What makes your jewellery ethical / responsible?
All of my jewellery uses Fairtrade certified gold and silver wherever possible. For goldsmithing there are still only very limited materials available to work with that are Fairtrade certified, so I mostly work in wax, and then send off the pieces to be cast into Fairtrade metal. I make all of my own hooks, clasps, jump rings and earring posts from Fairtade certified metal and I use up as much of my scrap as possible – for example in the granulation detail on some my pieces . Unfortunately there is still no recycling system for Fairtrade metals so I try to use it wherever I can.
What is Fairtrade Gold?
The Fairtrade Gold initiative engages with some of the poorest and most marginalised producers in the world, offering a fair price together with a means of improving their businesses and communities in the future. It also offers consumers the assurance of ethical labour and environmental practices. Please see the Fairtrade Gold website for more information.
Is your jewellery hallmarked?
Yes. All of my jewellery is tested and hallmarked at the Assay Office, to certify that it is 18ct gold. It also carries my initials and wherever possible the Fairtrade hallmark too.
Why are some of your pieces not hallmarked Fairtrade?
In order for a piece to be hallmarked Fairtrade, more than 15 % of its weight must be certified Fairtrade metal. While I hand-craft all of my own findings (clasps, hooks, etc) except earring butterflies, it is not yet possible to source certified Fairtrade fine chain, so in the case of some of my smaller, more delicate pendants, I use conventional gold instead. In some cases this means the minimum weight proportion is not met in order for it to be hallmarked Fairtrade.
Why is your jewellery more expensive, even without stones?
Fairtrade gold is sold at apremium compared to the current market value of gold. Essentially it’s like paying £1.20 in exchange for £1.00, where the extra 20% goes back to the mining communities to reinvest in improving their businesses, their livelihoods and their wellbeing. That’s why my work is more expensive than a lot of non-FT jewellery. Please see the Fairtrade Gold website for more information about the Premium.
Can you source ethical diamonds or coloured gemstones?
Yes. I source diamonds through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and I can source coloured gemstones via a handful of suppliers who have developed traceable “mine to market” supply chains, although there is no ethical certification scheme for coloured stones yet. I do not hold a large stock of stones so for clients who wish to use ethical gemstones it is best to get in touch as soon as you can so that we can discuss options and have plenty of time to source exactly what you’re looking for.
Can you re-use the metal and stones from inherited / heirloom pieces?
Yes I can …however when melting and re-using existing jewellery it is likely that additional gold will need to be added in order to create a new piece (due to that which is lost in the wasted in the process.) Although recycling is a better option than buying conventional gold new, I encourage people to buy Fairtrade over recycled because it supports the livelihoods of many miners in some of the poorest countries in the world. Please see this article on the ethics of Fairtrade over recycled gold.
What happens if the piece I order is not what I was expecting?
I understand that purchasing fine jewellery online without having seen it in advance can be a daunting prospect, so for that reason I encourage you to meet me for an initial consultation (either face to face or on Skype) prior to finalising your order so that you are 100% satisfied with the final result. For bespoke commissions I am happy to provide imagery of your piece for your approval before it is cast into gold.