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Cred Jewellery has been at the forefront of ethical jewellery since it's beginnings as an enterprise project to support the work of the CRED Foundation, a charity campaigning on Education, Poverty and Human Rights issues.

CRED approached Greenwich University’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and commissioned independent academic research into the jewellery supply chain. When the NRI published their findings in 2003 their report Towards an Ethical Jewellery Business confirmed academically what CRED already knew anecdotally: the real ethical issue is the plight of the small-scale miner.

In 2003 we created a partnership with Colombian mining collective Oro Verde™, and with a transparent source of gold, refining and manufacturing, we launched the world's first independently certified environmentally and socially responsible wedding rings.

Alan in Sotrami

Cred is dedicated to the mines we work with, aiding their growth in the market place. In 2005, both CRED and Oro Verde™ were founder members of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), and in 2006 CRED brokered introductions between Oro Verde™, ARM and the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO): another step towards industry-wide change.

The standards of ethical and ecological mining that we set up with Oro Verde became the basis of the Fairtrade gold standard introduced on Valentines Day in 2011. The first certified Fairtrade gold jewellery was worn on the Oscars red carpet by Livia Firth.

With this, mines in Peru & Bolivia received the Fairtrade certification, including the Sotrami mine, who are now our main supplier of Fairtrade gold and silver. With the Fairtrade certification, we know that the small scale miners who mined the gold were fairly treated. The independently accredited system at Fairtrade ensures that the mining community adheres to a strict code of conduct made famous in the farming of Coffee, cocoa, sugar and bananas. It ensures that the mine pays the miners fairly, that there is no child labour and that there is good health and safety in the mine. On top of this the miners are also paid a Fairtrade premium of $2,000 a kilo to be used by the community to help develop the infra structure including schools, health clinics, water and electricity.

Whilst the Fairtrade gold certification was adopted by mines in South America, we were aware of the millions of miners in other areas of the world who did not have access to it. We are now working with Fairtrade to bring in the first African Fairtrade gold from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, visiting the miners there throughout 2014 and 2015. We never do business with any mine until we have visited them ourselves to ensure that our customers receive the best assurance of where their gold is coming from.

We have had many firsts in this business:

  • the first jeweller to use known origin gold;
  • the first to have a fully open and transparent supply chain;
  • the first website dedicated to the sale of ethical jewellery;
  • the first boutique jeweller to do the same.
  • The first jeweller to use Fairtrade silver
  • The first jeweller to disclose the contents of the jewellery and the provenance of the main precious metal

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, but we are not complacent - there is still much work to be done. It is unfortunately not yet possible to source platinum, diamonds or gems of the same ethical standard as our gold and silver. So we’re working on that.

Our ambitions are for the whole jewellery industry: we want all jewellers to sell ethical pieces that benefit indigenous producers while mitigating environmental damage. We have sought partnerships with producers, designers, manufacturers and retailers that share our values and launched sister organisation CRED Sources in 2007, in order to enable other jewellery designer/makers to benefit from our ethical sourcing. And we continue to campaign, because we want this industry to be as clear and as transparent as the gems they sell.

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