About Fair Jewelry Action

About Fair Jewelry Action
Marc Choyt, Founder of Fair Jewelry Action, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

The notion of "ethical" in context to jewelry has been co-opted by corporate voices and vested interests who want to create the appearance of "responsible jewelry practices
Fairjewelry.org first started in 2007, and at that time it was the first ethical jewelry blog in the world.

I focused on writing about jewelry issues from an insider's perspective. At that time we employed 15 people in our Santa Fe shop. We had been attended major trade events for many years, including the Designer Section at JCK. We sold our product in hundreds of stores nation wide and sold forty to sixty wedding rings a month on our websites.

Yet, I was always felt like an outsider in context to the jewelry trade. I had no business background. Before starting our company I taught in a high school for Native Americans, spent two years as a volunteer in Haiti, running an orphanage and working in Mother Teresa's clinics in the slums around Port au Prince; and lived in a Buddhist monastery for a year.

In 2012, Greg Valerio, the pioneer jeweler who initiated the Fairtrade gold movement, joined me and we launched Fair Jewelry Action (FJA). By that time we had already been collaborating on social justice issues in context to the jewelry section for a few years.

FJA initiated several ground-breaking initiatives and campaigns. We were a strong and influential advocate for Fairtrade Gold before and after its formal launch in 2011. We launched Uplifting The Earth, and a broader campaign on behalf of Native Greenland ruby miners.

Valerio pulled out of participating in FJA in 2016 and soon after retired from jewelry. Given the lack of activity, I had to make a decision as to whether I should take down the blog or keep it. Once I started writing the on ethical jewelry sourcing, the way forward became clear.

The jewelry landscape has changed since I first launched this blog over ten years ago. The notion of “ethical” has been co-opted by corporate interests who want to create the appearance of “responsible jewelry practices.”

Yet we find ourselves in a new gestalt, where “ethical jewelry” has become a foundation marketing story. Every jeweler is now “ethical”—at least according to them.

In reality, the energy for major reform in jewelry sourcing—largely coming from millennials, has been subverted.

The terms used in the marketing of “ethical jewelry” in North America—i.e. “conflict free diamonds,” or “sustainable/eco-friendly/recycled jewelry”—are rarely grounded in any meaningful, on-the-ground impact relative to the values they imply.

The consequence for communities around the world is that diamonds and gold are plagued with the same resource curse issues that were present well before ethical jewelry became the hot new trend.

If we make truth, reconciliation, and restitution core to the ethical jewelry narrative, implementing action items to disrupt the current market, it becomes possible to create a new ethical jewelry story.

FJA will address these issues and launch new campaigns that will catalyzed changes in the North American jewelry sector. We are committed to continue speaking openly and honestly on these issues. We stand for mine-to-market verifiable tractability.

Fair Jewelry Action is a program kindly facilitated by Christian Relief Education and Development (CRED) a charity registered in the UK (No. 1072426). In the USA, FJA efforts are funded by Marc Choyt with the support and sponsorship of his company, Reflective Jewelry Inc.