For the incurable romantics amongst us Valentines Day is always a must. Secret cards, red roses that double in price the week before, ‘does she or doesn’t she love me?’ questions and of course the last-minute need to land a piece of jewellery that she will wear with thoughts only of you. If standing behind the counter for many years helping men find the perfect Valentines Gift has taught me anything, it is that contrary to popular belief, Valentines Day is not just a commercial gimmick designed to get us to spend our cash on trash. It is for many a specific day when you can express your love for someone for no other reason than you love them. And jewellery is the traditional gift through which we often choose to express that love.
As all jewellers know it is love, aspiration and beauty that are the underpinnings of our business. Jewellery is one of those unique purchases that transcend normal conventions when it comes to spending money as it often speaks to the heart rather than the head. Yet equally our tokens of love have been brought at more than just the price of the ticket.
The great moral disconnect within the jewellery trade is that it will spend billions each year in brand marketing that screens out the source of our products because they do not conform to the luxury image we wish to portray. Yet the truth of our industry is that our dependence on mining is absolute and that mining is a very dirty, brutish and ugly process, riddled with every kind of corruption, social and environmental abuse imaginable. It is precisely this moral disconnect that Fairtrade Labeling Organisation and Alliance for Responsible Mining have addressed in creating the world’s first independently certified standard for gold.
Fairtrade Fairmined Gold – What is it?
- Improve the working conditions on the ground
- Improve the health and safety at the mine
- Improve the environmental performance of their mine
- Create a democratic and transparent organisational structure
- Ensure gender equality throughout the whole organisation
What many of us will not know is that there are over 100 million people globally who are dependent on small-scale mining to earn their living. They are the second biggest mass employment block in the world. yet due to the dominance of large-scale miners (who are a very small number of people) the small-scale miners are marginalised and receive a fraction of the attention they are due. Poverty plays a huge part in the mining sector and the majority of miners are poor.
- A public set of Fairtrade Fairmined standards that determine the minimum and progressive requirements a small-scale mining operation has to achieve to receive Fairtrade Fairmined Certification.
- An independent 1/3 rd party auditor who verifies that the mine meets the standard and audits all the operators with in the chain of custody against the flow of goods.
- A minimum price is paid to the mining coop. This guarantees that there is no exploitation of the miners by unscrupulous traders.
- A Fairtrade Premium is paid on the product. This money is invested into the local