Almost four years on from its humble beginnings in 2011, Fairtrade gold is now paving the way for a real 'wind of change' in the jewellery industry. The UK is home to 57 jewellers who are licensed to use Fairtrade gold stamp, with a further 102 goldsmiths who are registered to sell Fairtrade gold.
Celebrating love, commitment, and fairness to thousands of poor artisanal gold miners around the world, the two-week exhibition unveils exclusive brand new designs from 12 Fairtrade-certified jewellery designers, including Fairtrade pioneers Ute Decker, September Rose and CRED Jewellery, household names Pippa Small and Anna Loucah, as well as up-and-coming talents such as Catalina at Romero One.
Showcasing mainly engagement and wedding jewellery, the exhibition is part of a national campaign ‘I Do’ to encourage brides and grooms in the UK to buy Fairtrade gold rings ahead of Valentine’s Day.
An estimated £1 million (£650,000) in Fairtrade Premium could be generated through 50,000 couples choosing Fairtrade gold wedding rings to invest in improving education, healthcare and livelihoods for some of the poorest mining communities across the world.
Amy Ross, Project Manager for the Fairtrade Gold and Precious Metals programme at Fairtrade International, said: "By putting the interest of the most disadvantaged miners around the world, and the environment, at the centre of their work, Fairtrade jewellery designers are revolutionising the industry and paving the way for a fairer, and truly beautiful, wedding ring for UK's couples.
“We encourage everyone to come down and see the designs, and become part of the change that is happening.”
Speaking about his involvement in ‘I Do’, one of the first Fairtrade jewellers Jon Dibben said: “It’s fantastic, having been hand making wedding rings for over 25 years, to see more couples choose Fairtrade gold for their special rings – a precious metal that offers traceability, environmental stewardship and financial support for small-scale miners. It completes the whole feel-good experience.”
Fairtrade gold pioneers
Carrying the widest selection of Fairtrade wedding rings, Fairtrade pioneers CRED Jewellery have launched exclusively for "I Do" The Element Wedding Ring and Tying the Knot collections. The designs come in both white and yellow 18ct Fairtrade gold, sourced from Fairtrade-certified mines in Peru.
One of the first jewellers in the world to embrace Fairtrade gold, London-based artist-jeweller Ute Decker selects only the finest sustainable materials to hand-craft each individual piece. Described as ‘wearable sculptures’, Ute's unique and limited designs are minimalist yet confidently sculptural. At 'I Do' the artist presents her critically-acclaimed Curl ring & pendant (18ct Fairtrade gold).
Jon Dibben was one of the first twenty designers licensed to make jewellery using the world's first certified Fairtrade gold, and was subsequently named a 'trend-setter' by the Professional Jeweller magazine. Known for intricate bespoke designs, Jon has designed especially for 'I Do' a Meadow rings collection.
'I Do' also launches Confetti, a romantic new collection of jewellery, by a Fairtrade pioneer September Rose. Inspired by rose petals and fairytale moments, sentimental and elegant, the collection consists of six pieces - pendants, cufflinks and earrings, available in sustainably sourced, traceable silver and gold.
Innovation comes from vision. Amanada Li Hope's vision for her new bridal collections, Saturnian and Arc, was to push the colour concept even further than in her previous designs. Each ring is the inverse of the other with an approximate 1:3 ratio of two colours. By allowing couples to choose two colours to represent each other, Amanda’s pieces symbolise the moment when a bride and groom come together and say "I Do."
A-list engagement rings
Launching especially for 'I Do', Pippa Small, MBE, is introducing yellow gold bands as a beautiful yet thought-provoking alternative to traditional wedding rings. Available in four widths, the rings are designed in 22kt yellow gold sourced from mines in Peru and Bolivia.
Anna Loucah's brand-new Stellar collection offers a dynamic and distinctive design for the contemporary bride. The awards-winning jeweller, whose work has been seen on the Hollywood Red Carpet, says Stellar "demonstrates her fascination with interlocking shape and companion design".
'I Do' has also the great pleasure to showcase a special collection of Fairtrade gold and silver jewellery by Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. Nominated in 2014 by Institute of Directors as one of six ‘Women Most Changing the Business World’, Harriett presents eight pieces, including Fairtrade 18ct yellow gold ring with peridot and topaz and Fairtrade 18ct white gold engagement ring with a 0.82ct diamond.
Finalist ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year’ 2014 Erica Sharpe exhibits 13 engagement rings, including Swan Ring with Marquise Diamond and White Gold Swan Ring, inspired by the elegance and grace of the swans on the Somerset Levels. Erica's distinctive jewellery is a celebration of history, diverse wildlife, landscapes and dramatic coastlines of the South West of England, Erica's home.
Cmbining craftsmanship, skill and love of materials, Cox+Power's Tony and Rachel, hosts of the exhibition, present a selection of wedding rings, including the statement Hidden Ring, as well as Raindrop and Arena collections.
Posy Bands represent the first wedding band collection from a designer Catalina at Romero One ltd. Inspired by English bethothal rings of the 16th and 17th centuries, which were inscribed with words and motifs, symbolising the bond between partners, these rings propose a fresh take on this old tradition. Crafted exclusively in Fairtrade gold, the designs feature bow-ties and garlands, top hats and ribbons.
The 'I Do' exhibition at Cox&Power, 10-12 Chiltern Street, London, W1U 7PX, 15-29 January 2015, Monday-Saturday, 10:30am-6pm, 10.30am - 6pm. Entrance free. During the exhibition, visitors have the opportunity to try and purchase each item on display. For more information about the 'I Do' campaign, go to www.fairtrade.org.uk/IDo. High quality photos can be downloaded from https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l08752kjzzp8tsi/AAD2vw6MxHEN4tedF3-YxC7aa?dl=0.
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Interview and high quality image requests should be directed to Anna Galandzij, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7440 7692.
Notes to Editors
- Around the world small-scale mining employs about 30 million miners. As many as 100 million people depend on it for their livelihoods.
- Since becoming certified in 2010, Fairtrade mining organisations in Peru have invested in healthcare, education and improved equipment and later in 2015 mining groups in *East Africa will benefit from similar positive social and economic impacts when they become Fairtrade certified in 2015.
- Fairtrade gold was first launched in 2011 in the UK closely followed by launches in Australia/New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden. Certified gold is being launched in Switzerland in October 2014 and discussions are currently underway to introduce certified gold in the USA and Germany in the near future.
- The Fairtrade Minimum Price for pure gold is set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association’s (LBMA) fix plus a Fairtrade Premium of US$2000 per kilogram of fine gold bought from the mines. Platinum: 95% LMBA + Fairtrade Premium of 15%; Silver: 95% LMBA + Fairtrade Premium of 10%. The LBMA fix is the international agreed price for gold. Artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) producers in the mainstream get anything from 50% to 85% of the LBMA fix.
- Miners can earn a premium of 15% on top of their sale price when they recover and process gold without the use of harmful chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.
- Certified miners must use safe and responsible practices for managing toxic chemicals in gold recovery. Chemicals have to be reduced to a minimum and where possible eliminated over an agreed time period.
- Child and forced labour is prohibited under Fairtrade standards, and Fairtrade monitoring stamps it out wherever it is found.
- The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade International. The Mark is licensed on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. Today, more than 1.4 million people – farmers, workers and their families – across 70 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.