By Marc Choyt
Using recycled metal has become a strong selling point to jewelers and customers interested in minimizing their impact. This is particularly true in the North American Market, where certified fair trade gold is not yet available. In the UK market, fair trade gold is in such demand that what ever is produced is purchased immediately, and dozens of jewelers are waiting to sign up.
At Fair Jewelry Action, we’re working to bring fair trade gold to the US market. Recently, I had to explain to an American jeweler why fair trade gold is a better option than recycled gold. Using recycled metals is a good first step, but it does not deal with the critical issue of gold being mined my small scale diggers, often using mercury which is toxic to the miners and the watersheds.
Fair trade gold, however, supports the best and most responsible practices of small scale mining. It is a win/win situation for the miners and for the customers to know that the gold they have on their ring symbolizes a more hopeful future. Fair trade gold mining becomes a positive development initiative, a means of alleviating poverty in the global south. You can see an example of this taking place with this excellent ten minute documentary which takes you into a fair trade mine. It interviews miners and details the social and community impact of the cooperative.
The video, forwarded to me by Patrick Schein, an ARM board member who has been very active in ASM mining issues, is in French. To get English subtitles, hit the red cc button underneath the video’s window.
Here’s a link to the video.
FJA is a forum open to a diversity of opinions in support of its mission. Any editorial expressed in this article represents the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the views of Fair Jewelry Action members.