FTJCo

Our Story

We were founded as the Fair Trade Jewellery Co in 2006.

The early years

FTJCo was first conceived by Robin Gambhir and Ryan Taylor as a wholesale business. They intended to provide retail jewellers with responsibly sourced ‘Oro Verde’ gold from Colombia, the precursor to Fairtrade certified gold. But as it turned out, retailer interest in responsibly-sourced gold was quite low at this time. Confident that the consumer demand was there and growing, the FTJCo founders pivoted to take their business directly to consumers.

Our First Store

In the autumn of 2008 our founders signed a nine-year lease on the first physical home of FTJCo at 523 Parliament St. in Toronto’s historic Cabbagetown neighbourhood. With a shop in the front and our studio in the back, clients could see (and hear!) their jewellery taking shape right on location.

‘JUST GOLD’ PROGRAM

In 2017 we partnered with NGO IMPACT and FTJCo’s sister company, Consensas, to make the first legal import of Congolese gold to North America for the Just Gold project.

The following year we introduced our ‘50/50 FTJCo Blend’ of half Congolese Just Gold and half certified recycled gold. This unique gold blend enjoys both a smaller environmental footprint, thanks to the recycled content, and fully-traceable, conflict-free artisanal gold that supports small-scale miners. This special gold alloy would later come to be branded under FTJCo’s AKARA label.

Today our AKARA gold blend is made from certified recycled gold and Fairmined certified gold from Colombia. Click here for more info on our materials.

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

FTJCo was approached to re-interpret the YWCA’s Women of Distinction award in 2016. Given that supporting women is a core value for FTJCo, we were honoured to take on this opportunity.

Every year since then we have been proudly making the Women of Distinction award pins, which we donate to the YWCA.

Kesha Frank at OECD

In April 2018 our Head of Production, Kesha Frank, travelled to Paris to address the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The topic of her talk was gender equality in the jewellery and mining supply chain. While the jewellery industry has traditionally been an ‘old boys club’ FTJCo is proud to have a staff of all female goldsmiths, and company-wide our team is 90% women-identifying.

United Nations Global Compact

We joined the UN Global Compact in 2020 to begin the process of aligning our business with measurable, sustainable development goals. Just like when we became a BCorp, these are early steps on a long journey.

As of 2022 we are pursuing Sustainable Development Goals within the context of the Responsible Jewellery Council. Click here for more info about our Certifications & Affiliations.

AGTA Spectrum Award

Each year the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) hosts the Spectrum Awards, inviting entries of fine jewellery made with coloured gemstones and cultured pearls. In 2020 our lead designer, Kathleen Kerr, won the Gem DIVA Award for Bridal Wear for this unique sapphire and diamond ring, made by our goldsmiths in the FTJCo studio.

Supporting Food Security during COVID

The FTJCo team identified food security as a cause we wanted to address during the COVID-19 epidemic. Between 2020 and 2021, FTJCo donated a portion of our sales to food banks local to our clients, or to other causes close to their hearts. Through this initiative, we have proudly donated over $34,000 CAD.

576 Parliament St.

Having outgrown our original storefront and studio several times over, by the end of 2021 the company was ready for a bigger space. Thankfully a new home was well underway, only a block and a half north at 576 Parliament St.

In early 2022 FTJCo moved into our newly custom-renovated heritage building, which has allowed our team to grow further. Given that transparency is one of our core values, we installed a massive glass wall between the storefront and studio spaces, so that clients can see where their jewellery is made by our talented goldsmiths.

FTJCo’s Branding Refresh

After 10+ years with our original peacock logo, a new home for FTJCo inspired us to give our branding a fresh look in early 2022. With input from our community, we established a new tagline, too: Fine jewellery with integrity.

Employee-Owned

It had been co-founder Robin Gambhir’s longterm goal to transition FTJCo to an employee-owned model, and in mid-2022 this vision was realized. Participating in our Employee Share Ownership Program (ESOP) allows employees to share in the success of the company, enjoy greater economic and professional agency, and have input in key business decisions and developments.

Climate Neutral Jewellery

In 2021 we began partnering with SCS, a global leader in sustainability certification, to develop a new standard for certified Climate Neutral Diamonds; this certification launched in 2022 and we are proud to offer our clients third-party certified environmentally-friendly diamonds. The team at FTJCo is continuing to pursue our goal of fully climate neutral jewellery, and are working with SCS to bring certified Climate Neutral Gold to market in early 2024..!

Our expertise

We specialize in engagement rings and wedding bands made within our ‘best practices’ framework of using both environmentally and socially responsible sourced materials. In addition to bridal and engagement, we take on custom jewellery projects, jewellery repairs, and source diamonds and gemstones.

We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service, and know that word-of-mouth referrals from happy clients make up a large portion of our business.

Meet the team