Greenwashing, along with its cousin, fairwashing refers to the practice of making dubious, or downright false environmental or ethical claims about a company’s products. In October and November of last year, it was found that the fashion sector has the highest proportion of “concerning claims”. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as in the past few years, a plethora of companies in both the fashion and jewellery industries have been established on the basis that they are more environmentally friendly and ethical. However, a cursory glance at some claims put forward by these companies reveal that their environmental and ethical claims are either nothing new or can easily be de-bunked. Below are six of the most dubious claims that are common amongst “eco-friendly” or “sustainable” jewellers, and why each of these claims is problematic.
It may come as a surprise to some, but despite Russia having invaded Ukraine over one year ago, the world is still awash with Russian diamonds. Whilst some western nations, most notably the United States have placed sanctions on rough diamonds originating from Russia, these same diamonds are still being cut and polished in India and China and then being resold in western markets without so much as a blink of an eye.
25 years ago, in 1998, Jogia Diamonds was incorporated. Since then, our company has gone through a lot of changes. However, looking back on the past 25 years, the diamond and jewellery industry has changed even more. Most of these changes have been positive for both the industry and consumers and have affected everything from the way jewellery is sold to how it is designed and manufactured. As always, with certain parts of the industry being very resistant to change, some wholesalers and retailers still hold back and do things the “old fashioned” way, causing the division within the industry.
In October last year, American Gem Society (AGS) Laboratories announced they were merging with the now dominant Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) laboratory. According to the press release, GIA offered an endowment, which was believed to have “a fair bit of money involved” in return for AGS’ intellectual property and AGS’ Las Vegas location, which it will use as a research facility.
Back in 2007, I asked a simple question about the diamond industry: Is Commoditisation Upon Us? Now, nearly 16 years later, I can confidently say that the answer is definitely yes, however, it is clear that both many members of the trade and the general diamond buying public do not see diamonds as a commodity.
A couple of years ago, a client asked me about whether I wanted to design and manufacture my own line of jewellery. My answer was that I was too busy with client designs, which was true, but really, I knew that even if I designed a range of super-dooper, perhaps stunning jewellery, making money from them would be an uphill battle.
Much has been talked about in the last decade about the so-called retail apocalypse. That is, the large number of retail stores closing. The truth of the matter is, this has been talked about for the past 30 or so years. I remember in the mid-1990s, when e-commerce first came along, many people were talking about how retail was going to die and how we would all be ordering everything from furniture to groceries online.
This past October came news that 25% of jewellery sold in the United States was sold online. In fact, the 25% figure represented the value sold online, but if you look at the volume, it is actually 31%. This essentially means that nearly one third of all jewellery sold in the United States in 2021 was sold online.
If you Google “how to become a jeweller”, you will get plenty of results saying the exact same thing – that is you need to do an apprenticeship. This usually takes four years, apprenticeship openings are virtually nil, especially in states like Western Australia, and to top it all off, apprenticeship wages are a pittance. However, thanks to technological changes and shifting customer demands, nowadays an apprenticeship, for the most part isn’t the best option to become a jeweller.
So if you’re unfamiliar with the term “shrinkflation”, it refers to a product being reduced in size whilst the amount being charged staying the same. A good example is a bag of potato chips weighing 200 grams suddenly going down to 180 grams and the price staying the same. Whilst this may be good for peoples’ waistlines, the same has been happening in the diamond industry for the best part of the past two decades.