Fairtrade Gold, why I use it.
The world has suddenly changed… for everyone.
It has given us time to think what is important to us and our families. The past number of weeks have been all about adapting, to a new world, new ways of doing business, communicating and figuring out how to keep sane in this crazy world we all now find ourselves cocooning or isolating in. While we have more time on our hands and are looking to pamper ourselves think about choosing Fairtrade Gold if you are having a bespoke piece of jewellery designed and made.
I have taken over the front room in my house plonked my Mac on a old Strawbridge dresser which I keep banging my knees off and share with lots of my design sketches, gemmology tools and bowls of fruit. My wife an accountant is working in another room and our kids run in and out shouting for food or for me to come play with them.
On a normal day before lock down I would regularly walk up to 10km per day between my walk to and from work, multiple over and backs to the workshop from DESIGNYARD, I used to use this time to think. So now most days I go for a run to get back my thinking time.
Thankfully business has not stopped, but I think it has changed forever. My emails and DM’s on social channels have never been busier with people from all over the world enquiring about having a piece custom designed and made, asking questions about certain gemstones I have available or just looking for advice on selling their jewellery at auction or to private collectors or to escape into a world of custom design for a little while.
I have always used technology when working with clients to create bespoke designs so thankfully not much has changed other than I am not in my studio/workshop but at home. So after a number of emails, WhatsApps, videos and images being sent between clients I have more commissions in the workflow than I would normally have at any one time. I am looking forward to getting through them all once lockdown is over.
A lot of my clients like to use their own pieces of jewellery when commissioning a new piece, old gold chains which have gone out of fashion or a larger diamond ring they have had for many years or inherited when making something new, this is a great idea and certainly helps keep the costs down. It is a great way to recycle older dated jewellery.
Being a registered goldsmith/small jeweller with www.fairgold.org gives me the opportunity to help improve the lives of the small scale artisanal miners and their families knowing that they are achieving a fair price for their gold and working in safe conditions and protecting the natural environment. Fairtrade Certified Gold is the world’s first independent ethical certification system for gold. It is not a question of why would you use Fairtrade Gold it is more a question why wouldn’t you use Fairtrade Gold.
Fairtrade Gold Standards include strict requirements on working conditions, health and safety, handling chemicals, women’s rights, child labour and protection of the environment. Fairtrade certified mines are audited by FLOCERT to check they meet the Standard.
While going through the design process and deciding the details of your bespoke piece of jewellery you are helping these communities directly by supporting Fairtrade.
You will end up with an heirloom you can be especially proud of not just because it is beautifully made but because it has benefited others in the process of its creation. The artisanal mining communities will receive extra money to invest in education, clean water and healthcare.
There are currently three Fairtrade certified mining organisations, MACDESA in Peru, SYANYONJA in Uganda and MICODEPRO in Kenya. In addition Fairtrade is working with other pilot groups in Peru, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to achieve Fairtrade certification.
Today ask yourself through your actions did you make a positive impact on the world.
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Ronan Campbell is a private jeweller, Diamond & Gemstone specialist at DESIGNYARD Dublin Ireland