A Brighter Future For Us All

A Brighter Future For Us All

Written by Alice Rochester on 23 June 2021

It has been an interesting year. The pandemic has given everyone cause to stop and re-evaluate, with many people having realised that we need to do things a little better. We need to look after our planet and the people on it. We need to support our communities. We all need to do our bit. However small it may seem on its own, all those small bits come together to create a more inclusive movement that offers a brighter future for us all.

There have been so many opportunities for training online and sharing of information that might not have come about if we weren’t all confined to our homes. The jewellery industry alone has hosted a vast array or webinars, leading to collaborations that previously would have been unheard of. It is an industry that has been known to play its cards close to its chest (not openly discussing suppliers or the way they were working for fear of giving away trade secrets). They certainly didn’t like to talk about ways we could improve the industry in case it highlighted that it wasn’t all as bright and sparkling as people imagine. Among these webinars, two have really stood out as a way of bringing people in the jewellery industry together to discuss the ethics of what we do:

 

  • The Living Room Sessions – a “virtual hang out for community and conversation on responsible sourcing and sustainability”

 

  • Fair Luxury Open House - a “collaboration of jewellery industry changemakers with a vision for a responsible and sustainable future”

 

One of the points that really resonated with us at these discussions was – isn’t it strange that all of the gold that has ever been mined is still in existence somewhere? So much of it is sitting in drawers, when it could be re-used rather than any new mining needing to take place.

80% of our business is bespoke, which means we are constantly working with customer’s own jewellery. In particular, melting down old gold from family jewellery and re-working it into something new and special, imbued with meaning and soul. We tend to talk to our customers about what a lovely thing this is to do from a sentimental perspective, but less often from an environmental one. Recycling metal is an interesting choice, and we even work with recycled gold that we buy new, but we are also aware that if we were to use only recycled metal we would be denying small scale miners the opportunity to support their families.  90% of the world’s gold miners work in Artisanal Small-scale Mines (ASMs) and an estimated 100 million people worldwide rely on small scale mining to support their families, so this is no small industry. As a result of this, we spent time working with the Fairtrade Foundation and other industry leaders to help bring Fairtrade gold to the market.  To us, recycled gold and Fairtrade gold are both important ethical options and so for many years we have been pleased to discuss how they look alongside ‘standard’ metal choices with our customers.

Another recent webinar – Cleaner Gold Network – made us aware of the illegal mining situation in the Brazilian rainforest and how it has dramatically worsened over the last year. The discussion included the difficultly in distinguishing legally mined gold from illegally mined gold, which made us realise that we need to tell more people about our ethical commitments in the hope that help to demonstrate that it is possible to do things better.

One of the most recent commitments we have made is to take a pledge with Fair Luxury that 100% of the new gold bullion that we order will be either Fairtrade or recycled. The pledge recognises that “we are each at a different stage in our journey towards responsible business, but we are all working on it. No matter how big or small, our collective actions will change the world.” Through continuing to take part in the Fair Luxury events we can support others on their journey and take inspiration from those around us to make other changes. The jewellery industry is changing. These collaborations can only mean that it will change faster – it’s an exciting time. We will be sure to keep you updated with what happens next…