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Ethics in jewelry making

In the world of art, ethics can include many different topics: copyright, fair trade issues, green issues, customer disclosure, and fairness in contracts and other legal matters. I'm not a lawyer, so whenever I want to learn about these types of issues, I turn to sites that have some legal status.

For copyright issues, in the United States there is only one authority: the US government copyright office. There are some helpful sites that will help you untangle some of the language, but ultimately you'll need to read the rules for yourself. Art Schools and Careers has some great articles that you might also find helpful.

Fair Trade and green issues are starting to garner more attention. Marc Choyt wrote an excellent article for Modern Jeweler called Fair Jewelry: Making a difference from mine to market. Marc is a champion for this issue, and you can read more on his blog, Fair Trade Jewelry.

Nicolette Tallmadge has a podcast on Making Your Art Website Trustworthy. She covers everything from the look and content of the site to the functionality and legal issues.

Finally, the Daily Jewel reported on an industry watchdog called the Jewelers Ethics Association. Their primary focus is on keeping things up front between jeweler and customer (and one would hope also between supplier and jeweler), especially gemstone treatments and information about synthetics.

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