Jewelry Design Firm Switches to Fair Trade Suppliers

Reflective Images, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based jewelry design studio, has ceased doing business with two suppliers, located in Thailand and India, because they do not comply with Fair Trade principals. The firm said that all bracelets and necklace chains will be now imported from a company in Indonesia that adheres to Fair Trade standards.

“Imported handmade chain adds value to our American pieces,” said Marc Choyt, president of Reflective Images. “The Indonesian company costs up to 30 percent more than the companies we’ve dropped, but I believe our customers will support our Fair Trade initiatives.”

Fair Trade principals, include:

* Providing free board for employees;
* Wages well above minimum wage standards;
* Clean, environmentally sound, well ventilated working conditions;
* A month of paid vacation, annually;
* Profit sharing; and
* A fund to cover all medical expenses

Choyt admits that not all of his inventory pieces are from Fair Trade suppliers, but he says he is narrowing the gap. Among the issues he says is whether customers would want to purchase jewelry made by poorly treated workers or with materials obtained through environmentally unfriendly mining practices.

“Does the expression of love and commitment symbolized in a ring just extend to our intimate ones, or beyond them, to the greater human family? It takes real courage for someone in the jewelry business to even consider these issues, but there is an even greater danger for those who ignore them.”