Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Spring 2019, Vol. 55, No. 1

Jewelry Glossary Project Survey

Four members of the Glossary Initiative present at the 2019 Jewelry Industry Summit. From left: Jay Moncada and Jared Holstein of Perpetuum Jewels; Erin Daily of Brooklyn Metalworks; and Emily Phillippy of Emily Chelsea Jewelry. Not pictured are Olivia Suffern of Olivia Marie Handcrafted Adornment and Christina T. Miller of Christina T. Miller Consulting and co-founder of Ethical Metalsmiths. Photo by Mike Pace, courtesy of the Jewelry Industry Summit.

The 2019 Jewelry Industry Summit saw the announcement of the first 10 words of a glossary intended to define terminology relevant to the jewelry industry. These definitions were the result of almost three years of brainstorming and research. The first terms to be defined are: ethical, recycled, pre-consumer recycled, post-consumer recycled, sustainability, conflict-free diamond, Fairmined, Fairtrade/FAIRTRADE, Fair Trade Certified, and fair trade. The Glossary Initiative is now seeking input from gem and jewelry professionals on these definitions.

Emily Phillippy (Emily Chelsea Jewelry, Philadelphia), a member of the Glossary Initiative since its inception, explained that the committee’s work developed naturally out of the Education Initiative of the first summit. Phillippy noted that “we all saw such a serious need for shared understanding. Responsibly sourced jewelry is in such high demand, but there are so many different responses to what that actually means.” She, along with the other three initial members, recognized that it was not possible to educate people without clear-cut definitions of widely used (and frequently misused) terms. This evolved into creating a glossary for the industry.

The six-member committee’s positioning in distinct sectors of the industry brought into focus how frequently words were and sometime misused. For instance, the group found that “fair trade” and “Fairtrade” (the latter of which is trademarked) were often used interchangeably, with incorrect capitalization and spacing. A look at the word “recycled” led to the understanding that the group needed to define “pre-consumer recycled” and “post-consumer recycled1.”

The glossary is intended to be a living document, with the capacity to reevaluate terms over time as practices, technology, and situations change. Summit attendees were invited to suggest words to be defined in future rounds; proposed terms included “transparency,” “traceability,” and “values.” Future efforts will include a website to host the glossary to make it accessible to the entire industry.

Members of the gem and jewelry industry are invited to give feedback on each definition via this survey, which will close at the end of June.


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1As currently defined, pre-consumer recycled materials are byproducts of, or reclaimed from, uncirculated consumer goods to make new products, while post-consumer recycled materials have been recovered from used consumer products for reuse in new products.

Jennifer-Lynn Archuleta is the editor of Gems & Gemology.