An Urgent Appeal For Your Support To Save The Fairtrade Gold Brand

September 24th, 2012
Posted in Fairtrade, Fairtrade and Fairmined, Gold, Mass Balancing, Studio Practices, Take Action


Dear Jewelers, Metalsmiths and Concerned Citizens,

We need your help.

The Alliance for Responsible Mining and Fairtrade International have put forth proposed standards that call for selling Fairtrade and Fairmined gold that is mixed with gold coming from other “responsible” sources.  You can review the proposal on pages 86 to 89 via this link.

In sum, the document calls for gold that is Fairtrade and Fairmined to be “mass balanced” or in the words of the consultation paper ‘diluted’ with other gold from “responsible” sources. The gold in jewelry products would be only 85% traceable to a Fairtrade mine. The proposal also creates two new product categories. “Made with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold” would be 50% from certified mines, and “contains Fairtrade and Fairmined gold,” which would be at least 10% certified fine gold content.

At Fair Jewelry Action and Ethical Metalsmiths, we see Fairtrade gold, the most precious gold in the world, as a transformational product.  The power of this gold lies in its story, and its purity.

If you agree with our views, sign the letter below by emailing us with your name, affiliation (business, organization, independent) and country  by September, 26 at We will add your name and information to the open letter. The official ARM/FLO comment period ends on Oct. 7, 2012 and we will compile your signatures and forward the letter by the deadline.

Thank you for your help.

Christina Miller, Ethical Metalsmiths
Marc Choyt, Fair Jewelry Action, USA
Greg Valerio, Fair Jewellery Action, UK

PS: If you are interested, read Marc’s editorial response to the response to our first letters from ARM and the Responsible Jewellery Council.


An Open Letter to The Alliance For Responsible Mining and Fairtrade International

Dear Alliance For Responsible Mining and Fairtrade International,

As jewelers and other members of civil society, we strongly oppose one aspect of the current proposed standards, which changes the product composition component to allow mass balancing or dilution to take place. These proposed changes to the standard are described in Section 6, put forth July 2012, in the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard for Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Document.

The proposed standard to mix Fairtrade and Fairmined gold with other gold will severely damage the FT&FM gold brand and create confusion in the marketplace.  It will also undermine the confidence in the product.   We are also concerned with how the mass balancing might negatively impact the FT&FM brand as it develops not only with gold, but with other mined products emerging into the market.  As jewelers, who deal with customers every day of the week, we understand the market better than anyone else.  At this juncture, we urge in the strongest possible terms that Fairtrade gold be kept pure.

We urge ARM and FLO to direct more efforts toward supporting jewelers and strengthening a consumer campaign to build on the great success in the existing market.  The certified FT&FM Sotrami miners in Peru received £75,000 ($120,00 USD) of premium from gold purchases by jewelers in 2011 alone.  Our greatest continued success will only be achieved if we all work united, in a concerted effort to support FT&FM small scale miners to bring pure, traceable Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to a vibrant market.


Country of Origin



  • September 24th, 2012 at 5:37 pm by Dan Morris

    Unable to “sign” the document above. (I work on a Mac). But i certainly support this effort. I approve you signing my name and company and country of origin: Dan Morris, Lancaster Newspapers, U.S.A. Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  • September 24th, 2012 at 5:38 pm by Fran Grinels

    As a jewelry designer and buyer I strongly oppose one aspect of the current proposed standards, which changes the product composition component to allow mass balancing or dilution to take place.
    Fran Grinels

  • September 24th, 2012 at 5:43 pm by Wendy Walsh

    I think the new proposal would be misleading to consumers and jewelers, alike. Please leave the Fairtrade and Fairmined designations as they are.

  • September 24th, 2012 at 5:48 pm by L. Eugene nelson

    Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold needs to be kept separate from all other gold mined sources inorder to keep the integrity of the Fairtrade project.

  • September 24th, 2012 at 5:50 pm by Abby Mattison

    I am an independent jeweler interested in Fairtrade/Fairmined products and their truth. I don’t see the point if they get mixed with other sources that have no/low standards for the workers or the environment.

  • September 24th, 2012 at 6:09 pm by Susie Ganch

    To whom it may concern,
    As a jeweler, I want to know where my materials come from in order to make informed choices about the gold I use to make my work. Maintaining 100% traceability back to certified Fairtrade Fairmined sites is the ONLY way to make choices that reflect my values and those of my customers. By creating a “mass balanced” product, and gold that contains only 50% material from certified mines, or offering gold that has “at least” 10% certified fine gold content, ARM and FLO are diluting our goals to create a truly transparent chain of custody while supporting small mining communities. I am joining with others to urge ARM and FLO to reconsider the standards put forth thus far that offer a mixed product.


    Susie Ganch
    Director Radical Jewelry Makeover
    Associate Professor/Head of Metal Program
    Department of Craft/Material Studies
    School of the Arts
    Virginia Commonwealth University

  • September 24th, 2012 at 8:30 pm by Elyse Demaray

    Please do not jeopardize the integrity of FT & FM gold by mixing it with other gold. This is very important to our trade and our own ability to maintain the quality of gold we want to offer our custormers.
    Elyse Demaray
    Demaray Designs Jewelry

  • September 24th, 2012 at 9:14 pm by noel aronov

    let’s have accountability

  • September 24th, 2012 at 10:12 pm by Sarabeth Carnat

    True accountability is the only real standard. Dilution or balancing minimizes accountability.
    Workers in our industry have the right to the safest possible methods of extraction.
    Let us not “pretend” to be accountable. Smoke & mirrors are just that.

  • September 25th, 2012 at 11:49 am by Robin Halpin

    Unable to sign the letter for pc only?

    I strongly support 100% fair trade / fair mined gold. Transparency is needed to allow customers to choose sourced gold they can wear with integrity and pride instead of wondering about the mines used to create the gold. It is time the small artisanal mines with safe practices become viable alternatives to open pit mining.

    Robin Halpin
    RxRox Jewelry

  • September 25th, 2012 at 11:53 am by Ana Aguilar

    I agree to sign this petition, Ana Aguilar, independent jeweler, USA. thank you.

  • September 25th, 2012 at 12:19 pm by Jennifer Cross Gans

    Complete accountability is particularly important for jewelers who work in gold and their publics.

  • September 25th, 2012 at 12:39 pm by Lindsay Minihan, Metalwerx Inc.

    As we are committed to the best education for metalsmithing students at our nonprofit school, we wholeheartedly support ethical practices of bringing fairtraded and fairmined gold to the market.

  • September 27th, 2012 at 3:24 am by Belinda Norrington

    As a jeweller sincerely hoping to work with fair mined and fairly traded gold in the future, I am opposed to its dilution with differently sourced metal – I believe it would create an entirely confusing product.

  • September 30th, 2012 at 8:59 pm by Susan McCauley

    Sorry I didn’t get to this before. If possible, please add my name to the letter.
    Thank you for the dedicated work you are doing on this issue.
    Susan McCauley
    Susan McCauley

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