Gold Jewelry Goes Green

Photo: Monica Rooney
Ethical and ecological rings from North America’s first certified fair trade jeweler

If a wedding is in your future but there’s no heirloom ring in safekeeping, you’ve got another green option: a ring from FTJCo (Fair Trade Jewellery Company). Co-founded in Toronto by Ryan Taylor and Robin Gambhir, FTJCo is the first jeweler in North America to offer fair-mined, fair-trade or recycled gold and platinum rings. Engagement rings start at $1,695; wedding bands  cost $595 and up, and the company specializes in bespoke rings. Here are 5 reasons this jewelry is green.

Made with reclaimed gold

Goldsmiths are the original blue-bin supporters — they’ve been recycling for thousands of years. Rings made from materials that have already been mined are a good green choice because they doesn’t contribute to more deforestation or chemically heavy extraction. Platinum may be reclaimed from the catalytic converter in a car. Gold may come from gold buyers or from the fuses, connectors or processors in laptops. “One of the biggest gold consumers in the world is Intel,” says Taylor. FTJCo buys its raw materials from North American refiners.

Ecologically smart

FTJCo sources new gold and platinum through Columbia’s Oro Verde initiative (which means green gold). Miners working in the delicate rainforest extract the gold using ancient artisanal techniques — they work by hand and use no machinery. They also mine without cyanide and mercury, which are used by conventional mining companies.

Socially sound

Oro Verde miners receive a guaranteed minimum gold price that doesn’t fluctuate with the markets. They also get a premium to invest in their community. This ensures the miners are fairly paid, work in safe conditions and get tangible incentives for balancing low-impact mining with taking responsibility for the land.

No blood diamonds

FTJCo’s stones come from one of three sources, none of which fund illegal activities by rebels whose atrocities in Sierra Leone or Angola prompted a UN resolution on conflict diamonds in 2000. New stones are Canadian diamonds, which are mined according to strict environmental standards and benefit northern economies. Secondhand stones come from the diamond market or from customers wishing to re-use a stone.

Marked with certifications

FTJCo rings are certified by Fairtrade International and the Alliance for Responsible Mining. That’s your guarantee that the metal in the rings supports communities that use artisanal mining techniques and help preserve the Chocó rainforest in Columbia.