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All about Fairmined™ Gold

Karin Jacobson

You may have noticed that some of my gold collection is labeled “Fairmined™ gold”, and perhaps have wondered what, exactly, does that mean? Well, let me explain a little bit about what Fairmined gold is and why I’ve started using it.

What is Fairmined gold?

The Fairmined standard was developed by an international non-profit called The Alliance for Responsible Mining. Their Fairmined™ initiative was created in 2007 as part of the Sustainable Mines Program, and promotes mining as a way to create growth for small, independent miners and to extract gold in a way that doesn’t damage the environment or have negative impacts on miners’ health.

The Fairmined website explains the mission well, saying “Fairmined certified gold comes from artisanal and small-scale mining organizations certified to the Fairmined standard. This certification guarantees that the gold has been extracted in harmony with nature, human dignity and sustainable development, contributing to the transformation of lives in these mining communities.”

In order to work with Fairmined gold, I became Fairmined Certified, which means that all of the Fairmined gold that I use is kept strictly separate from any other gold that I might use in the studio, and is carefully tracked from the certified suppliers where I purchase it, all of the way through the process of making each Fairmined gold piece of jewelry.

Is Fairmined gold more expensive?

Yes - it is - and in this case, that’s a good thing! There is a premium on Fairmined Gold of USD 4 per gram of gold which goes towards improving mining activity; carrying out projects in favor of human rights, gender equality; and environmental projects. The goal is to provide well paid and safe jobs for miners, and help develop the local communities as well.

Is every piece of my jewelry made with Fairmined gold?

I’m not yet making all of my gold jewelry using Fairmined gold, but instead incorporating it gradually into the collection. This is in part because the Fairmined premium makes these pieces a little bit more expensive than the rest of the collection, and in part because there are some forms of the gold that I need which are not yet available in Fairmined gold (for example - I use gold tubing but can’t yet source it in Fairmined gold).

If you’d like to shop the Fairmined Gold Collection, you’ll find it here! In keeping with the higher standards of the Fairmined gold itself, I’m also using my most ethically sourced gemstones in this collection. These include internationally sourced gems that are traceable from the mine, to the cutter, and all of the way to me (my favorite source for these is Columbia Gem House); domestically sourced gems such as Montana agate and sapphire, or California tourmaline; and gems cut by individual gem cutters who I know personally and who purchase directly from independent miners who mine the material themselves. I also exclusively use post-consumer recycled diamonds! These pieces have the highest level of transparency and traceability I can offer. 

photo of four colored gemstone solitaires in fairmined 18k yellow gold - the top two are pink tourmaline, the bottom two are blue and green sapphire

This little summary just skims the surface of the information available about Fairmined gold - if you’d like to do a deeper dive and understand more about their protocols, and how they audit and certify miners, suppliers, and designers, visit their website here:

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