Robust and Active - The next decade

The trajectory of our lives is ours to craft, to design and to build. How artfully we manage to do this will determine how well we are able to satisfy not only our own needs and desires but also how we manage to have a positive impact on society at large, the natural environment, and the world around us.

Martin Taber Portrait By Martin Taber (Taber Studios / EM Board President)

In January of this year, Ethical Metalsmiths’ 10th Anniversary year, a group of committed jewelers and affiliated business people gathered in Berkeley, California to lay the groundwork for a more robust and action oriented Ethical Metalsmiths. The members present were there to transition from a loose knit futuring committee to a more focused and organizationally responsive Board of Directors with a consensus towards forming an independent non-profit that would also have characteristics of a trade association.

January 2014 Board MeetingOver the course of the three days we dug deep, turning over many critical and delicate issues.  

  • How do we create transparency and traceability in an industry that is inherently opaque? 
  • What is the necessary  balance between supporting our membership needs while changing the way our practices impact the world?
  • What is our operational model and how do we support each other to operate with a sense of shared process and group consensus? 
  • Who are our primary allies both within the jewelry industry and without?

The next ten years will prove pivotal in all commercial industries. As technology evolves, populations grow, and resources shrink there are huge pressures to change the way we consume. Those who have their eyes myopically rooted on quarterly profits are going to remain blind to the impacts, both personal and public, caused by carrying on with business as usual. Many consumers are becoming more aware of this, and creating an ever increasing market share for businesses that want to operate with greater integrity and ethical focus.

This is the aim of EM's dedicated and growing body of jewelers, manufacturers, consumers, and business people as we work to transform the jewelry industry. Entrepreneurialism, artisanship, and creative expression have been the the key pillars of development for small scale jewelers in the US over the past forty years.  It is our intention to add to that a responsiveness to social and environmental activism, and to help our members define themselves within this marketplace.

Since its formation in 2004 EM has led the movement to better understand the impacts of manufacturing processes within the jewelry industry and search for alternatives that are less damaging to ourselves and our environment. Looking forward it is EM's intention to do more than educate. Moving forward the mission of the organization is to become much more action oriented and provide jewelers and consumers with the tools and the means to effect more proactive change. Crafting a legacy of beauty and justice.

A special THANK YOU to the David Brower Center, The Earth Island Institute, EARTHWORKS, Velvet da Vinci gallery and ABC Global. We are grateful to these institutions for their support during our 3-Day marathon meeting in the Bay Area.