It’s been really exciting to see the progress made by Fairtrade Gold since its launch in 2011. In 2015, for example, year on year volume sales were up more than 400%.
But although Fairtrade Gold is still in its infancy, a new wave of jewellers is emerging with a much broader ethical mind-set than previous generations. Their commitment to working with traceable materials that have been produced in a socially and environmentally-responsible way is starting to drive real change, and together with a greater consumer awareness can move the industry into a fairer more sustainable future.
First Fairtrade Gold Design Awards
It was to encourage this new generation of designer-makers that Ingle & Rhode decided to launch the Fairtrade Gold Design Awards. The idea was to help raise awareness of Fairtrade Gold amongst those who are the future of our industry, whilst providing them with an opportunity to showcase their talents, and for one of them to have their first piece made in Fairtrade Gold.
The competition was open to three categories of designer: apprentices and students in further education; undergraduates; and postgraduates and people in the early stages of their careers. Applicants were asked to submit a design for an engagement ring, a wedding band, or a wedding and engagement set. The piece was to be in yellow, white or rose gold, and could be set with up to 0.5ct of traceable Canadian diamonds.
With 46 designs submitted, we were delighted with the standard of entries, and it was a tough job whittling the submissions down to a shortlist of five in each category.
We invited the public to vote for their favourite design, and a judging panel picked the overall winner as well highly commended designs.
The panel was comprised of Rachel Taylor (a prominent jewellery journalist, and Fairtrade advocate); Victoria Waugh from the Fairtrade Foundation; Dave Merry from the Goldsmiths Company; Peter Crump from Vipa Designs; and Tim Ingle and David Rhode from Ingle & Rhode. Each design was judged on originality, creativity, presentation and practical considerations.
The winner was this beautiful engagement ring design by Angela Gillies entitled ‘Nestled’:
Featuring a feather motif cradling a round brilliant-cut diamond, Ingle & Rhode announced the winning design at the Fair Luxury conference in Birmingham on 25th April.
Design becomes reality
We were delighted to invite Angela to work with our in-house design team to translate her sketches into a three-dimensional CAD design, and to see her beautiful design turned in a piece of fine jewellery crafted from Fairtrade gold.
After the CAD work was complete, Angela spent several days with Vipa Designs where her design was beautifully cast in Fairtrade 18ct white gold.
Angela then spent a week with Ingle & Rhode in London, to see our mounters and setters finish her ring, give the feather motif a matte finish to contrast with the brightly polished finish of the shank, and set a beautiful 0.5ct round brilliant cut Canadian diamond.
Angela also got a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the London Assay Office, where the ring was hallmarked and stamped with the Fairtrade Mark, and spent some time sitting in on meetings with clients, watching their ideas for a bespoke ring come to life.
The finished piece will be displayed at Angela’s end of year show, before being donated to the Fairtrade Foundation.
Our thanks go to all the people who gave up their time to make this a success, not least the entrants and the judges, but also to Vipa Designs and The London Assay Office. It became very clear to us that there is no shortage of talented, ethically minded young designers coming through. The future is bright, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s competition.