— Michelle B.
— Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
At present, Reflective Jewelry sources its Fairtrade Gold from mines in Peru— including
Sotrami and Macdesa.
We hope in the near future to expand our purchasing to Fairtrade Gold mines located in Africa
Fairtrade Gold is still a new initiative in the jewelry sector, and the supply chain is often tentative. There are only a handful of certified Fairtrade Gold mines in the world. And given their small-scale nature, any hitch in the mining or certification processes— or a spike in purchases from large buyers—
can affect our ability (as a small company) to purchase this gold.
Because of these issues, we often have had to import our Fairtrade Gold from England— something only possible thanks to relationships we’ve
developed with like-minded ethical suppliers over the years. Even ‘across the pond,’ where hundreds of
jewelers offer Fairtrade Gold, the supply can run dry!
Yet another obstacle we face is that, as of June 2017, Fairtrade Gold mill products are still not available in the US. (Mill products include the gold sheets and wire we use to hand-craft many of our rings and jewelry pieces.) Certified Fairtrade Gold also costs us roughly 15-20% more than open-market gold, due to the premiums paid to miners and fees paid to the certification agency.
In spite of all these deterrents, Reflective Jewelry remains deeply committed to offering as much certified Fairtrade Gold as possible— as well as the most
ethically-sourced gemstones available. We stand firm in our convictions— despite the
challenges they may cause.
Our Katherine Aberle rings can be made with Fairtrade Gold, provided a supply is available. More recently, we began carrying
Greg Valerio’s collection of Fairtrade wedding and engagement rings— which are made in
England. (Greg founded the Fairtrade Gold movement and we’ve worked together on campaigns over the years.) We at Reflective Jewelry can also make our Classic Comfort Fit wedding rings
in Fairtrade Gold.
Close to 90% of the gold used in our two-tone gold-over-silver pieces is made with certified Fairtrade Gold from Macdesa or Sotrami. The balance, 10%, is recycled gold inventory remaining from before our certification in 2015. (Because these two-tone, gold over silver products are made with recycled silver and 100% pure certified Fairtrade Gold, they cannot be stamped with the ‘Fairtrade’
trademark. Instead, they can be referred to with the more general ‘fair trade.’)
You can always call us to ask specifically if your two-tone jewelry is made from recycled or Fairtrade Gold— we’re
careful to keep track of our inventory! We can also custom-make any piece out of Fairtrade Gold— provided we have the necessary materials.
*As an aside, consider that while recycled precious metals possess an allure of being ‘ethical,’
they have no impact whatsoever on the mining industry. Only Fairtrade processes can claim to do this.*
Our goal is to establish Fairtrade Gold practices as the new norm for jewelry in the US. We can do this, but not by ourselves. Just think of the first Fairtrade coffee or chocolate company some forty years ago, and how much those industries have grown today.
By increasing the demand for Fairtrade Gold, we in turn increase the demand for a stronger supply network of Fairtrade Gold mines. But the first step, of course, is to get the word out.
Anyone reading this can do their small part to help: please like us on Facebook, follow us on
Twitter. (Or Instagram,
or Pinterest.) Share or retweet our posts. This exposure could potentially change the lives of hundreds of thousands of small scale miners.
PS: If you happen to be in the market for jewelry, or know someone who is, think of us! We can custom-make nearly anything you might desire— please don’t
hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email.