Demand companies sell safe jewelry

By Heather Klain

With the holiday shopping season upon us, everyone has the opportunity to make jewelry purchasing choices that support peace and development in one of the deadliest conflict zones in the world.

Jewelry is a gift that carries a message of love. In the spirit of this season, let the gift of gold jewelry help bring peace. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II since its outbreak in August 1998, with more than 5.4 million people dead, according to Minerals, especially gold, are illegally mined and traded by armed groups, helping fund their atrocities.

There are multiple parts to the solution, but one piece of the puzzle is ensuring jewelry companies understand their own supply chains, creating demand for conflict-free gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo and supporting programs for local mining communities.

All companies that sell jewelry have the opportunity to be a part of breaking the link between gold and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the surrounding region. But, companies rarely make deep commitments unless consumers demand them.

Last year, STAND, NIU’s student-led anti-genocide group, tabled and sent more than 350 letters signed by students to Illinois representatives in order to support a bill to ensure peace and protection for Congolese citizens. This year, STAND is asking you to investigate sources of jewelers you buy from, buy used or consider buying conflict-free.

For information, email [email protected].