FAIRTRADE GOLD AT HARRIET KELSALL BESPOKE JEWELLERY
A huge proportion of miners are Artisnal Small-scale Miners (ASM) whose communities rely on their industry. They are often working in remote locations which are hard to access and their long days of back breaking and dangerous work in mines mean that they can’t get to market to sell their gold at a fair price. They struggle to make the money they should from their work so they don't have the money to invest in safety equipment or training to improve their situation.
The Fairtrade Foundation decided to try to rectify this and spent years working with the Alliance for Responsible Mining to set standards that would ensure people are paid fairly and can work safely. By working in cooperatives, miners achieve Fairtrade certification which gives the security of a fair and fixed price for their gold and additional benefits for their community. This works because Fairtrade pays the miners 95% of the global fixed price for their gold, and then an additional Fairtrade Premium ($2000 US/kilo) which goes to the community who choose what this is spent on. It could fund anything from schools to get children out of mining and into education, to improving water sources, depending on what the community needs.
Harriet was approached by Fairtrade and asked to help them define the process of linking smaller jewellers with Fairtrade gold. She helped them by explaining in great detail how we work so that they could get that connection right. Not long afterwards, we were honoured to be one of only 20 jewellers worldwide to launch Fairtrade gold.
Our bespoke customers are offered a Certified Fairtrade option for their metal wherever possible. For a modest extra charge, Fairtrade metal sourced from artisnal miners can be used, and through the Fairtrade chain of custody, miners will receive a premium for their metal which they decide how to invest in their communities. We do not profit from the use of Fairtrade metal over regular metal but by choosing Fairtrade, you are transforming the world through your purchase.
Fairtrade jewellery receives the official stamp from the Assay Office. Only the companies licensed to work with certified Fairtrade metal are allowed to use this stamp. We are audited every year to ensure our part in the supply chain is correctly administered.
Depending on your design choices, there is often very little difference in cost between having your jewellery made in Fairtrade or standard metal. In fact, the addition of the Fairtrade Premium to your bespoke commission is often compared to the cost of a meal out for two.
WHERE DOES FAIRTRADE METAL COME FROM?
Currently the gold we work with comes from Peru but the Fairtrade Foundation is working with cooperatives in East Africa with the Ugandan group having been recently certified, so we hope to get our hands on this soon. The suppliers are required to abide by national environmental legislation, preserve the environmental balance in the forests, minimise water use and the use of toxic chemicals and help preserve ecosystems, particularly those that form the environment of indigenous people. They work extremely hard to achieve certification and we are very proud to be working with such amazing people.
STATEMENT FROM HARRIET KELSALL
"We are proud to have played our part in launching Fairtrade gold and helping it become established in the UK jewellery industry. Responsibly sourced gold has been something we have always offered our customers, but the Fairtrade "rubber-stamp" makes sure that the paper-trail goes back to the artisanal miners for every piece of jewellery created. Globally, there are over 100 million people who depend directly or indirectly on artisanal and small-scale mining and who are trapped in unfair supply chains, struggling to get a fair price for the gold they mine. Certified Fairtrade gold means we are changing this and improve economic, social and environmental conditions for miners. As one of only 20 companies in the UK to been chosen to launch Fairtrade gold, we are committed to educating people about the difference they can make by choosing Fairtrade gold over 'standard' gold and hope one day to have so much demand that we can convert all our gold over to Fairtrade. Our message is simple. For the price of a meal out, you can have a Fairtrade gold ring instead of one made with standard gold and feel happy in the knowledge that the people who mined the very same gold that is on your finger were paid fairly. When we are talking about the important life-moments such as a ring as a symbol of engagement or to mark the birth of a child, this seems especially worthwhile somehow."
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