Speakers in tears as first Fairtrade gold bar is unveiled in London.
It was an emotional moment last Wednesday as the first bar of Fairtrade certified gold was unveiled in Hatton Garden, London.
The press and industry gathered together in the Hatton Centre on London’s most famous of jewellery streets to witness what is the start of what many believe to be a revolution in the jewellery industry. This very first bar of Fairtrade gold is the culmination of many years of campaigning by global groups, communities and passionate individuals.
The audience heard from a panel that included Peruvian miners and activists, Harriet Lamb of the Fairtrade Foundation, jeweller Stephen Webster, Alliance of responsible mining director Cristina Echavarria and jeweller-activist Greg Valerio.
Tears were shed as miner Juana Pena Endova broke down as she addressed the audience to speak of the many hardships she had suffered while mining for gold at 3,000m above sea level. Through a translator she sobbed: “I became involved in mining because I’m a single woman with four children to support. Mining is very difficult and I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices.”
Echivarria was also seen weeping as Endova delivered her speech and was consoled by fellow speakers Webster and Valerio.
Webster himself almost broke down during his talk as he recalled a young girl whose family were miners that he had met during his own trip to Peru, which he used to get a better understanding of how the Fairtrade certification process for gold would work.
He told the room: “This one girl who was about 14, she said to me her dream is to be a fashion designer. And I thought my god, we are so fortunate in our life we can pretty much do anything. It had taken us god knows how long to get there and it looked like it was built on hell and that’s their home. It has an impact on you, that’s for sure.”