Applications now open for inaugural Fairtrade Gold Design Awards

Fairtrade gold miner Josephine Aguti went to the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter as part of a UK tour to meet business supporting gold miners and their families in East Africa. Aguti was joined by Fairtrade Africa’s gold project manager Gonzaga Mungai from Kenya, and Jon Walker from the UK’s Fairtrade Foundation. Together, they visited Hockley Mint and Johnsons Jewellers, discovering how Fairtrade gold is crafted into fine jewellery and sold in the UK and sharing their inspiring stories.

Applications are now open for emerging designers to enter the inaugural Fairtrade Design Awards, which has been created by ethical jeweller Ingle & Rhode and supported by the Fairtrade Foundation.

The Fairtrade Design Awards aims to raise awareness of Fairtrade gold amongst new designers, who are the future of the industry, whilst also helping to identify and promote up-and-coming talent.

Entries are now open for the competition which can be entered by student jewellery designers currently studying a full-time course related to jewellery, those undertaking an apprenticeship in the jewellery industry or those who have been working in the jewellery industry for three years or less.

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Hopeful entrants must register on Ingle & Rhode’s website by February 12 to take part, and then submit a design of a Fairtrade gold wedding ring, engagement ring or wedding band and engagement ring set by March 12.

Designs may incorporate yellow, white or rose gold and feature up to 0.5ct of round brilliant-cut diamonds.

Entries will be assessed on originality, creativity, presentation as well as practical considerations, and a shortlist of up to 20 finalists will be put to a public vote. Finalists will be able to rally support from their friends and family to help them win votes, but those who are not so savvy with social media will still be in with a great chance as a judging panel will award commendations to the designs they believe deserve special recognition, and will pick the overall winner.

So far, the panel of judges includes Tim Ingle and David Rhode from Ingle & Rhode, Victoria Waugh from the Fairtrade Foundation, Peter Crump from Vipa Designs, and  jewellery journalist, Rachael Taylor.

Winners, special commendations, and the overall winner, will be announced in April 2017.

Co-founder of Ingle & Rhode, Tim Ingle, comments: “Millions of people worldwide rely on small-scale gold mining to survive. Most of them work in harsh conditions with no health and safety regulations, and many of them do not receive a fair price for the gold that they produce. Fairtrade gold is vital because it provides small-scale miners and their communities in developing countries the opportunity for better living and working conditions. This is why it is so important that we raise awareness of Fairtrade gold amongst jewellery students, apprentices and those early in their careers.

“They are the future of our industry, and these Awards will provide them with a platform to publicise and promote their talent. We are really looking forward to seeing the designs from the next generation of Fairtrade jewellery designers.”

Winners and commendations will be awarded in each category, and the overall winner will receive £500, and the opportunity of an exciting work experience, which will include seeing their design transformed into a striking piece of jewellery.

Ingle & Rhode will create the winning design in Fairtrade gold and fully-traceable ethically-produced diamonds. The finished piece will be loaned to the winner to exhibit at their end of year show and/or the New Designers exhibition, before it is auctioned by Ingle & Rhode to raise money for the Fairtrade Foundation.

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