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Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference 2024 logo in blue and green

August 9 & 10, 2024!

Donald E. Stephen's Convention Center | Rosemont, IL

The conference where the international community of thinkers and doers in responsible jewelry gathers.

The 2024 Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference and the Gem Boutique will be held on August 9-10, alongside the INSTORE Show which creates greater industry awareness and will help expand our mission of creating responsible supply chains for jewelry materials and production. This is your chance to delve into the future of sustainable and ethical practices within the industry. Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of critical issues and inspiring solutions. Full schedule available here.

Here's a glimpse of what awaits:

  • Go Global with planetGOLD: Discover how this UN-led initiative is eliminating mercury use in gold mining across 25 countries. Learn about their innovative solutions and the impact they're making on communities worldwide.
  • PeaceGold™: A Game Changer: Jewelry industry veteran Greg Valerio unveils his groundbreaking social enterprise, PeaceGold™. This DRC-based project offers a unique approach to responsible and traceable gold sourcing.
  • Combating Corruption in Gemstones: Dive deep into the issue of corruption in the gemstone industry and its impact on consumers, miners, and traders. Experts will guide you on how to support anti-corruption efforts and make ethical purchasing decisions.
  • Lesotho Diamonds: Balancing Progress and Protection: Hear from Thabos Letherioli about the plight of indigenous communities near the Gem Diamond mine. We'll explore the challenges and opportunities surrounding the legalization of artisanal and small-scale diamond mining in Lesotho.
  • Rehabilitation on the Horizon: Learn about the efforts of leading jewelry companies to address the environmental impact of abandoned tailings ponds.
  • Design with a Difference: Get inspired by innovative jewelry designers who prioritize ethical sourcing, storytelling, and responsible practices in their creations.
  • National Action Plan for Responsible Business Conduct: The U.S. Department of Labor will present the action plan, which was just released and will affect all businesses operating in the U.S. and their suppliers.
  • RESOLVE: Mejuri will discuss their work with RESOLVE to source gold from legacy mines in the Americas.
  • Kimberly Process: Representatives from the KPCS and stakeholders in Gabon and Lesotho come together to discuss the inclusion of artisanal and small-scale diamond miners into mainstream markets. 
  • Roundtable: Jewelry designers, retailers and brands will share and discuss what they have learned at the conference and have implemented into their own businesses.

    View the full schedule.

    Learn more about the Responsible Gem Boutique.

    Purchase Your Ticket Today!

    Attend in-person or via livestream.

    In 2015, World Leaders Agreed to 17 Global Goals

    We have made progress, but there is still work to be done, and the Goals are more important than ever. The climate crisis. Ensuring no one goes hungry. Human rights abuses. Extreme poverty. Problems of this scale can be overwhelming, but the Global Goals(also known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) are the solution to tackling them.

    Thank You to Our Generous 2024 Sponsors

    The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference would not be possible without the financial and operational support of our sponsors. All sponsorships help us secure visas, travel, and accommodations for our speakers and panelists that we bring in from out of the country. We have all levels of sponsorships available which is an excellent way to contribute to the responsible jewelry cause regardless of business size.


    Anza Gems

    Columbia Gem House

    Hill Management Group


    Rio Grande

    Rio Grande

    Steve Quick

    What We're All About

    Working to Make Jewelry Beautiful from Beginning to End

    Susan Wheeler (left), Founder of the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference

    A Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves Conference

    The growing attention was exciting, and Susan Wheeler attended several different events, and volunteered to serve on several committees. But she also wanted to do more. She wanted to create an experience that was more immediately actionable. She wanted to bring together voices from across the globe - voices that would directly represent the communities most affected by jewelry industry demands.

    So, with no outside funding (and a very supportive husband), Susan decided to host a conference. In the most grass-roots of organizing behavior, she contacted Columbia College Chicago, arranged for a venue and a student population to work with, and started calling friends and acquaintances in the jewelry industry to ask them to jump on board.

    The beginning

    The jewelry industry doesn't have a stellar record of getting out in front of social criticism. So in 2016, when several industry organizations started putting together meetings, industry discussions, and panels to discuss responsibility in jewelry sourcing and production, it was exciting.

    Gem dealers and jewelry designers led the forefront of change in how the jewelry industry connected with people and environments where gems, gold and diamonds are mined. It began one person at a time, sharing information and may changes in their own businesses. But the jewelry industry needed to bring even more players from all places in the supply chain to the table, if it was going to actually change things.

    Designer Panel at 2017 Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference
    Discussing Mercury-Free Mining Options
    Responsibly Mined Gems, Represented by the Mining Communities

    Our Mission

    To engage everyone in the jewelry industry; miners, makers, professionals, educators, and students. To address all the ways that individuals and companies can be involved in the responsible jewelry movement. To make a difference by making things happen.

    Susan Wheeler, Founder

    To Our Surprise and Delight

    It Came Together!

    Trustchain graphic

    Corporate Support

    Early seed support from companies like Richline and Hoover & Strong helped get the conference off the ground.

    Ethical Metalsmiths

    Ethical Metalsmiths, the non-profit association for jewelry makers interested in responsible behaviors, embraced the conference from the beginning, assisting with lining up speakers and promoting the event.

    State Department and NGOs

    The US State Department, organizations like PACT, IMPACT, Fairmined, and Amazon Aid, and educators like University of Delaware and GIA have participated generously.

    Reaching Out to the Public

    Each year, the Chicago Conference has also reached out to the public, through screenings of important documentaries that address issues related to the jewelry industry and responsible supply chains.

    In 2017, the conference presented Sharing the Rough, a documentary that explored acquiring rough gemstone materials from Kenya and Tanzania. In 2018, we hosted the first  US screening of River of Gold, which explores the impact of illegal gold mining on the Amazon rain forest.

    The local community was invited to both screenings. Why? Because it's not enough for us to prepare ourselves for social criticism. We must also play a role in being critics and being publicly accountable for our industry.