ENCODING VALUES AND PRACTICES IN ETHICAL JEWELLERY PURCHASING: A CASE HISTORY OF ITALIAN ETHICAL LUXURY CONSUMPTION
The concept of ethical jewellery today includes certified fair mined gold as well as conflict-free and ethically mined diamonds; consumption of such products is soaring in tandem with evolving consumer interest in ethical labour practices and sustainability. While previous studies investigate ethical jewellery consumption, the literature is silent on such consumption by Italian consumers. We aim to close this gap, through a case history of Italy’s first and currently most popular ethical jewellery store, Gioielleria (Jewellery) Belloni in Milan. Through ethnographic interviews with the owner and a representative sample of his clientele, we illuminate an ethical jeweller’s practices and values, contextualized in the socio-cultural traditions unique to Italy. We further examine how Italian ethical consumers interpret Canadian ethical diamonds and certified Fair mined gold during their purchasing experiences, vis-à-vis their perceptions of the Made in Italy brand. We employ Ethnopragmatic Theory (Duranti 2011) and the concept of Territorialisation (De Martino 2008) in our conceptual framework.