Jewelers of America remains fully committed to responsible sourcing of gold and other minerals that make their way into jewelry products.

We are deeply concerned about the reports of human rights abuses related to gold mining, particularly in the artisanal sector in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Jewelers of America fully condemns the use of any minerals to fund conflict in the DRC, in its adjoining countries or anywhere in the world. We strongly believe in the goals of the conflict minerals provision, which Congress passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The law targets conflict minerals, including gold, from the region. Jewelers of America remains concerned that thus far, the law’s biggest impact has been the unintended negative consequences felt by the very communities in the DRC and neighboring countries that it was meant to benefit and protect.

In August 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published its final rule to implement the law. The law requires companies that report to the SEC to disclose their use of conflict minerals, including gold, from the DRC or adjoining countries. The new rule makes it clear how they are expected to do that. In order to comply, companies must file their first report on May 31, 2014, for the 2013 calendar year and annually on May 31st every year thereafter.

While the law directly applies to companies that report to the SEC, who in large part are publicly traded, Jewelers of America believes its impact will be felt throughout the gold jewelry supply chain and beyond. We will work with our members to ensure they have the tools they need to understand and if required, implement the law. Regardless of whether or not they must comply with the new law, we’ve asked our members to voluntarily ask their suppliers to affirm to them, in writing, their commitment to the responsible sourcing of gold.

We are also working to collectively ensure good practices at every level of the supply chain by actively participating in and supporting various initiatives. These include the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Alliance for Responsible Mining, the Diamond Development Initiative International, and the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance.

We completely abhor the notion that gold jewelry could be linked to conflict in the DRC. We believe that even one ounce of gold from a conflict source is one ounce too many.