Hi folks, me again 🙂
In my last post, I said I’d revisit the whole thing about nothing ever being truly cheap and how someone has to pay. Whether that’s buying something that falls apart 6 months later and has to be replaced, or cheap fashion that costs the environment, or children working in factories for a pittance so we can buy things cheaper in the West.
Consumerism and advertising have created an obsession in people to have the next big thing, the new car, the bigger house, the latest gadget, or this seasons fashion must have. Things aren’t built to last, because companies don’t want them to last, they want you to throw them away and buy the latest model. They manufacture abroad where it’s cheaper and where profit margins are higher. Goods are mass produced and made of cheap materials like plastic. Who pays? The environment, wildlife, the people working in the factories under poor conditions and the consumer, who gets a poor quality product, albeit a cheap one.
If you’re interested in finding out more about fast fashion and how it affects the environment, check out this piece on Stacey Dooley’s documentary, “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/5a1a43b5-cbae-4a42-8271-48f53b63bd07
Like everything, we have a choice and we can vote with our £’s. I don’t buy much, but when I do, I’d rather buy things that will last. Clothing that I’ll wear and wear and wear. Things made by hand that I’ll perhaps only buy once or twice in my lifetime. We can all have things repaired (a new zip on that coat rather than a new coat), recycle or give things away to someone who can use them, we can upcycle things with a lick of paint, buy furniture at auction (great fun, give it a go), or give the charity shops a whirl.
So how does this all apply to jewellery I hear you ask? I chose to work in recycled and Fairmined metal, even though it’s a bit trickier and more time consuming. Recycled metal doesn’t entail mining and therefore minimises further damage to the environment. Fairmined supports miners in some of the poorest parts of the world, to earn a living, whilst paying them a fair price for their gold and helping them to raise health, safety and environmental standards in their mines.
It does cost a bit more, systems have to be put in place to monitor and audit the process. It’s not the cheapest or quickest way to do things, but for me, worth paying a bit more for.
The norm for a buyer purchasing rough diamonds and gemstones, is to buy from lots of different miners to create parcels of the same quality. They’ll go through the cutting shops and be sold again, before reaching the final gemstone dealer. By the time they get to the jewellers shop, no one really knows where they came from.
The only way to know if your gemstone or diamond is ethical is to know where it comes from and track it all the way from the miner to the consumer. These are known as traceable stones. It’s expensive to track single stones, to monitor conditions in the mines and the cutting shops. It costs money to improve health and safety, to pay decent wages, to safeguard the environment, to only employ adults and to give back to the community in terms of schools, roads, infrastructure or whatever else their needs might be.
When you buy a piece of jewellery that’s sourced in this way, you can choose to have it made in a way that mirrors your own personal beliefs. If you’d like to support artisan miners, working hard to improve life for their community, we can use Fairmined metal. If you’d like to avoid the impact of mining, choose recycled metal and lab created or recycled stones and diamonds. If you’d like to support a mine that’s ethical and sponsors an orphanage in Tanzania, we can do that too.
Beautiful jewellery, with the feel good factor.
What’s most important to you? Let me know in the comments below.