An Introduction to Fairtrade Gold
When dining out with friends last weekend the talk very much revolved around our quest for the perfect engagement ring and I realised how much we had been focussing on the less common options, the bespoke ideas and anything different to gold. But as Millie pointed out, gold should not be overlooked and can still make a unique and original engagement ring that will stand out among the rest.
We went on to talk about gold engagement rings and how it was apparent that we were all concerned about the controversial mining of some types of gemstones and metals and were puzzled as to how you could guarantee an ethically sourced ring.
Fortunately, an increasing amount of companies and designers are striving to make sure their jewellery is made out of Fairtrade gold thereby helping the economy of the countries where the metal is mined and avoiding unethical practices. Amanda Li Hope, one of our Favourite Designers, is one of the well-known names when it comes to this. Her designs, made with Fairtrade gold, are beautiful both from the outside and from the inside!
But what does Fairtrade actually mean? We all knew about Fairtrade apples, chocolate and coffee but when it came to gold engagement rings I had no idea that the Fairtrade label was even necessary. We looked at Millie who was bound to be able to shed some light.
Fairtrade Is The Way Forward
The term ‘Fairtrade gold’ arose after a partnership had been struck between Fairtrade International, which is the entity that oversees Fairtrade endeavours worldwide and some of the main producers of gold engagement rings and other gold jewellery, calling themselves the Alliance for Responsible Mining. The objective of this partnership is to ensure small independent gold miners their livelihood by buying gold from them rather than from big corporate entities.
Helping Local Business and Communities
Couples who opt to use Fairtrade gold for their gold engagement rings will be helping small-time miners in underdeveloped countries sustain their businesses. In addition to supporting these independent workers’ livelihoods, Fairtrade gold mining is undertaken in accordance to strict social and environmental criteria that must be adhered to in order to receive a Fairtrade certification. Certification in turn guarantees the miners are paid a reasonable salary and are fairly compensated for their product.
Aside from impacting the lives of the small business owners, Fairtrade certification for the gold industry also has an impact on the communities where gold is mined.
Small-scale mining companies tend to be significantly less mechanized than large corporate ones and therefore employ more local workers.
In fact, while these sorts of companies represent only 15% of the world’s total gold production they employ 90% of its workforce.It is clear, then, that buying Fairtrade gold engagement rings is one of the best ways to ensure your sparkly jewellery is ethically produced, and that your money is helping those most in need.
We were all enlightened. We knew about blood diamonds and the unethical practice involved in the industry but I had never realised that gold had become such an issue. I was relieved to hear that practices were in place to combat the controversy and I would definitely make sure my ring was ethically sourced whether it turned out to be a gold engagement ring or not.