Conflict-Free, Ethical Gold at Fair Trade Jewellery Company (FTJCo)

Finding fully traceable, responsibly sourced gold was and remains central to FTJCo's principles.  From our early days, when we launched the company as North America's first company to use Fairtrade certified gold, the quest for the best sourcing for this materials has informed all of the materials we have used over the years.

Here is a quick guide to some of our past and present gold sourcing.

One thing that is important to note: whether gold is newly mined (from any country) or recycled, it is always refined to pure 24K gold before we alloy it to 18K for us in our jewellery.  Recycled gold therefore is no less pure, no less strong and no less costly than newly mined gold; indeed, since recycled gold is less available than new gold, it could (conceivably) cost more.

Fairtrade Certified Gold

Sourced From: small scale mines certified by the Fairtrade Labelling Organization--the same body that certifies other commodities such as coffee, cocoa and bananas.

Traceability: None.  Fairtrade Gold is mass balanced

Benification Claims: Miners are paid a premium over market for their gold.  Must adhere to health and safety standards.  Cannot participate trade that funds conflict or crime.  More information here.

Fair Trade is a problematic term, sometimes used in greenwashing.  To learn about the use and misuse of this term, please see the definition on the Jewellery Glossary Project site.

Fairmined Certified Gold

Sourced From: small scale mines certified by the Alliance for Responsible Mining.

Traceability: Traceable to the refiner according to prevailing standards such as Responsible Jewellery Council and Responsible Minerals Initiative.  Origin claims for Fairmined gold downstream from the refinery are made based upon the refiner's assurance statements. 

Benefication Claims: Miners are paid a premium over market for their gold.  Must adhere to health and safety standards.  Cannot participate trade that funds conflict or crime.  More information here.

Just Gold (2018-2020)

Sourced From: Democratic Republic of Congo

Traceability: Probably the world's most traceable gold every sourced from a conflict affected area.  This gold had lot level traceability managed by FTJCo's sister company, Consensas. Each piece of jewellery we made was traceable right back to the miners themselves and each piece was serialized based upon the lot number it was made from. 

Benefication Claims: Miners are paid a premium over market for their gold.  Must adhere to health and safety standards.  Cannot participate trade that funds conflict or crime.  More information here.

Recycled Gold

Sourced from: Recycled gold is gold that has been refined back to pure from sources such as old jewellery, electronics and other industries that use gold.

Traceability: Recycled is technically an origin claim and so third-party oversight and audits are important to verify those claims.  FTJCo sources recycled gold from large refineries that are Responsible Jewellery Council certified for their recycled origin claims.

Benefication Claims: An ounce of gold that can be refined and reused, is one that doesn't need to be dug out of the ground.  While mining can be done responsibly, it is inherently unsustainable.  On the other side of that equation is that small (ASM) miners produce 25% of the world's gold supply and gold mining provides a livelihood for marginalized communities around the globe.

AKARA People+Planet Gold

Sourced from: A blend of pure gold with 50% from Recycled sources and 50% from small scale (ASM) mining sources.*  

This is the default gold for all of FTJCo's work and is include in the base price of all of the made to order designs on our site.


Traceability: The recycled portion follows the same traceability standard listed above.  The small scale mining portion is sourced from specific communities that change from time to time.  The origin of this gold is listed on FTJCo client invoices along with the unique lot and serial number for the AKARA gold.

Benefication Claims: This gold is exclusive to FTJCo provides both a social (People) and environmental (Planet) benefit.  As such it overcomes the limitations of the other sources listed above.