Rio Tinto has launched its inaugural sustainable jewellery collection in the US.
Titled Nature’s Beauty, the collection is made of gold from Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper mine in the US and set with white and champagne diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine.
According to the company, the Nature’s Beauty collection of earrings, rings, necklace and cuffs is “a pilot project” that will be trialled in the US, the world’s largest retail diamond jewellery market.
Rio Tinto Diamonds chief commercial officer, Jean-Marc Lieberherr said Rio Tinto has been at the vanguard of reform in the jewellery industry and results from consumer focus groups and quantitative research have revealed just how important the issue of sustainability is in the eyes of jewellery consumers.
“Today’s consumer is looking for assurance that the jewellery they buy has been produced to the highest ethical, social and environmental standards,” he said.
Rio Tinto is the only mining company certified by The Responsible Jewellery Council, the industry organisation committed to promoting responsible practices throughout the jewellery industry from mine to retail.
The RJC certified Rio Tinto’s “ethical, social and environmental standards” last month
The certification covers Rio Tinto’s Diavik (Canada), Argyle (Western Australia) and Murowa (Zimbabwe) diamond mines as well as Kennecott Utah Copper which produces gold and silver for the jewellery industry.
Rio Tinto’s Bunder diamond project in India and Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia were not included within the RJC audit as they are not yet in commercial production and don’t supply the jewellery industry.
Rio Tinto has however assured the RJC that both projects are being developed “with responsible ethical, social and environmental practices which respect human rights” in line with Rio Tinto’s own internal policies and processes which are aligned with the RJC’s Code of Practice.