The certification of platinum and silver will bring new awareness.
Every new movement needs a seminal moment to kick it out from its warm, cosy position as a concept and into action as a cold, hard reality. For the ethical jewellery movement this was Valentine’s Day in 2011.
While there were already jewellers out there working to offer a feel-good alternative to mainstream jewellery, the announcement of Fairtrade gold won ethical jewellery an explosion of mainstream media coverage; radio shows dedicated to exploring how jewels are made and how the lives of those who mine precious metals are lived, and more than a few TV spots.
Fairtrade gold most definitely launched with a loud bang, and for ethical campaigners that long-awaited moment in the sun was warm indeed. But like every media storm it soon dispersed, and soon nobody outside the jewellery trade was talking about Fairtrade gold.
There is a cache of jewellery brands and designers who have kept it alive, and through word of mouth and one-to-one appointments with clients these jewellers have spread the word and convinced customers to make what they believe is the right choice – to choose Fairtrade gold. But it is often an uphill struggle with worries about a lack of promotion and pricing structures, all of which you can read more about here.
But the market has another seminal moment in 2013, albeit a quieter one that than in 2011, as Fairtrade silver and Fairtrade platinum arrive in the UK to complete the trilogy of ethical precious metals. While these new metals carry all the same baggage as gold, it does offer the trade a chance to start those discussions about ethical choices afresh.
This column has been adapted from an original that first appeared in the March 2013 issue of Professional Jeweller. To see a digital copy of this issue click here.