What is a Fairtrade Gold?
“Fairtrade certified gold is the world’s first independent ethical certification system for gold.”
“Achieving Fairtrade certification requires small-scale mining organisations to meet rigorous Fairtrade standards on working conditions, child labour, women’s rights, clean technology, health and safety, organisational management, democratic decision-making, transparency and traceability of their mining operations and responsible environmental management, to produce a gold product that can be labelled as Fairtrade.” Faitrade.org.uk
Some jewellers now offer an option to commission a Fairtrade Gold engagement ring. Combined with conflict free diamonds, we now offer a way to purchase a more ethically conscious engagement ring. We are working with established suppliers who provide an audited supply chain of Fairtrade Gold.
Update : June 2015
Early in June 2015 we became a UK supplier of CanadaMark diamonds. This addition to our service provides a fully traceable supply of diamonds. CanadaMark diamonds give the consumer information on their mined origin, extracted through responsible mining practices. More information can be found on our information page on CanadaMark diamonds.
Why choose Fairtrade instead of regular gold?
If you purchase a Fairtrade Gold engagement ring, rather than an engagement ring made from regular gold, the combined effect betters the lives of miners and their families and the entire community. Buying jewellery with a Fairtrade Gold stamp ensures that small scale miners and artisanal gold miners receive a fair price. This provides them with increased financial security, and a better future. They are also paid additional money which goes towards improving working conditions, education, medical care and goes towards environmental projects.
Making progress towards a better future
We have recently (June 2014) embraced new opportunities that allow us to offer many products in Fairtrade Gold. We are intending to develop this over time. As our own network of suppliers embrace change for the better, this will naturally move along our own supply chain. At this time we have an enormous choice of diamond engagement rings. They are created using ‘Conflict Free‘ diamonds. The addition of Fairtrade Gold, creates a wonderful opportunity to commission a ring which helps better the lives of workers mining the precious metals. We intend to build upon this work over time as further opportunities develop.
But what about price?
Most couples would agree that any reasonable price difference is justified in order to improve for miners producing gold. You might be surprised to learn that the price difference between an engagement ring from regular gold vs Fairtrade Gold is very small*. This is due to the small premium on the price per gram for Fairtrade Gold. There is every good reason to choose Fairtrade Gold over regular gold for an engagement ring. A wide range of designs can be cast in Fairtrade Gold (by registered suppliers). This choice will continue to grow. It is a common misconception that Fairtrade Gold jewellery will be much more expensive than the regular gold alternative. Some retailers may however price this as a premium product. Make a comparison yourself by switching to the Fairtrade Gold option in our metal option menu.
Update : June 2015
We have now levelled the price for regular and Fairtrade Gold within the shop section of our website. We felt that absorbing the premium paid on Fairtrade Gold would be the best decision for everyone concerned. Unfortunately at this time, we cannot replace all of our 18ct gold sales with Fairtrade, owing to slightly increased timescale based up on frequency of casting. We hope that as more retailers and manufacturers work with Fairtrade Gold, we can make this change.
Update : November 2015
We have now introduced fairtrade gold wedding rings to the Serendipity Diamonds website, listed within many of the plain wedding ring options. For more information please see our dedicated information page on Fairtrade wedding rings.
The Fairtrade stamp for gold
The following image shows the Fairtrade Stamp added to a recent commission, alongside the regular hallmark for 18ct White Gold. The stamp provides reassurance that the item is a genuine Fairtrade Gold ring.
The jewellery industry has a long way to go when it comes to offering ethically sound materials for jewellery. There are many ambassadors for ethical jewellery who have done (and are doing) amazing work.) Paul Spurgeon and the Cornerstone project and Greg Valerio are just two prominent figures working for this better future. Both the NAG and BJA are industry organisations heavily involved in raising awareness. There is no time like the present to embrace new change.
For more information on Fairtrade Gold visit www.fairgold.org/
This article was first published on 11th July 2014 and updated in July 2015