An Open Letter to Attendees at the Jewelry Industry Summit
New York, NY - March 10-13, 2016
The following ideas represent some of the questions I struggle with as an independent artisan jeweler and an active member of Ethical Metalsmiths since June of 2010. I introduce them here as one business person’s experience facing the complexities rife within our current business environment. I raise these questions not as critique but as incentive for us all to strive towards excellence. Wishing you all well and sharing my support for the ongoing explorations of new and creative paths towards sustainability and success!
What is the intention in coming together at this Summit, as leaders within our industry? Are we here seeking only to limit the reputational risk to our individual concerns? Or are we ready to truly embrace meaningful and substantive change?
We have the opportunity to do something historic as an industry. But it will require leaders of true integrity and substance. Are we, as entrepreneurs and visionaries, prepared to lead not only the industry but the rest of the world to expect and demand more responsible materials sourcing and labor practices?
Are we in this business only to consume as much of the earth's natural resources as possible?
Or are we here to celebrate the rare and unique natural beauty that is the earth’s heritage?
Are we selling our work as commodities, only to squeeze as much money from our customers as possible?
Or are we invested in celebrating the lives and accomplishments of our customers with talismans of true beauty and meaning?
Are we as concerned about the long-term integrity of our businesses and the social/ecological impacts our decisions have as we are with maximizing profits for our own personal gain?
Are we just building our businesses for personal satisfaction and self engrandizement? Or are we creating safe and secure workplaces in which comaraderie and collaborative artistic expression fuel a thriving sense of shared purpose and creativity?
These are the questions we should be asking on a daily basis with the same rigor and regularity that we question the purity of our alloys, or the clarity of the diamonds that go into the jewelry we sell.
A diamond is forever.
So is the legacy of how that diamond was acquired, processed, and creatively used. If it is not up to us to change and redefine that legacy, then who? If we're not doing it now, then when?
From mine to market to home, jewelry should not be a tool of economic warfare but a talisman in the ongoing celebration of life.
Taber Studios - Owner/Designer/Jeweler
Ethical Metalsmiths member since 2010