Emergence Of Fair Trade Jewelry - By Marc Choyt

Marc Choyt is Founding Director of Fair Jewelry Action USA, http://www.fairjewelry.org, an environmental justice and human rights organization.
Jun 3, 2011 9:27 AM ET

Emergence Of Fair Trade Jewelry

Jewelry, perhaps more than any other object we own, has tremendous emotional, symbolic and talismanic value.  For this reason alone, fair trade really should be behind any jewelry purchase.  It makes no sense whatsoever that a wedding ring, which represents our most noble sentiments and commitments, may feature a blood diamond mounted on gold that caused twenty tons of toxic mine tailings poisoning some watershed in Peru.

Yet such a ring is being produced and possibly sold in your local jewelry store right now because the supply chain is still greased by environmental and social atrocities.  The sector is totally commodity based and price driven. It is marketed with seductive romance, yet sourced like lumber or oil. 

Today, we are beginning to see viable alternatives.  Many jewelers and activists are working at a grassroots level to create a parallel economy with a different set of values. The economic benefit created through jewelry can help to alleviate poverty and environmental degradation in small scale mining communities throughout the world.

In fact, we are at the early stages of a  beautiful vision for the jewelry world.  The emerging fair trade movement allows those interested in a luxury product to direct significant economic benefit to some of the poorest people in the developing world.  

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