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Conference Dates: August 11-12 | Responsible Gem Boutique: August 13

The conference where the international community of thinkers and doers in responsible jewelry gathers.

The 2023 Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference will be held alongside the new INSTORE Show! This will create greater industry awareness and will help expand our mission of creating responsible supply chains for jewelry materials and production.

A full line-up of sessions will be posted soon.

Register Now!

Save $50 when you purchase your ticket by June 15!

Conference Sessions

The full schedule will be posted soon, but some of the content we are working on is:

  • Value lost in the current gemstone value chain
  • Transparency in gemstone pricing
  • Responsible silver
  • Botswana, the new path to resource nationalism
  • Sex trafficking
  • Gold and agriculture
  • UN SDGs, UN Women

Check back often for updates!

Book Your Hotel Room!

INSTORE has graciously made their negotiated room block available to Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference attendees! The main hotel for the conference is accessible from the conference center via a connected walkway:

Hyatt Regency O'Hare Chicago
9300 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont
Rates start at $169/night

Thank You to Our Generous 2023 Sponsors

The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference would not be possible without the financial and operational support of our sponsors.

Hill Management Group

It's Not Too Late
Purchase the 2022 Virtual Replay!

Original Conference Dates: Nov. 4-5, 2022

Creating and sustaining responsible jewelry supply chains is extraordinarily complex. The jewelry industry, governments, NGOs, communities, individual employers, and consumers each have a stake, often with conflicting interests.

To reconcile these divergent viewpoints requires transparent communication, deep listening, and collaborative problem-solving.

The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference, took place November 4-5 in downtown Chicago, is where the stakeholders in the jewelry supply chain gathered to participate in the skillful navigation of challenging problems and we livestreamed and recorded the whole thing! For a limited time the complete replay is available for purchase so you can immerse yourself at your convenience.

Scroll Down for Full Schedule

What We're All About

Working to Make Jewelry Beautiful from Beginning to End

Susan Wheeler (left), Founder of the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference

A Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves Conference

The growing attention was exciting, and Susan Wheeler attended several different events, and volunteered to serve on several committees. But she also wanted to do more. She wanted to create an experience that was more immediately actionable. She wanted to bring together voices from across the globe - voices that would directly represent the communities most affected by jewelry industry demands.

So, with no outside funding (and a very supportive husband), Susan decided to host a conference. In the most grass-roots of organizing behavior, she contacted Columbia College Chicago, arranged for a venue and a student population to work with, and started calling friends and acquaintances in the jewelry industry to ask them to jump on board.

The beginning

The jewelry industry doesn't have a stellar record of getting out in front of social criticism. So in 2016, when several industry organizations started putting together meetings, industry discussions, and panels to discuss responsibility in jewelry sourcing and production, it was exciting.

Gem dealers and jewelry designers led the forefront of change in how the jewelry industry connected with people and environments where gems, gold and diamonds are mined. It began one person at a time, sharing information and may changes in their own businesses. But the jewelry industry needed to bring even more players from all places in the supply chain to the table, if it was going to actually change things.

Designer Panel at 2017 Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference
Discussing Mercury-Free Mining Options
Responsibly Mined Gems, Represented by the Mining Communities

Our Mission

To engage everyone in the jewelry industry; miners, makers, professionals, educators, and students. To address all the ways that individuals and companies can be involved in the responsible jewelry movement. To make a difference by making things happen.

Susan Wheeler, Founder

To Our Surprise and Delight

It Came Together!

Trustchain graphic

Corporate Support

Early seed support from companies like Richline and Hoover & Strong helped get the conference off the ground.

Ethical Metalsmiths

Ethical Metalsmiths, the non-profit association for jewelry makers interested in responsible behaviors, embraced the conference from the beginning, assisting with lining up speakers and promoting the event.

State Department and NGOs

The US State Department, organizations like PACT, IMPACT, Fairmined, and Amazon Aid, and educators like University of Delaware and GIA have participated generously.

Reaching Out to the Public

Each year, the Chicago Conference has also reached out to the public, through screenings of important documentaries that address issues related to the jewelry industry and responsible supply chains.

In 2017, the conference presented Sharing the Rough, a documentary that explored acquiring rough gemstone materials from Kenya and Tanzania. In 2018, we hosted the first  US screening of River of Gold, which explores the impact of illegal gold mining on the Amazon rain forest.

The local community was invited to both screenings. Why? Because it's not enough for us to prepare ourselves for social criticism. We must also play a role in being critics and being publicly accountable for our industry.

© 2023. Responsible Jewelry Transformative