The Hidden Cost of Jewelry

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freemexy

Age: 2020
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The Hidden Cost of Jewelry Cheap Jewelry Websites and watches denote wealth and status, as well as artistry, beauty, and
love. Gold and diamond jewelry in particular are frequently purchased as
gifts for loved ones and for special occasions. Globally, about 90
million carats of rough diamonds and 1,600 tons of gold are mined for
jewelry every year, generating over US$300 billion in revenue. The
purchase of bridal jewelry, including engagement and wedding rings, has
particular emotional and financial significance. In India, for example,
weddings generate approximately 50 percent of the country’s annual gold
demand. For Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, Americans spend more on
jewelry than any other type of gift, purchasing nearly $10 billion of
jewelry for the two holidays in 2017. For millions of workers, gold and
diamond mining is an important source of income. But the conditions
under which gold and diamonds are mined can be brutal. Children have
been injured and killed when working in small-scale gold or diamond
mining pits. Indigenous peoples and other local residents near mines
have been forcibly displaced. In war, civilians have suffered enormously
as abusive armed groups have enriched themselves by exploiting gold and
diamonds. Mines have polluted waterways and soil with toxic chemicals,
harming the health and livelihoods of whole communities. Jewelers and
watchmakers typically rely on complex supply chains to produce each
piece of jewelry or watch. Gold, diamonds, and other minerals and
gemstones are mined in dozens of countries around the world, and are
then typically traded, exported, and processed in other countries.
Processed gold and polished diamonds are then transformed into jewelry
in manufacturing plants and artisan workshops, before reaching
retailers. By the time a piece of jewelry is offered for sale, it may be
very difficult to know the origins of the gold or diamonds it contains,
or whether they are tainted by human rights abuses or environmental
harms. Despite this complexity, jewelry companies have a responsibility
to ensure that their businesses do not contribute to human rights abuses
at any point in their supply chains. Under the United Nations Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights, an international standard on
human rights responsibilities of companies, businesses have to put in
place “human rights due diligence”—a process to identify, prevent,
mitigate, and account for their own impact on human rights throughout
their supply chain. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) has developed this approach further in its “Due
Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from
Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas,” the leading due diligence
standard for minerals.
Posted 10 Jul 2019

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