There is little that can speak to one’s personality than a piece of well-loved jewelry. It holds their style and what they want to show the world. It can set an outfit on a new level or bring it down miserably. Especially gold. Gold is glamor and wealth, tradition and history, often passed down through generations. It is the life savings for a villager’s daughter’s wedding and sits atop the heads of royalty.
In the Indian culture, gold may seem abundant and ostentatious, in some cases in certainly is. However, it started off as a personal savings account. When women were not allowed to have their own accounts or employment, they could sell their gold jewelry in order to survive in case anything happend to their husbands and families. Even today, it’s a way to keep money for those with no access to a bank.
Did you know it can also be deadly?
Have you ever thought about where jewelers get their gold? Where your wedding band or hoop earrings came from? If you worry about pesticides on produce, chemicals in laundry detergent, what chickens are eating before making your breakfast with eggs, why shouldn’t you ask where your soon-to-be family heirloom, your symbol of commitment, comes from?
The market price for gold is currently $1500-$1600 per troy ounce, one of the highest prices ever. While the price is wonderful for those selling gold, it means those wanting to be sellers pay by endangering their lives in treacherous mines and handling chemicals such as mercury. These miners are often children in the least developed countries in the world, missing out on the joy of childhood and an education to dig and panhandle. Miners are often paid a pittance for gold that goes into high-end pieces selling for thousands.
The fair trade gold movement is taking hold as a result in order to improve social and environmental conditions for millions of small and artisanal gold miners. Some goals of organizations and jewelers participating in the movement are to improve and use environmentally sustainable mining methods, pollution reduction, maintaining a chain of custody for the gold so the miners will earn fair wages, reinvesting money back in to the mining communities. Of course, it begins with recruiting more gold supply chain participants to employ fair trade practices.
An amazing and shocking piece aired on NBC’s Rock Center regarding gold mining. (Restless Rani is actually a big fan of the show and correspondents!):
If you are interested in buying fair trade gold here are some sites that will help you get started. The easiest thing to do while picking out your statement piece and investment is to just ask your jeweler where they are getting their gold.