Building an Ethical Jewellery Industry

Our first guest author is Kassandra Lauren Gordon, jeweller, poet and activist.

The Fair Luxury website states: “Each of us is at a different place on our journey to responsible business, but we are working on it. No matter how small, collectively our actions will transform our industry for the better.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I have always seen myself as an ethical jeweller and have tried my best to live up to that in my jewellery practice by giving clients the option to buy ethical materials. I have used fair trade gold, recycled gold, recycled silver and buy the most ethical gemstones I can find as much as possible.

But ultimately I can’t offer ethically sourced materials that I can’t find or that are too expensive for my customers. And if these materials are going to be more than branding for me they have to be as ethically sourced as they are claimed to be or we can’t rely on the effects of using ethical suppliers to materialise. However, I have no realistic way of verifying the claims to ‘ethicalness’ that a supplier makes, so I must take it on trust.

It’s just not possible to be ‘ethical’ in the sense of what we want this word to mean without the industry, or at least part of it, also being as ethical as we want to be.

I think one of the best vehicles for spreading the impact of the use of ethical supplies is combining our buying power and signposting to others which suppliers we believe are providing the best quality and ethically reliable supplies. As our influence grows and consumer tastes become more ethical, more suppliers would have the incentive to also start selling ethical supplies.

I am very inspired by the changes we’ve seen in the food industry. It was not long ago that to be vegetarian almost meant to not be able to eat at all if you were out. Perhaps there would be one token vegetarian option on the menu. But the industry has responded very robustly to the change in consumer tastes. Now some vegetarian substitutes are indistinguishable from traditional recipes because of the work that has been done on recipes and ingredients. Today, diners of a variety of diets have real options.

If we can build a network or a directory of ethical product and service providers, this could be a very good step in the direction of us being able to be the ethical jewellers we want to be ourselves and then expanding that impact through the industry.

To truly be ethical jewellers we must see our values manifested in the work of others.

Kassandra Lauren Gordon
September 2020

Making Change

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1523290663194{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”697″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” onclick=”custom_link” css=”.vc_custom_1583601941208{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}” link=”https://www.fairluxury.co.uk/featured/ethicalmakingresource/”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Make change by changing the way you make.

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE – we’ll update you as soon as new details are announced.

 

The Incorporation of Goldsmiths 4th Ethical Making Symposium, Change Making will focus on how, through innovative design strategies and alternative sourcing methods, jewellers and makers can design out waste, source ethically and create better brands to make for change.

 

Innovative and thoughtful design and material choice are the cornerstones of ethical making and making to create positive change. Design is where new ideas are born, with the potential to disrupt damaging patterns and enact real change. Material choice can account for up to 95% of a product’s social and environmental impact. Choosing materials that are responsibly sourced, that reduce waste and promote social welfare is critical in the process of making for change. Combining this with innovative design transforms how and why we make, creating a better future of making.

The 2020 Change Making Symposium is open to students, makers and industry professionals and will be hosted by the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in partnership with GSA Sustainability. The symposium talks will address Scotland’s design culture and legacy of ethical making, what sustainable materials are and how they can make positive change, and circular economy design principles.

Tickets can be purchased once the new date is announced.

Speakers and suppliers will include:

  • Dr Stacey Hunter, Design Curator and Producer
  • Kira Kampmann, Marc’Harit Pearls
  • Mary Michel, Ostrero, Circular Economy Research
  • Maira Toledo Rodrigues, Gemstones Brazil
  • Stuart Pool, Nineteen48 Gemstones
  • Betts Metals
  • Fairtrade
  • Fairmined

And more to be announced!

After a morning of engaging talks from makers, suppliers and researchers, there will be an ethical supplier fair in the afternoon for attendees to talk to suppliers and learn more about ethically sourced materials, followed by a drinks reception.

We will then be screening The Shadow of Gold, a new documentary examining the global gold trade, the second screening as part of the film’s UK premiere followed by a Q&A session.

 

Attendees may also register for a workshop in the afternoon (tickets are first come first serve and sold separately).
Scotland-based maker Jo Pudelko will be leading a practical jewellery workshop in which attendees will be reconstructing pre-owned jewellery into new pieces.

 

The Incorporation of Goldsmiths is committed to helping makers on their journey towards ethical making and do this through their annual Symposiums, a range of grants, the Ethical Making Resource and the Ethical Making Pledge with the Scottish Art Colleges. The Ethical Making Resource has been created by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh, which trades as the Edinburgh Assay Office, and is Scotland’s oldest consumer protection group. They have hundreds of years of experience in third-party, independent assessment and are now applying that experience to one of the most important issues in the industry today: making ethically and sustainably in a global world.

 

For more updates on the symposium and the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, follow @incorporationofgoldsmiths on Instagram and subscribe to their newsletter at www.incorporationofgoldsmiths.org. Head to www.ethicalmaking.org to learn more about the Ethical Making Resource.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ethical Making Resource

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1523290663194{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”226″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” onclick=”custom_link” css=”.vc_custom_1576436938271{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}” link=”https://www.fairluxury.co.uk/featured/ethicalmakingresource/”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]The Ethical Making Resource  is the go-to website for pretty much everything you need to know about responsible and ethical practice, sustainability and sourcing in the world of jewellery and silversmithing. It is packed with information for anyone wanting to follow more ethical practices in their business – from sourcing materials and avoiding waste to greener workshop practice and more

The launch of the site was the culmination of a labour of love for the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, pioneers of ethical practice Ute Decker and Greg Valerio and fount of materials knowledge Dr Peter Oakley. As well as being a marvellous resource we like to think it also celebrates the spirit of collaboration and openness that makes this movement special.

For more about the Incorporation of Goldsmiths visit http://www.incorporationofgoldsmiths.org/

For the ethical making resource www.ethicalmaking.org[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Making Impact Conference

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Thank you for the wonderful Fair Luxury Making Impact Conference”

“I had a really great day and left feeling inspired by all the amazing speakers and buzzing with energy!”

Just two responses to Making Impact – our 2019 conference with the Incorporation of Goldsmiths in Edinburgh which took place at Edinburgh College of Art on 3rd April.

A broad audience, including jewellers and silversmiths, gemstone dealers and mining experts, students and academics amongst others, explored how the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relate to jewellery and metalwork practice in the UK and in our industry globally. More and more businesses are using the SDGs to help them prioritise and communicate areas for social, environmental and economic impact and we looked at how they can become a set of tools to enable us to make a positive impact in our field and in our practice.

 

Speakers and subject included:

Keynote speaker – Emily Auckland from the UK Stake Holders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD)
UKSSD is a cross-sector network of organisations who work together to drive action on the UN sustainable development goals in the UK. Emily introduced the SDGs and talked about how they can be used by individuals, organisations and globally to effect change.

Vivienne Low from Fashion Revolution Scotland reported on the ongoing Fashion Revolution campaign and highlighted ways in which we can question and change our outlook and lifestyle and join the campaign in order to improve the lives of others.

Simon Forrester introduced the National Association of Jewellers Better Business Pathway and talked about their other work and member resources.

Stuart Pool presented the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) and PACT Tanzania Project, helping artisanal women miners in Tanzania build better livelihoods.

Dr Sandra Wilson – Urban Gold Rush: Recovering precious metals from electronic waste.

Hannah Bedford and Stefanie Cheong talked about Ethical Jewellery in Practice.

Jennifer Gray from Edinburgh College of Art and the Student Ambassadors brought updates on progress in the Scottish Art colleges following the signing of the Ethical Making Pledge and talked about new independent initiatives they are taking, plus exciting news about the proposed introduction of an ethics course which goes beyond the jewellery and silversmithing departments.
For more about the Ethical Making Programme click here 

You can see and download the full event programme here

Special thanks to the Incorporation of Goldsmiths and Edinburgh College of Art for working with us to host and create this inspiring and energising event.

If you would like to be kept informed of future events please sign up to our mailing list and we’ll let you know of our news and upcoming events[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1526566852539{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][rev_slider alias=”making-impact-2019″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Perspectives Exhibition

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1526566852539{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][rev_slider alias=”perspectives-at-elements”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Edinburgh’s annual jewellery event, the Elements Festival, takes place this weekend from 19th to 21st October and we’re delighted to have co-curated the festival exhibition with the Incorporation of Goldsmiths.

Entitled Perspectives – Creating Jewellery for a Fairer Future, the exhibition features work from more than 30 makers, from high-end to high-street, from avant-garde to classic design. Take a journey with us and discover some amazing pieces while exploring the broad range of ethical choices and considerations for jewellery buyers and makers.

Exhibitors include Ute Decker, Wright & Teague, Made, Dorothy Hogg and the Fair Luxury team.

Ths is a must-visit event for all jewellery lovers!

19th – 21st October
11am to 6pm
Lyon & Turnbull
Broughton Place
Edinburgh EH1 3RR

For more about the events and full details visit the Elements Festival website

 

images:
Sandra Wilson – Purest Green Bowl / Amanda Li Hope – Commission in progress /
Arabel Lebrusan – Victoriana bangle / Cox & Power – Arena Ring
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Fair Luxury at the RCA

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Fair Luxury at the RCA” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1526915320210{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eventbrite.co.uk%2Fe%2Ffair-luxury-at-the-rca-tickets-45681422364|title:book%20now|target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”381″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1527344940584{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]At Fair Luxury at the RCA 2018 we heard about and discussed some of the opportunities, issues and challenges around ethical sourcing.

The day included presentations from some of the key figures in the field of responsible sourcing and practice with some fresh approaches and new names including practising jewellers, representatives of certification programmes, gem traders, consultants and researchers working on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). If you want to be the first to know about future events please sign up to our mailing list.

 

DATE AND TIME

Wednesday 11th July 2018, 9:30 – 17:30

 

LOCATION

Royal College of Art
Jay Mews Entrance, Darwin Building
Kensington Gore
London
SW7 2EU

 

Subjects and speakers will include:

The Fairmined Certification Programme
Yves Bertan and Kenneth Porter from the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM)

Mining in Sri Lanka
Stuart Pool (Nineteen 48 Gemstones)

Being a Licensee Jeweller: Ideals and Practicalities
Susi Smither (The Rock Hound), Tim Ingle (Ingle & Rhode), Naqiyah Sultan (Kashka), Peter Crump (Vipa Designs)

“Make It Happen” with Fairmined Gold
Martin Taber (Ethical Metalsmiths)

The Ethical Making Resource
Mary Michel and Emily Macdonald (Incorporation of Goldsmiths)

Diamond Supply Chains
Gavin Hilson (University of Surrey)

Discussion and Wrap-up event, drawing on the days themes
Estelle Levin-Nally (Levin Sources)

Click here for event details and directions

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Make the #ProvenancePledge

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1526566852539{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][rev_slider alias=”provenancepledge” order=”39,40,41,42″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]We’d love you to be part of our growing community of ethically minded jewellers. Join our campaign and make a pledge to find out more about where your jewellery and materials come from and be part of a changing jewellery industry.

We launched the #ProvenancePledge during Fashion Revolution Week 2018 to encourage people to make a commitment to responsible sourcing, seek transparency in the supply chain and learn the provenance of materials. You can take the #ProvenancePledge as a very first step or to mark a new commitment in your ethical journey.

Your particular pledge will be unique to you – but will show that you have made a promise to be part of the change.

It may be a decision to start using certified precious metal or to making a percentage of your work from certified gold; asking all your suppliers where their material comes from and what they know about working conditions of those who produced it; telling your customers what you know about the materials you work with – and these are just for starters.

Share your pledge on your channels to demonstrate your commitment to Fair Luxury using the hashtags #FairLuxury  #ProvenancePledge and tag us @fairluxuk so we can be sure to find you and share your good news!

We’re here to help – just get in touch. Sign up to our mailing list and join our social media community to be the first to know about our news and events. You can also find lots of practical information about ethical jewellery practice at the new ethical making resource http://www.ethicalmaking.org/[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

It’s In Our Hands

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” css=”.vc_custom_1523290663194{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”226″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1523276294906{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]It’s In Our Hands, the second Ethical Making Symposium in Edinburgh on 28th March 2018 was a ground-breaking day marking two massive achievements

The Ethical Making Resource  www.ethicalmaking.org

The Ethical Making Pledge

The Ethical Making Resource is the new go-to website for pretty much everything you need to know about responsible and ethical practice, sustainability and sourcing in the world of jewellery and silversmithing. It is packed with information for anyone wanting to follow more ethical practices in their business.

The launch is the culmination of a labour of love for the team at the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, pioneers of ethical practice Ute Decker and Greg Valerio and fount of materials knowledge Dr Peter Oakley. As well as being a marvellous resource we like to think it also celebrates the spirit of collaboration and openness that makes this movement special.

As if this were not significant enough, the day was preceded with a press call to witness the signing of the Ethical Making Pledge by each of the Scottish Art Colleges running jewellery and silversmithing courses at HND level and higher.

The Ethical Making Pledge is an initiative created by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths in collaboration with the Scottish art colleges with the purpose of embedding ethical making practices into higher education in Scotland. The colleges have committed to move towards the use of ethically sourced precious metals in their workshops; include ethical theory and practice in their curriculums and in workshop practices and to nominate student ambassadors to take part in ethical making information sessions organised and led by the Incorporation.

And all this before the symposium got underway!

From Greg Valerio’s passionate and inspiring keynote introduction to the closing words, the event was packed with useful information on ethical making from a broad range of speakers – including our own Jane Barnett – alongside real-life experience from makers at different stages of their journeys in responsible practice.

The day was a resounding success, clearly demonstrated by the lively and animated conversations during the open networking session that concluded the proceedings.

Massive congratulations and appreciation to Mary Michel at the Incorporation of Goldsmiths whose passion and drive has made all of this happen, along with Emily Macdonald and the team.

For more about the amazing work going on in Scotland go to the Incorporation of Goldsmiths site at
http://www.incorporationofgoldsmiths.org/

For the ethical making resource
www.ethicalmaking.org[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]