Jewelry is linked to emotions and dreams, and increasingly wants to improve its social and environmental impact. Thus, organizations and labels have taken on the mission of making the entire value chain more responsible, from raw materials to finished jewelry. We propose here an overview of the different existing labels and certifications.
An essential raw material for jewelry creation, and a specialty of Alchimie Paris: the stones that will be mounted on the jewelry. Precious stones can be certified by laboratories such as the GIA, the FGL or the ICALAB. Such certificates will then guarantee the variety of the stone, whether it is treated or not, natural or synthetic and sometimes its origin.
To attest to the responsible nature of the stones, you can rely on the RJC certification (see below).
A special effort has been made in the case of diamonds with the Kimberley Process, associated with the System of Warranties. Under this system, in order to be exported, a rough diamond must be placed in a tamper-resistant container and accompanied by a certificate. Then, at each stage of the value chain, such as cutting or trading, the diamond must be certified to be effectively traced. To be admitted into the Kimberley Process, diamonds must come from a member country and can only move within member countries. Members include exporting countries such as South Africa and Botswana, and importing countries such as Brazil and the European Union.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)
The RJC, Responsible Jewellery Council, is a non-profit organization whose aim is to guarantee the respect of the environment and of people in the jewelry sector. It is a recognized player, which covers the entire value chain in its two certifications: the code of conduct and the chain of custody certification.
Code of Conduct: This is an extremely broad spectrum code of practice that encompasses mining, metals, colored stones, diamonds, jewelry and services such as certification laboratories. To become RJC certified, a company must pass an audit assessing its practices - such as legal compliance, working conditions, and management of waste and hazardous substances. Regular audits must be conducted to maintain certification over time.
Chain of Custody Certification: This is an optional certification for members already certified by the RJC Code of Conduct. It ensures the traceability and integrity of the raw materials used (including gold, silver and platinum). Like the Code of Conduct, to be certified, a company must be regularly audited.
Another essential raw material for jewelry creations: metals. Metals used in jewelry such as gold or silver are sometimes criticized because of their environmental impact - deforestation, destruction of ecosystems, etc. However, the industry is keen to improve, and more responsible sources of gold exist, certified by labels. The two main ones are Fairmined and Fairtrade.
Fairmined: The Fairmined label is managed by the ARM (Alliance for Responsible Mining). In order to be Fairmined certified, mines must respect strict social and environmental criteria, such as good working conditions for miners or the limited use of chemicals (mercury, cyanide). The Fairmined certification is accompanied by the Fairmined Premium: for each kilogram of gold sold, an additional $4,000 is donated to the development of the mining communities. This label exists for gold and silver.
Fairmined Ecological Gold: This Fairmined gold is committed to respecting environmental commitments even more advanced than those of the Fairmined standard, such as the rehabilitation of ecosystems.
Fairtrade: Like the Fairmined label, Fairtrade encourages small-scale, artisanal mines that have less environmental impact than large industrial gold mines. To be Fairtrade certified, mines must meet the Fairtrade Gold Standard. This label exists for gold and silver.
Recycled gold: Recycled gold is becoming more and more important as an alternative to reduce the environmental impact of gold. There is not really a label for recycled gold, but rather codes of conduct and good practices that companies define and commit to follow. Thus, jewelers can buy from trusted partners who ensure the ethical origin of the gold and who work with the authorities to put an end to illicit trafficking.
Finally, labels exist to promote know-how as a whole (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant label), including jewelry, such as the Joaillerie de France label.
Joaillerie de France : This is a label created by the UFBJOP (Union Française de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie, des Pierres et des Perles), which certifies that jewelry has been manufactured, mounted, set and polished in France. It takes the form of a hexagon-shaped hallmark. Labeled companies are also committed to respecting the laws governing their activity in France, as well as being part of the RJC certification process.
Far from being limited to the image of blood diamonds or conflict stones, the jewelry industry as a whole has greatly evolved towards greater responsibility. The labels and certifications are here to prove it.
RJC, Fairmined, Fairtrade, Joaillerie de France, all guarantee that the jewelry respects a large number of good practices, both socially and environmentally. Alchimie Paris is committed to this approach by using only recycled gold, by efficiently sourcing our stones and by manufacturing all its creations in France or in Italy.