Supplier case studies

Cred Jewellery - ethical wedding & engagement rings

Cred Jewellery - ethical wedding & engagement rings

On World Fair Trade Day 2008, Greg Valerio of Cred Jewellery gave a talk about the future for Fair Trade gold and diamonds.

Here is a summary of his story - hopefully it conveys at least some of Greg’s passion and enthusiasm for his subject that left the audience truly inspired.

Greg took us through the early days of Cred Jewellery, his faith in fair trade as the way forward for business, supporting the little people and giving them a chance when everything else seems to be skewed in favour of the big boys.

His first attempts to sell fair trade accessories were a complete disaster - in Greg’s own words! - except for one product: a simple gold wedding ring.

Cred Jewellery - ethical wedding bands

This ring seemed to stand for so much - commitment, trust, love eternal. It inspired Greg to go back to the beginning, to be completely transparent about the origins of the ring, how its gold was mined and how it was made. To make all the symbolism we associate with a wedding ring, ring true.

It also formed the basis of their first proper collection and today, over 10 years on, is still the most popular piece.

For Greg, it all comes down to being transparent. The big companies aren’t afraid of losing money through consumer pressure for fair trade gold and diamonds - they have plenty of that already - but they’re running scared from transparency, from what might be uncovered about their business practices and their supply chains if they have to submit themselves to an audit.

The difference with Cred Jewellery is that they really want to know what is going on - and what is going into their beautiful jewellery. They have visited the mines, they have spoken with the workers in the small co-operatives they buy from, they have witnessed the measures being taken to protect the environment from the impact of mining.

If it isn’t up to scratch, Cred won’t buy, simple as that.

Cred Jewellery - platinum ring

Greg is pushing for Fair Trade accreditation as he feels it is essential for transparency to get these processes audited by a third party. For this reason, Cred Jewellery currently only use Canadian diamonds as although they cannot be fair trade (the organisations are too large for this), they do have a transparent supply chain. As soon as a Fair Trade diamond is available from a small co-operative, Cred will be buying it.

Greg sees Fair Trade accreditation of gold and diamonds as not only a means of providing some of the millions of small scale miners with a fair wage but also to raise the bar for the larger, dominant companies to up their game in terms of transparency and to be audited themselves.

Through his passion for fair trade, Greg is a strong believer in the difference that consumer choice can make. And for this reason, the product has to stand up - he doesn’t expect couples to buy Cred’s rings out of charity, the aesthetics are just as important as the ethics.

Ethically wed

Weddings are still the bedrock of Cred Jewellery’s business. A couple comes in cooing over the gorgeous wedding rings - they’re entranced already - then they are told the story behind them, the region they came from, the people whose communities they are helping to support, the measures taken to protect the environment - no more questions, they’re sold!

The wedding ring is after all a symbol of love. If you are going to wear it for life, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, for better for worse, wouldn’t you want to know the maker was as happy as the wearer?

Find out more about Cred Jewellery and read comments from happy Cred Jewellery-adorned brides!