Madrid: "Bloodless" diamonds, gold with encrusted bulbs and precious stones set in wood are at the forefront of a new movement among designers that focuses on jewellery "with a cause", a trend that experts say Spain cannot ignore.
A commitment to human rights and environmental protection is driving the trend, with large international firms becoming the first to embrace the cause of sustainability in the belief that the luxury market cannot turn its back on exploitation of workers and natural resources.
Spain cannot allow itself to be left behind in this area, Alicia Solinis, a gemologist and director of training for the Madrid-area jewelers' association, told EFE.
Some companies are involved in the sustainable jewellery business, "but we are still at the stage of recycling", Solinis said.
The situation is changing rapidly in the global jewellery industry, with the World Diamond Council joining forces with the UN years ago to introduce a diamond certification system in an effort to stop the sale of the "blood diamonds" used to finance conflicts in Africa and other places.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, or KPCS, took effect in 2003 and more than 99 percent of the bulk diamonds sold today are certified.