SPONSORED: Fashion is a tool of communication. Much like the garments you wear and the bags you carry, your diamonds, gold, and pearls speak to your values. What do you want them to say?
Jewelry is not always as beautiful as it appears on the surface and the tragedies associated with conflict jewelry deserve clamorous attention. Panelists at the Federal Bar Association’s Feb. 12 Fashion Law Conference in New York City are set to examine shining examples of ethical bling, proving that smart fashion choices can significantly impact the human condition.
The gravity of the situation with conflict diamonds, precious gemstones, pearls, and gold cannot be understated: Some of the world’s most glittering jewels are mined using practices that exploit workers, while illicitly mined stones have been expended to finance brutal wars. Absent conflict-free assurances, jewels are often associated with modern-day human slavery, rape, torture, and child labor, which is especially relevant today, on Human Trafficking Awareness Day. However, strict requirements on responsible practices can turn the tide. A transformation of the industry from a fragmented, unscrupulous sector to a global industry with increased compliance and systems of internal controls is achievable.
For example, a team of miners from the Colombian town of Íquira has supplied the gold for the celebrated Nobel Peace Prize award from a mine certified as ethical. Susan Scafidi, the Fashion Law Institute’s founder and academic director, poignantly expressed to Thomson Reuters, “The Nobel Peace Prize is incredibly influential, and it doesn’t make sense to place a role model on a dirty pedestal.” Professor Scafidi will be this year’s Fashion Law Conference Luncheon Keynote speaker.
Color. Cut. Clarity. Carat. Conflict Free. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed new guidelines, formally called the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, to help advise businesses how to avoid making false claims about precious metal, diamond, gemstone, and pearl products. These recommendations also establish when to specify certain types of disclosures about productsto help avoid deceptive marketing claims.
The Fashion Law Conference is the finest opportunity to examine such industry-related regulations and licensing models to ensure the integrity and legitimacy of diamond and gold supply chains. Conference panelists will also evaluate the role of United Nations peacekeepers in monitoring mining sites to clamp down on unlawful practices.
Attendees will gain insight into how governments effectively share import and export data with oversight from global partners. Tiffany & Co., Susan Scafidi, the Federal Trade Commission, and the International Labor Rights Forum will review how we can change the rules of engagement, including implementing and enforcing stricter child labor laws while using international sanctions to curb the custom of trading conflict jewels.
The Federal Bar Association’s Fashion Law Conference is a meaningful next step in the important process of analyzing how to promote ethically sourced materials for diamonds and gold while appraising the need to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Sign up today for the Federal Bar Association’s Fashion Law Conference!
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.