Guest blog article written by Harriet Kelsall, Founder and Chair of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. Harriet is also Chair of the National Association of Jewellers, and a non-executive director for both the Responsible Jewellery Council and the British Hallmarking Council.
Whilst not as well-known as Fairtrade coffee or chocolate, Fairtrade Certified Gold is becoming increasingly popular; it is the world’s first independent ethical certification for gold and the brand is widely recognised and trusted by 84% of the UK population.
What is Fairtrade Gold?
Miners achieve Fairtrade certification through working in cooperatives. Certification gives the security of a fair and fixed price for their gold, as well as additional benefits for their community; Fairtrade pays the miners 95% of the global fixed price for their gold, and then an additional Fairtrade Premium ($2,000 US/kilo) goes to the community who choose what this is spent on.
Your purchase of Fairtrade, including of course Fairtrade Gold products, means that companies from developed countries pay a fair price to those in less developed countries for their produce and labour. As a result, these workers are able to afford life’s essentials, such as food, education and healthcare. We have been lucky enough to meet some of the miners and witness the huge difference this makes.
What’s more, each year over the course of two weeks (usually across February and March), awareness of Fairtrade products increases through the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign and involves all sorts of exciting things being planned across the UK to celebrate.
Where to Buy Fairtrade Gold
As one of the contributors to the UK’s ethical jewellery industry, Cooksongold holds Europe’s widest stocked range of Fairtrade Gold to support this worldwide movement. This includes 18ct gold wire, sheet, grain and chain, with a selection of products also available in 9ct yellow, red and white gold.
It is widely reported that millennial shoppers are looking to make more ethical purchases, and the fact that Cooksongold are now stocking Fairtrade Gold in both 9ct and 18ct gold alloys can only mean that more jewellers will be able to use it, which will further raise consumer awareness of its existence.
Whilst you need to be registered as a Fairtrade Goldsmith or Fairtrade Licensee to purchase Fairtrade Gold and ask for the Fairtrade mark to be struck by the Assay Office when your work is hallmarked, it is still possible to use Fairtrade Gold if registered under their Goldsmiths Scheme without going through the licensing process (if so, you need to use less than 500g of fine gold per year).
Working with Fairtrade Gold
Working in the jewellery industry for a company with strong ethical interests like Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, as well as enjoying chocolate and coffee (more than I should), I have come to realise how each time I choose a Fairtrade product it has a positive impact on the lives of people in the developing world.
When the Fairtrade Foundation initially approached Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery about becoming one of only 20 jewellers’ worldwide to use this extraordinary metal, we were delighted and hopeful that more people would be able to get involved. It wasn’t terribly accessible to begin with, but as the number of mines working with Fairtrade has increased, so has interest in using it.
Some people find it hard to believe that we are so pleased to see the beautiful creations being constructed by other designers and makers in this ethically-minded metal, but we know that every little bit of that gold that is purchased will support someone who truly needs it.
So, whether or not you choose to add the Fairtrade mark to your jewellery, buying this metal means that artisanal and small-scale miners were paid fairly and that their work complies with the Fairtrade Standards, including health and safety standards, the rights of women and children, and protection of the environment. You can be sure that you’re transforming the world through your jewellery.
 Fairtrade Foundation, “Direct to Consumer Communication”, December 2018