progress on Ethical Sourcing of Metals”, evaluates progress jewelers have made in pursuit of cleaner sources of precious metals. 

Jewelers were graded on 15 criteria; including tracing their supply chain, incorporating the Golden Rules into their policies and contracts, notifying their suppliers of their commitment to source metals in accordance with the Golden Rules, supporting third party certification initiatives and supporting protection of Bristol Bay, Alaska from irresponsible mining.

Among major retailers, Birks & Mayors, Tiffany & Co. and Herff Jones reported making the most progress towards improving their metals sourcing practices.

Four smaller jewelers received an A, including San Francisco-based Brilliant Earth, London’s Cred Jewellry, Lena Marie Chelle Designs, and Real Jewels.

Target, T.J. Maxx, and Harry Winston are among the retailers who failed to make the grade.
More than 60 jewelry companies, including Sears, Herff Jones and Tiffany & Co., have committed to purchase cleaner sources of gold by endorsing the “Golden Rules,” a set of principles for more responsible mining. These companies are calling on the mining industry to move away from current practices that harm local communities and generate millions of tons of toxic waste.  These retailers, which represent 22 percent of the U.S. jewelry market and $14.5 billion in sales, are urging the mining industry to end practices that harm local communities, pollute drinking water, and generate millions of tons of toxic waste. The production of a single gold ring generates about 20 tons of mine waste, which can release acids and toxic pollutants.