Presentation about Fair Gold and Fairmined Gold at Skrein


Diamond and fair gold ring by Skrein

Being able to wear beautiful jewellery pieces, knowing that not only has their production not harmed the environment but also, it has helped improve the lives of underprivileged people in poor communities, now that is what I call pure luxury!

 I was invited to a presentation about Fairmined Gold at the jewellery shop Skrein in Vienna; the guest speaker was mining engineer and co-founder of ARM, Alliance for Responsible Mining, the Austrian Dr Felix Hruschka. 

Dr Hrushka talked about Fair Gold and Fairmined Gold, taking us closer to the lives of small-scale miners in Latin America and explaining what his ARM association has done since 2004, to help the small mining communities to work in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. It is a fascinating topic for people interested in the environment, sustainability and the future of the jewellery industry, but also for anyone who likes to wear jewellery (is there anyone who doesn't?) and do good.

What is Fair and Responsible Gold?

Fair Gold is the gold of the future because it doesn't cause massive environmental damages nor violates human rights like the big mines used to do in the past and some, unfortunately, still do. Fair gold can come from recycled gold from private jewellery, gold that is already in circulation and does not put any more strain on the environment.
 It can also come from certified gold extracted from mines that meet the high standards of working and environmental conditions set by ARM. In Austria, for example, the most important gold supplier in the country, Ögussa, supplies Fair Gold that they recycle for jewellers.

Galathea bracelet by Skrein

What is Fairmined Gold?

Fairmined Gold is a label that certifies gold as being sourced from responsibly managed and empowered community miners. This gold is mined by small-scale artisanal miners who have to meet a set of criteria such as no child labour, decent working conditions, environmental protection that minimizes the ecological footprint of mining, and, where possible, restoring or replacing biodiversity, and also focusing on social development that promotes the wellbeing in their communities.

Why use certified Fairmined Gold

When you buy jewellery with certified Fairmined gold, you're helping the miners and their families directly. Groups of small-scale miners, mainly in Latin America, set up a formal and legal association run by themselves; which empowers them and guarantees that they get a fair payment. The miners also receive an additional premium of 4US$ per gram of gold that must be used in social development projects in their communities such as schools for the children and hospitals.

What is the real impact of Fairmined Gold?

In two years, the small-scale miners' associations have received more than 3.6 million US$ in Premium. There are already ten associations with the Fairmine certification in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Mongolia. More than 200 jewellers around the world work with certified fairmined gold. The sales of fairmined gold duplicated within one year, reaching in 2018, a total of 361,5 kg of gold sold.

The Swiss jewellery house Chopard works towards sustainable luxury and since July 2018, has used 100% Fairmined Gold in its jewellery and watches production. In the past years, trophies such as the Nobel Prize, the Palme d'Or award of Cannes Film Festival and the Olympic Laurel were made in Fairmined Gold.

In Austria, the pioneer was the jeweller Alexander Skrein, who's used only Fair Gold and Fairmined Gold for the past five years in all his jewellery production, and who is also the chairman of the AFRG, Association for Fair and Responsible Gold, which he launched to counteract the inhumane working conditions in most gold mines around the world, and to ensure that, initially in Austria, jewellers use only Fair Gold. 

Gold and diamond rings by Skrein

Fairmined Ecological Gold

Taking things one step further, the Fairmined Ecological Gold follows the same strict criteria as Fairmined Gold but with one difference; fairmined gold is produced with reduction of toxic chemicals that traditional mining uses, such as mercury and cyanide, whereas miners producing Fairmined Ecological Gold do not use any toxic chemicals in their extraction processes. The premium for the miners who produce green gold is US$ 6 per gram, which is an excellent incentive for the other mining organisations to invest their premium in cleaner technologies that eliminate the need to use toxic chemicals. 

Fairmined initiative transforms gold mining into a source for good and allows us to wear jewellery we can be proud of, so next time you want to spoil yourself with some new jewellery piece, choose one in Fairmined Gold; this way you can help make the world a more beautiful and better place.

Christine Schönburg