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1 Feb 2023

Diário do Centro do Mundo

Brazil: Civil society names Bulgari, Tiffany and Rolex as companies that do not provide complete data on the origin of the gold they use

"Rolex, Tiffany, Bulgari and the 'gold of blood' Yanomami", 01 February 2023

...But there are others responsible for the Yanomami humanitarian crisis, according to non-governmental organisations consulted in Brazil: the world gold market and the big luxury brands, companies such as LVMH or Rolex, which make billions of dollars from the sale of jewellery and watches made with gold of possible illegal origin.

"More than half of the gold exported from Brazil has evidence of illegality," says Larissa Rodrigues, a researcher at the Escolhas Institute in São Paulo. "Most of it is refined in Europe, so it is very likely that there is indigenous blood in the luxury jewellery bought there," she concludes.

Despite attempts to clean up the image of the multi-billion dollar business, none of the ostensible consumer brands have provided convincing evidence of having eliminated so-called "blood gold" from their supply chains.

Brands such as Zurich-based Rolex and Swatch, as well as Tiffany and Bulgari, both LVMH subsidiaries, have given no information about the origin of the gold they buy.

"Rolex and Swatch vehemently refuse to talk about the sources of their gold," explains Mark Pieth of the University of Basel... "Rolex provides no information about its raw materials and, in some investigations, has provided no context about its gold supply chain," agrees Amazon Watch.

Tiffany only provides data on 16% of the gold it uses. Bulgari insists its gold comes from two mines that meet the requirements of the Responsible Jewellery Council. But the NGO Human Rights Watch has denounced serious flaws in the audits of that council and warns that it is no guarantee that human rights violations have not been committed in the sourcing of the gold....

Meanwhile, in the world of the rich, those who consume most jewellery are the young billionaires of generations X, Y and even Alpha, according to consultancy Bain & Company. In this sector, "purchases such as clothes and jewellery dominate and people start buying from the age of 15"...

(Translated by the BHRRC)