FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT: One year on, leading jeweller reports positive response to Fairtrade gold

Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery reports a positive response from customers to Fairtrade gold as Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 kicks off.


Lisa Snowdon wears Fairtrade gold

Fairtrade gold launched officially on 14 February 2011 and the UK's leading bespoke jeweller was one of only 20 worldwide to be licensed to use it.
Since then, the jeweller has completed over 35 commissions in Fairtrade gold – including one for TV presenter, radio DJ and model Lisa Snowdon - for customers keen to ensure their jewellery is crafted from ethical materials.

Having worked closely with the Fairtrade Foundation on the certification process, Harriet Kelsall and her team were delighted when it became official just one year ago.

Alice Rochester is a senior designer, she said: “Of course the point of Fairtrade is working with small-scale artisanal workers and their communities. As a result there was a lull between the actual launch of Fairtrade gold and its arrival in the UK as the miners had to physically mine enough gold in order to export it once the paperwork had all cleared.

“This meant that even at launch we still couldn’t get started on making rings for our customers who had been waiting since November 2010. Luckily they appreciated the pioneering nature of the Fairtrade process so although they wanted their beautiful rings, they were also prepared to wait for everything to be in place for this to happen.”

Carole and Bernard Siddle were Harriet Kelsall’s first customers to commission a ring in Fairtrade gold who had decided to buy a new wedding ring for Carole to mark their 25th wedding anniversary.

Talking about their experience with Fairtrade gold, Carole and Bernard said: “We immediately felt that this was right for us and we became part of the story of the first piece of 18 carat Fairtrade gold jewellery in the UK.

“The idea that our special ring could be made of raw material mined by people who were being paid fairly for their work and that our pleasure was not at the expense of those in another part of the world was very important to us.

“During the long wait for the first bar of gold to arrive from South America we learned more about gold mining and how it is often children who risk their lives squeezing into narrow shafts and being subjected to dangerous chemicals down the mine and during the processing.

“This is the reason that Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is so important.”

Robert and Anne Westwood chose Fairtrade gold for Anne’s engagement ring.

“We are Christians and the principles of Fairtrade are closely allied with our faith and attitude to other people and the environment,” said Robert.

“I’d deliberately chosen a jeweller from the Fairtrade Foundation website as it was important to me that the ring was made with Fairtrade gold; this is where we discovered Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery."

After the initial delays in supply, Fairtrade gold is now readily available and Harriet Kelsall, founder and managing director, is encouraged by her customers’ positive response to it.

Harriet said: “As consumer awareness of Fairtrade grows people are more likely to search online for an ethical option for their jewellery.

However, we do actually offer it to most customers even if they haven’t asked for it - generally the difference in cost between making, for example, a wedding ring in Fairtrade gold and ‘standard’ gold isn’t as much as customers expect and l am working with the Fairtrade Foundation to reduce this further.

“We’re finding that people are more and more likely to go ahead with using the Fairtrade option because of this and they are really pleased to know that their jewellery is as ethical as it’s possible to be.

"The great thing is that, unlike the first incarnations of Fairtrade coffee (which sounded good but tasted horrible!) Fairtrade gold is physically identical to ‘standard’ gold but you’ve got the reassurance that the people and communities who have mined it have been well treated and well paid for their work.

"There are no reasons for not using it!”

About Harriet Bespoke Jewellery
Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery is the UK’s leading bespoke jewellery design company specialising in engagement rings, wedding rings, commitment rings and eternity rings as well as jewellery for other memorable occasions.
Based in Hertfordshire and Cambridge, Harriet Kelsall’s team of designers and goldsmiths work closely with clients to create unique and stunning pieces of jewellery to an exceptionally high standard.

Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery is at the forefront of ethics within the jewellery industry and at the end of last year became the first independent UK company to be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council.

Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery is an award-winning bespoke jewellery design company. In 2011, the company was awarded Business Initiative of the Year in the UK Jewellery Awards for the re-design of its Cambridge studio, an initiative that brings proper bespoke jewellery design to the High Street for the first time.

The company was also listed in Professional Jeweller’s prestigious Hot 100 list – the who’s who of the jewellery industry - and was included in Retail Jeweller’s list of the Top 50 Inspiring Independents coming in at number 25 making it the top independent in Cambridge.

And topping off a glittering year of success, Harriet Kelsall was named Woman of the Year at the Specsavers Everywoman in Retail Awards. This coveted award recognises the company’s enormous achievements as well as Harriet’s vision and passion for innovation and inspiring the younger generation of jewellery designers and goldsmiths.


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