Ethics in Jewellery


I recently went to a 2-day ethics symposium held at Dundee University and hosted by DJCAD. Fairtrade only became a thing in the Jewellery industry around 2011, Greg Valerio had been campaigning and investigating much earlier than that. However, it took the industry a while to catch up, no-one really wanted change. And no-one wanted to admit the horrors involved in the mining industry.



However, here we are in 2017 and what has really changed? Fairtrade gold is now available but very little Fairtrade Silver, No Fairtrade base metals (copper, bronze, zinc, iron, etc.)

As a student, I don’t think I can afford to work in Fairtrade, but I don’t think I can afford not to. Does this mean not working in metal?


At the moment I use only recycled silver but this is not good enough. Most silver out there is ‘recycled’ i.e. comes from scrap, but this does nothing to slow down the mining industry. Most silver comes out of the ground as a by-product on the back of base metal mining.

How do we change people’s attitude to jewellery? How do we change people’s attitude to disposable jewellery/fashion?

Ute Decker was one of the other speakers at the symposium and she made a very good point. She makes Fairtrade because she couldn’t not. However, she freely admits that most of her customers don’t care about Fairtrade.


I would bet most people don’t give a second thought to where their jewellery comes from, or where it goes.


If you get the chance, go listen to them talk.


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