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Fairtrade Foundation Allows Small Jewellers to Use Fairtrade Precious Metals

The Fairtrade Foundation, the entity which regulates the use of Fairtrade precious metals in the United Kingdom, has recently opened a registration scheme which will allow small-scale jewellers to buy Fairtrade gold and silver in smaller quantities.

Dubbed the Goldsmiths’ Registration Scheme, this initiative was launched after the Fairtrade Foundation recognised that small, independent jewellers, artisans and goldsmiths had the power to collectively shape the UK’s market for Fairtrade precious metals . The Foundation has called this broadening of the terms for purchasing Fairtrade gold and silver the “single most important development in ethical sourcing in the UK since the launch of Fairtrade gold, in 2011”.

In order to be eligible for this scheme, jewellers and jewellery designers must agree to a series of terms and conditions set by the Foundation in order to limit its scope. Signees for the Goldsmiths’ Registration Scheme are, for instance, restricted to ordering 500g of gold or platinum per year, with the limit for silver sitting at a slightly higher 2kg. Similarly, pieces produced from these purchased quantities may not be stamped with the Fairtrade stamp, and can only be promoted through certain pre-determined and pre-approved marketing materials. These restrictions will be lifted should the artisans in question decide to become full Fairtrade license holders.

Fairtrade, or ethically sourced, gold, silver and platinum have been rapidly gaining in popularity both among the jewellery-buying public and designers themselves. The positive moral and ethical practices associated with these precious metals mean that both designers and buyers can contribute to the livelihood of third-world prospectors while also purchasing environmentally-sound materials which can be sold for a price only marginally higher than that of non-Fairtrade metals.

Jewellers interested in signing up for the Goldsmiths’ Registration Scheme can do so online on the Fairtrade Foundation’s website. Registration for this initiative is entirely free.

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