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Thanks a lot for your nice comment, Marc. I'm glad you found the blog interesting and by all means, please repost it to your website. The model of bringing to market artisanal production from responsible sources is an encouraging avenue. Where the jewellery sector has made significant advances along the lines of which you allude to, the closed-pipe trading chains being piloted and implemented in Africa's Great Lakes region have adopted a similar (but not the same!) concept for tin and tantalum. We work on both gold and what are known as the 3T minerals and we will continue to provide perspective in our periodic blog posts on how ASM reform initiatives progress. Please do keep in touch. Best wishes, Nick

Nicholas,

Great article. 

I have been involved over the last two years in collaboration with Ethical Metalsmiths and Fair Labeling Org (FLO) in working on a business plan to distribute fairtrade/fairmined gold widely to jewelers in North America.  Certainly the demand of FT/FM gold would increase with a vibrant US fairtrade gold market.   Part of the problem-- why it has taken so long, is political: the separation of Fair Trade USA from the FLO network.  Then, more recently, FLO has split from the Alliance of Responsible Mining (ARM).   The multi-month lead up to this last event paralyzed initiatives... All this internal division has impacted the marketing and distribution of the product. 

Secondly, I would say that part of the problem (lack of demand) is the organizations (FLO/ARM) were not able to adequately respond to the market.  The market, the jewelers, have been saying, the FT premium-- I think 10%-- added too much cost to the final product.  There has to be a sweet spot where there is enough premium for the miners that the market can accept for the product to go mainstream at least in the smaller boutique jewelers.   There will be a meeting on issue in London at the end of this month that I'm attending that will address this point...

The good news is that these processes are moving forward providing a radical new model for collaboration between jewelers and miners...  It is just... difficulty at the beginning.

There are many additional challenges in the US -- a consumer base that knows nothing about fair trade gold, logistical problems of mill products for jewelers and casting issues... the prevalence of recycled metal among ethical jewelers (which changes nothing for mining) but is easy for the consumer to understand...

Anyway, my organization, Fair Jewelry Action, is committed to connecting virtuous traceable and transparent ASM communities with jewelers to create a better supply chain. 

I would like to repost your article on my website: www.fairjewelry.org.

Cheers,
Marc