However, there is hope as February 14th saw the launch of the first Fairtrade certified gold. It seems odd that it hasn’t come sooner, but 20 jewellers have embraced Fairtrade gold in their products. This includes the world’s oldest jeweller Garrard, ethical brand CRED and luxury jeweller Harriet Kelsall. The Fairtrade Foundation website has a full list of brands to stock Fairtrade and Fairmined gold, and its not all super expensive (although it makes the perfect choice for engagement and wedding rings). This ring from CRED is made from recycled silver wire, covered in Fairtrade gold, handmade in Nepal, and it costs £85.
People involved in mining gems and metals don’t generally get as much press as the banana or cotton growers, but serious problems exist in these industries. With the world market price of gold soaring, fair treatment of the miners is a particular concern as hundreds of thousands of workers are lured to the industry. An estimated 15 million people work in artisanal and small scale mining, risking disease, serious injury and even death. Six times as many accidents occur in small scale mining as in large scale.