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Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference

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SAVE THE DATE: November 4-5, 2022
Columbia College Chicago

Creating and sustaining responsible jewelry supply chains is extraordinarily complex. The jewelry industry, governments, NGOs, communities, individual employers, and consumers each have a stake, often with conflicting interests.

To reconcile these divergent viewpoints requires transparent communication, deep listening, and collaborative problem-solving.

The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference is where the stakeholders in the jewelry supply chain gather to participate in the skillful navigation of challenging problems.

We are in the process of finalizing all speakers and topics for the 2022 conference, which will take place on November 4-5 in downtown Chicago. Among our presentations will be new ideas, information, and progress reports on:

  • The state of responsible jewelry practices
  • Resettlement of indigenous populations related to gold and gemstone mining
  • The jewelry industry's equitable transition to carbon neutrality
  • New responsible gold supplies coming online
  • Jewelry designers featured in the 2022 Fairmined Challenge
  • Impact of gold, gemstone and diamond mining activites on the Congo River Basin

More speakers and topics will be announced over the coming weeks.

We are in the process of finalizing all speakers and topics

November 4th

  • 8:45 - 9:00am

    Continental Breakfast & Networking

  • 9:00 - 9:15am

    Conference Opening

    Andrea Hill and Susan Wheeler welcome you to this year's conference

  • 9:15 - 10:00am


    A session with Brad Brooks-Rubin

  • 10:00 - 11:00am

    Internally Displaced Indigenous People of the Amazon

    Gold mining in the Amazon increased during the pandemic driving many tribes from their villages and territories.  The jewelry industry consumes roughly  %50 of the world's gold supply and without extreme diligence all of us will have contributed to the dislocation of people from their homes and the inability to live in their traditional lifestyles.  What happens to a young woman who doesn’t speak Portuguese, and hasn’t gone through high school ends up in Sao Paulo? How will she survive in an urban environment?  Groups like Amazon Watch and APIB have called for a boycott of gold. How can we move forward?

  • 12:00 - 1:30pm

    Brown Bag Lunch & Break Out Session

    Break Out 1: Marange Women's Alliance Billboard on Sex Trafficking

    Break Out 2: Mercury Free Mining

  • 1:30 - 2:30pm

    New Sources in Gold

    PACT is working with miners in Sierra Leone for a new mine to market

  • 2:30 - 3:05pm

    Voices From the Mine: Artisanal Diamonds and Resource Governance in Sierra Leone

  • 3:05 - 4:00pm

    Diamond Mining Panel

  • 4:00 - 5:00pm

    The Carbon Zero, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Poverty Alleviation

    The artisanal and small scale miners who supply our gemstones often work in poverty, the biggest need that they ask for is machinery and fuel to mine. The economic gap between these miners and the large scale miners is already massive. How do we balance bringing sustainable development to ASM, and equity to small miners in the shift to prohibitively expensive clean energy mining? How do we ensure that those who bear the brunt of climate change, benefit from the no carbon future and not suffer further as a result?

  • 5:00 - 6:00pm

    Onsite Cocktails

November 5th

  • 8:45 - 9:00am

    Continental Breakfast & Networking

  • 9:00 - 9:15am

    Ethical Metalsmiths

    Highlights from Ethical Metalsmiths Town Hall by Monica Stephenson

  • 9:15 - 10:00am

    The Fairmined Jewelry Designer Challenge

    The Fairmined Jewelry Designer Challenge Fairmined Jewelry Designer Challenge brought over 50 jewelers from across the globe together to celebrate and create in fairmined gold. Original designs, and a passion for gold to be proud of unites designers. Hear their reflections on what responsible jewelry means to them and why they support Fairmined gold.

  • 10:00 - 11:00am

    WWF Gold

    A session with Deborah Goldemberg

  • 11:00 - 12:00am

    Root Diamond

    A session with Fas Lebbie and Martin Dewitte

  • 12:00 - 1:30pm

    Brown Bag Lunch & Break Out Session

    Break Out 1: Virtu Gem National Gem Cut Designer Competition

    Break Out 2: TBA

  • 1:30 - 2:15pm

    Wildlife Trafficking

    The convergence of wildlife trafficking and the jewelry industry supply chain goes deep. Gold, diamonds and colored gemstones are used to launder money from wildlife trafficking and facilitate the illicit business that threatens some of our world's most precious animals and puts us at risk for the spread of new animals to human diseases. Where does wildlife trafficking happen and how can we keep our sourcing clean from this devious black market.

  • 2:30 - 3:30pm

    Mining in the Congo DRC

    The DRC, encompases the great Congo River Basin, second most important lungs of the earth, endangered species “African Unicorn”, African Forest Elephant, Okapi, Grauer's Gorilla, Bonobo and Congo Peacock and it is home to many in Indigenous peoples including the Efe and Mbuti peoples. Yet gold and diamond mining are threatening this vital ecosystem and traditional communities. Rapid deforestation and mercury poisoning and tailings pond toxic seepage in the rivers has received little attention. The jewelry industry is implicated in the future of the DRC this panel will explore our impact.

  • 4:00 - 4:45pm

    Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: Reading by Author, Matthew Gavin Frank

    Join the Author James Gavin Frank as he reads excerpts from his non fiction novel based on the life of a young boy mining diamonds in a DeBeers concession and sometimes smuggling those diamonds away on literally the wings of his pigeon. The strip of beach along the Namibian coast, the treatment of workers at DeBeers, environmental loss and poverty in the backdrop of diamond mining are all beautifully illustrated in the novel.

Thank You to Our Generous 2022 Sponsors

The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference would not be possible without the financial and operational support of our sponsors.

© 2022. Responsible Jewelry Transformative