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  • Dawn Meaden-Johnson

Be an Ethical Jeweller - Making a Start

Updated: Jan 7

At a time when awareness about negative impacts on the environment is growing, the demand to buy ethically sourced and made products is increasing. With this in mind we have collaborated with Fairmined.org to create this blog to provide a summary for Jewellers or small Jewellery Brands on how to become more ethically minded when purchasing precious metals and embrace some changes in their Jewellery businesses in support of this.


In addition to this article you might like to read our blog How to Create an Ethical Statement, where you will find more ideas for Ethical Jewellery practises.

Who are Fairmined?

Fairmined is an assurance and provenance organisation with a 3rd party certification and audit system that ensures that artisanal and small-scale mining organizations meet world leading standards for:

  • Responsible practices

  • Delivering organizational and social development

  • Environmental protection.

Their Fairmined Standard supply chain provides Jewellers with easy access to certified Fairmined gold or Eco Gold from Fairmined licensed suppliers.


The Fairmined Initiative was created by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), this is a non-profit organization globally recognized as a leader and pioneer of responsible artisanal and small-scale mining.

1. Jewellers can start small without Certification or a License

You don’t have to use Fairmined Gold for all of your work, but you could start small by using any or all of these options and you can still tell customers about you ethics and use of ethical or Eco gold in;

  • A specific product

  • A collection

  • As part of your production process

2. Become a 100% Labelled Ethical Brand

This will allow you to hallmark or stamp the Fairmined label on your finished Jewellery. Proving full physical traceability of the gold you used from Mine to Bench to Market.


If you become a Fairmined licensed brand that is compatible with other initiatives, such Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) certification.

If you source gold to create jewellery you have a great opportunity to pass on:

  • The story of origin

  • Add value to your products by assuring their responsible origin

  • Generate a positive impact in mining communities.

It is the best way to demonstrate your full commitment to the mining communities’ transformation and allows you to make clear statements about the origins of your gold.

You can guarantee your customers that every ounce of gold you use has been mined under responsible conditions and is generating a positive impact.

Making changes is powerful, but it can also be challenging, particularly if you don’t have complete control of your production process or if you still have a lot of stock. Changing your gold sourcing may imply some extra efforts, as you will need to review the entire production chain to make sure that the Fairmined gold won’t get mixed with other sources of gold. However making changes is also a path towards excellence, as you will be able to offer a more transparent supply chain and extra guarantees to your customers.


In this process of change you can find the support of the Fairmined team and authorized suppliers that will be happy to guide you all along the way.

This path might require you to reinvent part of your supply chain, find new providers and solve technical challenges to guarantee that 100% of your gold is Fairmined. But it is also a unique way to show unconditional support to miners and your adhesion to the best standards in terms of production practices.

· Contact Fairmined and get the support of an account manager to help you through the process


What is the difference between Fairmined Ethical Gold & Fairmined Ecological Gold?

Fairmined Ethical Gold is produced under a strict Fairmined Standard for responsible mining as set out in the Fairmined Gold social, organizational and economic criteria; it is produced with responsible management and reduction of toxic chemicals like mercury and cyanide.


Fairmined Ecological Gold is produced under the same strict standard for responsible mining as Fairmined Gold in terms of social, organizational and economic criteria. But there is one difference. Where regular Fairmined Gold is produced with responsible management and reduction of toxic chemicals like mercury and cyanide, miners who produce Fairmined Ecological Gold do not use any toxic chemicals at all in their extraction processes.


Why Buy Gold from Fairmined authorised suppliers?

By using the Fairmined supply chain you are buying from certified mining organizations that are audited annually by independent auditing bodies. Furthermore, all the partners in the supply chain are frequently monitored to assure that they also comply with the Fairmined Standard requirements.


How the Fairmined ‘Standard’ Benefits Miners

· The Receive a guaranteed fair price for their minerals

· They get an additional Premium as a market incentive to cover the costs of the certification and to invest in mining operations, social development and environmental protection.

· They have direct access to international markets and responsible supply chains.

· They have legitimacy with the government, national and international audiences and the industry.

· They have access to a network of miners and experienced allies as well as mining support organizations.


How the Fairmined Standard Benefits Jewellers & Jewellery Brands

· They get assurance that the gold they buy is responsibly mined

· They generate a positive impact with every purchase of Gold

· Licensed brands can create products, such as jewellery collections or special pieces with Fairmined certified gold, ecological gold or silver from certified small-scale mining communities.

· By knowing where your gold comes from, you can connect with the origin of the materials you use and make a human connection between your clients, yourself and the miners.

· As a licensed brand you have access to communications and marketing materials and support to help you tell the story of the gold and communicate your commitment to responsible sourcing and sustainability.



Getting Started Options

1. Check out our new course

one day or 6 hours online

How to be a Genuinely Ethical & Sustainable Jeweller

One to one guidance from an Ethical B-Corp Registered UK Goldsmith.








2. Make contact with Fairmined to express your interest. Contact >

3. Choose suppliers- Fairmined Authorised Supplier List >

4. Decide if you want to sign the license agreement and comply with audits or complete self-assessments and reports.



Other sources of Information


Fair Luxury


The Alliance of Fair Mining


The Responsible Jewellery Council


CIBJO (The World Jewellery Confederation)

4.1.2: RESPONSIBLE SUPPLY CHAIN GUIDANCE AND STANDARDS FOR JEWELLERY INDUSTRY METALS AND GEMSTONES

a: London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) LBMA Responsible Sourcing programme

b: World Diamond Council (WDC) WDC System of Warranties

4.1.3: RESPONSIBLE SUPPLY CHAIN GUIDANCE AND STANDARDS FOR ARTISANAL SOURCING

a: Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) “CRAFT” Code of Risk Mitigation for ASM


Diamond Development Initiative


Fairmined (gold)


Fairtrade (gold)


Canada Mark (Diamonds)


Kimberley Process (Diamonds)


 


 
BLOG - About the author

Dawn Meaden-Johnson is the Director and Founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company. She has over 25 years’ experience working in the Jewellery Industry including Retail Jewellers and almost 10 Years at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery during which time she has worked extensively with national and international clients whilst managing their Short Course Programme project.

Dawn is also an experienced jewellery business specialist mentor for Jewellery Graduates and Designer Makers.

A graduate Silversmith of Birmingham School of Jewellery, Dawn still occasionally creates limited edition contemporary jewellery.


- Email Dawn at bespoketraining@virginmedia.com



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