Valentine’s Day: Share the Love – How to Buy Ethical Jewellery – by Liz Earle (Huffington Post – February 2, 2016)

Forget flowers, this Valentine’s Day is set to see a record spend on jewellery, an altogether much more significant and lasting token of true love. US retail figures indicate that spending on jewellery for Valentine’s day gifts will top $1.7 billion in the United States alone, climbing from $1.6 billion in 2015 (source:

With such heartfelt sentiment behind these gifts of love and devotion, it’s surprising that so little attention is paid to the provenance of these presents. Whereas the labels on a dozen red roses will reveal precisely where they were grown, and the tag on the designer bag tells us exactly what it’s made of (and where from), our jewellery purchases are strangely silent.

Look down at your wrists and hands – do you know where your adored adornments came from? Does it matter? I believe we should know and that yes, it does matter.

The raw materials used to make some of our most precious possessions are too often shrouded in secrecy. Gold, silver and precious gemstones can have a very murky past (think ‘Blood Diamonds’ and slave-labour mines), which is why provenance is all the more important here than in any other areas of the luxury goods market.

After all, who wants the wages of war to spoil such a special token of affection? Consumers and jewellers alike increasingly demand transparency and traceability of their precious metals and gems, and there are a number of new and good initiatives to make an ethical choice an easier choice.

By far my preferred favourite is the Fairtrade gold certification, as it is the only mark of authenticity to have a clear and independent audit trail, with no vested interest.

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