[via Vogue UK]
Filed under: Wine
The world is becoming ever more conscious of fair trade goods and ethically responsible indulgences like gems and jewelry, and Monique Péan is making that effort all the more beautiful with her nature inspired designs. And not only are many of her creations beautiful and made of rare ancient ivory (the necklace pictured here is made with 12,000 year old mammoth ivory and sells for $25,000) but 50% of her C:W (Charity: Water) collection goes towards providing water and sanitation to disadvantaged people.
[via JC Report]
Gallery: Monique Pean Jewelry
Filed under: Jewelry
The Fair Trade Jewelry Conference at the JCK Jewelry Show in Las Vegas last Monday was so profound for me that it honestly has taken me over a week to process it. I was familiar with some of the issues discussed but learned a great many things about the various movements in ethical, fair trade, fair made and green jewelry and why they should matter to everyone who gives, receives and enjoys fine jewelry.
While most people have heard of the controversies regarding blood diamonds they may not have investigated the issue deeply enough to know that diamonds from Africa are not universally bad. As Russell Simmons stated in his keynote at the JCK Show, diamonds have done a lot of good in some countries. Botswana earns the bulk of its export revenue from the diamond trade. But it is important that workers receive a fair price for their labor, worker health is protected, and steps are taken to minimize the environmental havoc caused by diamond mining. Right now, the Kimberley Process exists to ensure that diamonds are conflict-free. The multi-nation agreement monitors the $38 billion in rough diamond trade. The question remains whether this collaborative organization should be doing more to protect the workers and the environment.
The conference was moderated by Martin Rapaport, the kingpin of diamonds, who is also deeply interested in fair trade and in jewelry processes that are of greatest benefit to the miners and producers. Rapaport showed a video of his trip to Sierra Leone in which he met with the diamond diggers about what they wanted. The diggers expressed frustration that they do not receive a fair price from the dealers. Even when they find a stone they know is good, a dealer will tell them it is black or cloudy and in that situation the digger has few options and has to take the price he is offered. For the people of Sierra Leone, who have no factories they can work in, and a limited tourism trade, the backbreaking work of searching for diamonds is one of the few opportunities to make any kind of money.
Filed under: Jewelry
While people in general seems to be fairly aware of fair trade as it relates to coffee, chocolate and other foodstuffs, fair trade gems have been slower to catch on. People are familiar with the issues facing the diamond industry thanks to documentaries, the movie "Blood Diamond" and the Kimberley Process but colored gemstones (except for the recent attention given to Burmese rubies) have stayed out of the spotlight. At the recent AGTA Gemfair in Tucson, Arizona I had the chance to hear Eric Braunwart of Columbia Gem House give a presentation on fair trade gemstones.
What makes fair trade stones covet-worthy is that they are closely tracked from mine to market to ensure that every gem has been handled according to strict protocols. The protocols include environmental protection of the mining sites as well as fair labor practices at the cutting and jewelry factories. On the mining level, the gem buyers work with the mine workers, who often live close to the gem deposits, to leave as much of the surrounding area untouched as possible and reduce the impact on wildlife habitat, streams, watersheds, and groundwater. After mining they pledge to restore and replant mine sites to as close to original condition as possible. Columbia Gem House has a cutting factory in China, where workers are paid three times the minimum wage and also receive room and board, a food allowance, paid vacation, overtime pay, medical, disability and unemployment insurance and an annual bonus.
The stone shown above is a 3.29 carat Nyala ruby which is listed at $27,965 learn more about this type of stone after the jump.
Filed under: Spirits