Zoë de Pass, Founder of fashion brand ‘Dress Like A Mum’, writes about her visit to Baroque, a Brighton based jeweller working with Fairtrade gold.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful shop Baroque – a Brighton based jewellers and workshop that uses Fairtrade gold for many of their pieces. I met with the owners Jason French and Pippa Knowles, the designers and even had a turn at making a ring from Fairtrade gold.
Jason showed me the whole process, from melting the gold down, to pouring it into a mould, pressing it, turning it, cutting it, welding it and then polishing it. A lot of work goes into the smallest and simplest of pieces!
Baroque have been using Fairtrade gold for over eight years. They are pioneers of Fairtrade, ethically and sustainably sourced jewellery, gems and materials. They explained to me why so many of their customers request Fairtrade jewellery.
1. It’s just as beautiful as other gold
There’s no difference in appearance in Fairtrade gold compared to other golds. The quality and shininess are the same. The only visible difference is that if you look very closely you’ll see a Fairtrade Stamp that only certified jewellers can use.
It’s the details which we can’t see that make a world of difference. Gold with the FAIRTRADE Gold Mark has come from an independently audited, Fairtrade certified mine. It enables workers to receive a fair price, improve their working conditions, protect their local environment and invest back into their communities.
2. Most small-scale gold miners work in dangerous conditions
Unregulated gold mining will continue in more often than not hazardous conditions with devastating environmental impacts unless we, the customers, make better choices and demand fairness. 40 million people worldwide depend on small-scale gold mining for their livelihood and this can often be a highly dangerous and exploitative environment due to things like toxic chemical use and corrupt middlemen.
Fairtrade works to ensure that small-scale miners can enjoy secure livelihoods, protect the environment, and trade in formal markets. It’s important that more gold suppliers recognise that things can be done in the right way and if the demand is there then hopefully Fairtrade gold can become more of a norm.
3. Fairtrade Gold miners receive fair wages
The Fairtrade Foundation works with 15 artisanal and small-scale artisanal miner sites and communities in Peru.
Workers are paid fairly for the gold and are guaranteed a minimum price. On top of this, they receive an additional amount of money called the Fairtrade Premium, which they invest in projects to improve the local community, such as clean water, healthcare or education. Workers can also choose to invest the Premium back into their business.
4. Fairtrade is supporting miners through the Covid-19 pandemic
Peru has been one of Latin America’s countries worst-hit by Covid-19. The Fairtrade Premium fund was an essential source of support for gold mining communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Communities and workers spent their Premium on essential PPE, ensuring food supplies were available, paying wages when the mines were forced to close and investing into health and safety measures to minimise any spread of the virus.
5. There’s a great choice of jewellers who offer Fairtrade gold
Baroque is just one of many lovely jewellers using Fairtrade gold in its jewellery. There are Fairtrade gold rings, chains, pendants, bracelets and more available to buy from a range of over 300 jewellers. You can choose from beautifully crafted gold collections or even design your own bespoke jewellery.
Fairtrade gold is so much more than just gold. When we buy Fairtrade gold, we’re investing in people, lives, stories, communities and protecting the environment. When we invest in anything Fairtrade we are making a choice on what we want the future to be like and making a positive difference to the people that deserve it.