By Susan Crow
What are responsibly sourced precious metals?
Northfield-based sustainable jeweler, East Fourth Street, uses Fairmined or recycled gold, silver or palladium because it is important to us that we source precious metals from trusted suppliers to ensure that it is as non-impactful, both environmentally and ethically, as possible and benefits artisanal and small-scale mining communities.
Fairmined is a globally recognized certification assurance for gold mined from empowered, responsible, small-scale and artisanal mining communities around the world. It creates positive change in mining by implementing and supporting social development and environmental protection.
East Fourth Street is one of 36 U.S. jewelers licensed by The Alliance for Responsible Mining to sell Fairmined Gold. The Fairmined label is backed by a 3rd-party certification system that rigorously ensures that the artisanal mining communities are meeting standards set forth for safe and responsible practices. The extra monetary premium that is collected for Fairmined Gold is then paid directly to the mining communities. They use it for improving their mining work conditions and social development for their local communities. The Fairmined certification has routine assessments that ensure miners maintain their certification and are consistent with their social improvement.
There are now 10 different mines in four different countries, including Mongolia, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, which is pretty cool considering that when East Fourth Street was a first adopter in 2012, The Alliance for Responsible Mining started with just one mine in Peru.
What is a reclaimed or ethically sourced diamond?
Most of our diamonds are sourced from certified reclaimed diamond vendors. These diamonds have been resold and certified by GIA to assure that they are of the graded quality that you want. By using reclaimed, we eliminate the additional environmental and possible ethical problems surrounding newly mined diamonds.
For our newly mined diamonds, we don’t just rely on the Kimberly Process Certification because we believe that more due diligence has to be done to ensure that our diamonds did not come from a conflict region. The Kimberly Process certifies diamonds as non-conflict if they are not coming from rebel conflict nations. Unfortunately they cannot control the smuggling of conflict diamonds into non-rebel conflict nations, mixing them with Kimberly Process certified diamonds and being sold to the public as non-conflict diamonds. They also do not address ethical abuse or child labor at the mines. Because of this, the newly mined white diamonds we carry come with the additional Jeweltree Certification. We try to do our due diligence and only offer diamonds from trusted suppliers so that our stones don’t come from a conflict region of the world or involve forced or child labor. Our white diamonds are GIA certified and are within 0.05ct of the listed size.
What is an ethically sourced gemstone?
What is an ethically sourced gemstone? Gemstones are very difficult to trace from mine to market to ensure that they have not been mined illegally or come from conflict situations. It is very important to us to know for a fact that no children have been used in the mining or cutting of our gemstones. Our colored gemstones are sourced from some of the most reliable ethical dealers in the country. Many of our gemstones are Fair Trade and help support the mining and cutting communities where they have come from. We believe that it is important to support ethical treatment of workers and to involve them in the mining business to ensure that they are receiving a fair market price for their valuable natural resources.