Anyone paying attention to the conversation about gold knows that its supply chain is under increasing scrutiny. Even recycled gold, which many designers promote as their chief concession to responsible sourcing, often brings more questions than answers.
One resource available to jewelers seeking documentation that proves their gold has not harmed people or the planet, and has even helped communities at its source, is Fairmined gold, “an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations” and connects them with the market, according to the Fairmined website.
Created by the Colombia-based nonprofit Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), the Fairmined Standard comes with numerous social and environmental assurances, such as the reduction or elimination of chemicals in the extraction process, and a guarantee that miners at certified small-scale mining organizations earn a minimum fair price for their gold (as well as a premium of $4 per gram of gold).
Many designers are now turning to Fairmined, not the least because it promises them traceability, something that most gold lacks.
In February 2020, New York City–based designer Ana Khouri posted a manifesto to her website that described her decision to use Fairmined gold as a way to empower “forces for change.”
“It is a way of ensuring that the gold on which we rely is mined and processed in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible,” Khouri wrote. “Above all, it means that our work generates a positive impact in the world, not as a gimmick, but as a long-term strategy.”
The good news is that ARM is ready, willing, and able to welcome more designers into the Fairmined ranks.
“We are currently looking for more designers and brands that want to become licensed and source Fairmined gold—as many designers as we can!” Jonathan Gonzales, a market development specialist with ARM, tells JCK.
“Currently, there is a need to increase the demand, as it is projected that Fairmined certified mines will have a strong supply this year,” he says. “When mining communities see there’s demand, they get encouraged to pursue the Fairmined standard certification, and same goes for the current ones for them to renew it.”
Below (and at top) are a handful of the latest gold designs made with Fairmined material, proof that responsible sourcing and au courant style are not mutually exclusive.
Top: Coca ring in 18k Fairmined gold, $9,800; Ana KhouriFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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