Ethical Metalsmiths is investigating the potential of what might be called the existing collectivity of informed jewelers to become good craftsmen of the environment. Our purpose is to channel information about mining issues and encourage jewelers to become informed advocates for social and environmental responsibility.
Ethical Metalsmiths' Mission and Vision
Mission: Lead jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development and verified, ethical sources of materials used in making jewelry.
Vision: A sustainable future with jewelry and makers contributing to the well being of the earth, its peoples, and cultures.
Ethical Metalsmiths Work Plan
Ethical Metalsmiths carries out its mission by working directly with jewelers and metalsmihs (student, professional and hobbiest) to raise awareness of material sourcing issues and harmful studio / manufacturing practices that the profession currently relies on. By raising awareness, evaluating and developing alternatives, and offering oppprtunities for individual advocacy, jewelers and consumers are part of a growing movement to transform the mining and jewelry industries. Ethical Metalsmiths collaborates with other organizations and community groups to realize its mission.
Susan Kingsley and Christina Miller, Ethical Metalsmiths Co-Founders, began working together because of their dismay on learning how precious metals were sourced. Each had researched the social and environmental harm caused by gold mining and they shared a deep concern about the field of jewelry and metalsmithing. Virtually no one in their field was aware of environmental impacts of the materials upon which they depend. As metalsmiths themselves, they decided to take action.
They began working together as Ethical Metalsmiths in 2004, organizing a presentation and panel for the 2005 Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference and establishing this website. They served on SNAG's Committee on Responsible Mining, and their Resolution in Support of Responsible Mining was adopted by the membership in 2006. They collaborated on another presentation for the 2006 Association of Contemporary Jewellery conference, Carry the Can, which took place in London, England. Since that time they have made numerous presentations to groups in the United States and in Australia.
In 2005 they were joined by environmental attorney, Jennifer Horning and the following year, Ethical Metalsmiths became an affiliate of EARTHWORKS. Jennifer worked on the Ethical Jewelry Summit steering committee, chaired the Madison Dialogue Recycled Metals Working Group and wrote grant proposals for Ethical Metalsmiths. She also worked on 1872 General Mining Law reform. Jennifer left Ethical Metalsmiths in 2008 to work on product certification, artisanal mining, fair trade and policy reform on a full-time, professional basis.
Ethical Metalsmiths is renowned for creative projects that connect jewelry and metalsmithing with a range of important topics. Wanting the idea of "material sourcing" to be less abstract, and more real, Susan and Christina made a field trip to Nevada to learn more about hard rock mining. Their project was titled Road Trip: going where metalsmiths have never gone before. Ethical Metalsmiths has produced two online exhibitions. Golden Opportunity asked artists to consider the past, present and future of gold. Composting Good and Evil: Redesign for Sanctimonious Sinners asked artists to toss out their bad habits and reconsider how we might use the world's resources. Radical Jewelry Makeover is an ongoing community "mining" and recycling project in which volunteer jewelers transform donated jewelry into exciting new designs that are exhibited and sold to benefit Ethical Metalsmiths' mission.