To understand the importance of Fairmined gold we need to start from the beginning. Until 2013, Fairmined gold wasn’t offered in the United States, this meant if U.S. jewelers wanted to be ethically or environmentally conscious, their only choice of metals was recycled gold or silver.
But in 2013, that changed when East Fourth Street Jewelry stumbled upon a grassroots organization called Ethical Metalsmiths and quickly began a partnership with them. We formed an Ethical Sourcing Coalition working with a U.S. based precious metals refinery to bring in just one kilo of raw gold into the U.S. that was then refined into our first batch of 18kt yellow Fairmined gold. We had to put money up front and hope that our Fairmined gold would make it to the U.S. It took almost a year, but waiting for the new process to iron out its kinks was well worth it.
In order to make this happen, we first had to become licensed with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in Colombia. ARM is the organization that works with artisanal mines on the ground (literally) to help them become certified as Fairmined mines.
It makes us pretty proud to say that by doing so, our company was one of 23 early adopters who successfully brought Fairmined gold to the U.S. for the first time in history.
What IS Fairmined Gold?
Fairmined is a globally recognized certification assurance for gold and silver, mined from empowered, responsible, small –scale and artisanal mining communities around our world. It creates positive change in precious metal mining by implementing and supporting social development and environmental protection for the miners and their communities. These factors are some of the many reasons why it was so important for us at East Fourth Street to become a licensed Fairmined jewelry brand.
The Fairmined label is backed by a 3rd party certification system that rigorously ensures that artisanal small scale mining communities are meeting the standards set forth for safe and responsible practices. The extra monetary premium that is collected for Fairmined gold is paid directly to the mining communities who use it to improve the mining working conditions and social development for their local communities. In order to maintain certification, the Fairmined organization has routine assessments to verify if miners are consistent with their social improvement and other components of the certification.
Currently there are now 10 different certified mines in four different countries including Mongolia, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia which is pretty awesome considering that when East Fourth Street was a first adopter, ARM only had one mine in Peru.
“Gold To Be Proud Of”
One of ARM’s taglines is “Gold to Be Proud Of” — which is a pretty powerful statement considering artisanal and small-scale mining is very environmentally and ethically detrimental. To be able to change that process to something we can be proud of is really quite remarkable.
In the five years since East Fourth Street joined ARM in the successful force of change, the number of jewelers licensed to sell Fairmined gold in the U.S. has grown form 23 to 36 — we wish there were more. But what can consumers do to help? It’s simple: when you shop for gold jewelry, ask your jeweler for Fairmined gold — gold that you can be proud of wearing.
“I'm proud of being a Fairmined Licensee working with Fairmined gold, because all jewelry should have a clean, beautiful story that speaks of solidarity and global support”. Susan Crow, East Fourth Street Jewelry.