It’s no secret that we like to have fun here at Adorn HQ, and who wouldn’t enjoy their work when it involves days filled with beautiful jewels? But as with all consumer sectors, the jewellery industry is not without its challenges, and that’s something we take very seriously too.
Take, for instance, the issue of artisanal gold mining. Around 100 million people are involved in or rely on this activity to support themselves and their families, yet globally their efforts produce just 15% of the gold mined each year. Sobering figures when you consider these rough hunks of rock are transformed into something sparkling, beautiful and worth a pretty penny. But there is a movement to better support these miners, their families and communities – Fairtrade gold.
So to mark the fact it’s Fairtrade Fortnight, today we’re showcasing the brightest, most innovative British jewellery designers using the Fairtrade precious metals produced by these artisanal miners, supporting their families and wider communities in Peru, Colombia and East Africa.
A Fairtrade jeweller for more than five years, Annaloucah has evolved her style into edgy, geometric jewellery for today’s modern men and women. Having dressed Livia Firth for her inaugural Green Carpet Challenge in her Fairtrade gold creations (and raising more than £80,000 for Oxfam in the process) Annaloucah’s jewellery utilises yellow, white and rose Fairtrade gold to maximum effect. Her princess cut and round brilliant-cut bridal tri-set, which interlocks to create a unified statement ring, is innovative yet elegant – summing up the Annaloucah style perfectly.
Designer Marie Walshe – aka Sorrel Bay – has stolen our hearts with her unique jewellery designs that merge subtly hammered 18ct Fairtrade gold with boulder opals, rough cut diamonds (pictured top) and the soft hue of green chrysoprase. Among beautifully cut oval and pear-shaped opals are irregular yet equally alluring slices of natural diamonds, shimmering almost metallic in hues of grey, cognac and rose pink. Our favourite? The little Opal Eye pendant is on our wishlist, but first we’d take a fistful of her stackable opal rings.
The original retailer specialising in Fairtrade and ethical jewellery in the UK, Cred Jewellery has evolved into a jewellery brand in its own right, creating wearable collections in Fairtrade gold and silver set with ethically-sourced gemstones from Brazil, the US and Canada. Travelling regularly to Fairtrade mines, the team at Cred meet with the miners themselves, and work with local artisans in Peru to produce their silver jewellery collections. We love the recently launched Iconic range – with jewels named after the likes of Jackie Onassis and Sophia Loren – as well as its charm collection Signature, featuring enamelled scarab beetles, butterfly and key charms. From £49, Fairtrade never felt so good.
We’ve long been fans of Hattie Rickard‘s distinctly geometric fine jewellery, so the fact she’s a champion of Fairtrade gold just makes her even more of a darling in our eyes. Hattie launched her Octo and multi-coloured sapphire collections a few years back, but arguably they’re as trendsetting as ever; baguette cuts are big on our radar this year, and rainbow gems aren’t going anywhere fast. Hattie’s bespoke creations combine Fairtrade gold with stones of all shapes and sizes, often working with clients’ own gems to make the pieces all the more special. But who could resist the rose cut diamonds captured in Fairtrade gold, like Hettie’s rings below? Certainly not us.
Alexis Dove has added a fresh facet to her brilliant bridal and fine jewellery, launching her first Fairtrade designs this month. Based in the irrepressibly quirky town of Lewes, Sussex, Alexis has built a cult following for her playful nature-inspired jewellery. But when it comes to something a little more serious, there is nothing better (and let’s be honest, more fun) than sitting down with Alexis to go through her outstanding collection of unusual diamonds and gemstones. Choose your perfect match and let Alexis handcraft your dream piece of jewellery in Fairtrade gold.
Last but by no means least, award-winning Surrey jeweller Jon Dibben has been a hero of Fairtrade gold hero since the precious metal first launched in the UK on Valentine’s Day 2011 – he was one of the first 20 designers and retailers given a license to use the metal, alongside the likes of EC One and Stephen Webster. In the five years since, he has developed a signature style of sweeping, plant-like pendants, earrings and rings set with rich, fine gemstones. Believe us, if you want an sea blue sapphire or berry red tourmaline like no other, Jon is your man.
Words: Kathryn Bishop
Images: Alexis Dove, Annaloucah, Cred Jewellery, Hattie Rickards, Jon Dibben, Twitter, Facebook