WHY I MADE A FAIRMINDED GOLD JEWELRY COLLECTION
by Bliss Lau·
Why choose Fairmined Gold?
What is the difference between this and Recycled gold? What is better? Why should we care? I launched our Fairmined Gold collection in 2022 because we care.
Nearly ten years ago, I pledged to support people and the planet with our choices at Bliss Lau. What does that mean? How do we get there? Were we not doing that before? The answers are complicated, and the solutions are exciting.
One could argue that the jewelry industry is the original circular economy. We have been regenerating gold and diamonds, gemstones and jewels since the earliest days of jewelry. Melting down our gold to make new pieces and passing that jewelry down through generations.
The current industry standard is to recycle some of the gold waste from the casting process and use pure-refined gold for most of the casting. In many cases, this is 50% recycled and 50% new. This practice sounds excellent, yet it erases a critical piece of the responsibly sourced puzzle. Mining.
40 Million people on the planet are supported by mining.
Gold mining accounts for 10-15 Million of those people. Most gold mining is done by individual Artisanal Small-Scale miners (ASMs) who mine with axes, pans, water, and basic tools. Often these are informal jobs and are therefore done without safety protocols. For example, it is common to utilize mercury to capture gold. An estimated 35% of the world's mercury emissions are from these mining operations, polluting our streams and threatening our bodies, particularly women's bodies and the reproductive process. At Bliss Lau, we support initiatives that help formalize these operations and provide health and safety to the workers and the environment.
How do we do it? Fairmined Gold.
The fine jewelry industry is known for being highly fractionalized, which is excellent for small businesses but not as good for obtaining transparency. Due to the limited number of certified mines and suppliers worldwide, Fairmined gold represents less than 1% of global gold production. Additionally, the selection of mill products and findings available in Fairmined gold is still restricted compared to conventional and recycled gold. All this to say, achieving the transparency I strive for is not so easy.
Fairmined gold is gold with a responsible origin. Mined using responsible, legitimate mining practices that follow the idea of being 'extracted in harmony with nature, human dignity and sustainable development, contributing to the transformation of lives in mining communities.
Our Fairmined Gold Collection becomes a reality.
This year, my vision to create a collection made with certified fairmined gold and certified SCS lab diamonds became a reality. The journey to complete this collection was challenging, but the result was worth it. We started by finding a Fairmined Gold-certified manufacturer that met the highest legal compliance standards, labor practices, and environmental responsibility standards. Finding a production partner capable of handling our designs was a "needle in a haystack" process due to their complexity and our Fairmined certification requirements. We did, however, find one company, Thai Design. Our transparency review taught us that Thai Design was a second-generation woman-owned business. They had gone through the Fairmined certification process but had never created a Fairmined gold collection because most brands shy away from the price premium paid for this gold. The desire to impact the industry created a strong connection between the two companies eager to make our Fairmined gold collection a reality.
A journey through transparent sourcing
Together with Thai Design, we sourced the certified Fairmined gold that would be used for our entire production. Fairmined-certified mining organizations comply with strict requirements that promote worker safety, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. Knowing where your gold comes from, you can connect directly to the miners who extracted it and their community.
We also had to source suitable SCS-certified lab diamonds and enough of them, this took time and effort, even requiring us to hire armored transportation cars. After months of action, we were able to make the collection come to life. We are excited to share this story with you and hope it will help you appreciate the importance of this endeavor.
Our goal at Bliss Lau is to knowingly support communities and people along the path of our supply chain in respectful ways to the people and the planet. We want to help women, support biodiversity, and support craft, skill, and kindness.