Fair Trade Gold and Jewellery

“Customers don’t realize that one wedding ring weighs 10 grams and causes three tonnes of toxic waste,”

Greg Valerio, Reuters

Greg-ValerioMy friend Greg Valerio of Cred Jewellery, who I have mentioned before, is in Los Angeles over the next few days, meeting with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists regarding some new social enterprises in the fair trade gold and jewellery sector. If you want to meet with him, email info@credjewellery.com

I saw Greg last August at the wedding blessing I was performing. It was quite intimidating for me because I have heard Greg say that the church is partly to blame for our current injustices since it insists on wedding rings, and usually without thought to where they came from or how they were mined. So when I asked the groom, “Do you have the rings” it was one of those moments when you really didn’t want Greg Valerio in the audience. Of course, nothing happened and Greg didn’t jump up and demand to know the origin of the rings. [I am sure the bride and groom had thought it through]. Although we did have a good chat on fair-trade and slave-free issues afterwards over a drink and managed to solve most of the worlds problems.

Question:How much more does one pay for a fair trade gold ring?

Answer: About 10% more than common prices and 15% below top luxury brands like Tiffany

Blurb: “Greg Valerio is a prominent campaigner in the Association for Responsible Mining (ARM), currently fighting for the rigorous gold-mining standards he has helped develop to be adopted by the international Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO).” From Developments.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.

1 Comment

  • Hey Andrew,
    When my wife and I were planning our wedding five years ago, we weren’t as conscious of trade issues and justice as we became later, so we didn’t really look into that at all when shopping for wedding rings. We have since become very aware and interested in these matters.
    In light of this, there is the question of what people like us who already have wedding rings should do. There is an argument to say that maybe we should get new rings that promote justice, but there is also an argument to say that the damage is already done from our rings, and that the symbolism of a ring is diminished a bit when it is replaced.
    I thought this was worth posting because we could apply this to varying degrees to other purchases depending on their symbolic significance to us and how long they are expected to last. I think if a person had a bag of Maxwell House coffee, and then was introduced to fair trade coffee later they should stop buying Maxwell House, but it’s a different story with rings, and to an extent shoes, clothing, and so on that are meant to last a while.
    What are your thoughts?

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