If you have ever wondered, “what does sustainability mean in jewelry and why should we care?” then GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) recent Knowledge Session, where experts offer a trove of knowledge based on their experience and expertise, has answers for you. The Nov. 12 webinar offered insights into consumer demand for ethically sourced materials, the importance of sustainability and ethics, and transparency in the gem and jewelry supply chain. A recording of the panel discussion is available here.

This eye-opening discussion was moderated by author and journalist Melanie Grant, who expanded on topics discussed in her book, “Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry,” with the panel of experts.

Opening the discussion, GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques touched on the importance of education through storytelling and the increased value that transparency provides, “[in reference to GIA’s Diamond Origin Report] consumers purchasing one of mother nature’s greatest treasures, a natural diamond that was formed more than a billion years ago, can now learn more about its journey and the positive impact it had on communities in which it was mined… This is helping to educate and tell the story so consumers understand the product journey in a way they never did before.”

Livia Firth, co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC), expanded on the topic of greater transparency and improvements in the industry, saying “the jewelry industry has learned from the lessons of the past and is building from there… and actually creating a blueprint of how diamond mining happens.”

Describing how the industry works towards awareness and improvement on sustainability and ethics, Alexandra Mor, jewelry designer and artistic director, shared, “I see it as part of evolution rather than a test, in the evolution of how we’ve been doing things and how we evolve as humanity, we have brought this point and time upon ourselves. It’s part of our journey…there is nothing wrong or bad about it, but what we will do with it today is an opportunity to create a better result for tomorrow.”

Dr. Raquel Alonso-Perez, curatrix of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University (MGMH), pointed out that “education is at the core of knowledge and what we do…the jewelry industry has great potential to raise an awareness of sustainability and sustainable practices. I think that potential has not been fully tapped into yet.”

Overall, it is up to each of us to practice sustainability and ethics, as Mor said, “What we do today, what we do now, will affect the planet and future generations…”

Tune in weekly to GIA’s Knowledge Sessions for the most diverse and pressing issues in gemology today, including gemstone origin, laboratory-grown stones and new discoveries in field gemology. Register for future webinars and watch past recordings at GIA.edu/knowledge-sessions-webinar.