Leona caught up with Liz Earle MBE to ask her a few questions about her new jewellery brand Fair and Fine ...
Hi Liz, can you share with us the mission for your new jewellery brand, Fair and Fine?
I really want to highlight the importance of buying Fairtrade gold, which makes such a difference to the lives of the artisan miners who mine it - and their families and communities.
Where are the mines and how does Fairtrade help the local communites?
The gold and silver used in my jewellery range comes from Fairtrade certified mines in Peru, although more mines are also now coming on board across East Africa - notably Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Not only does the Fairtrade Foundation support better health and safety, welfare, proper working hours and breaks, fairer pay and working conditions, it also pays a premium of £2000 per kilo of gold mined. This premium then funds community projects, such as schools and sanitation, so the entire community benefits from Fairtrade purchases, not only the miners themselves.
I'm sure visiting the mines really brought home the importance of promoting Fairtrade. How important is it for the consumer to consider the Fairtrade option when buying gold jewellery and what do you think is the best way to get the message across?
Gold mining is a potentially murky business, often obscured by opaque supply chains and shady middle-men linked to dodgy dealing (gold mining has been associated with political corruption, slave labour and even funding terrorism). Because gold is not labelled with its country or mine of origin, the only way to be 100% sure it has been fairly and environmentally produced is to look for the Fairtrade logo. This way, you can be sure you are helping to be part of the global solution, not part of the ongoing problem.
Your collection is based on botanical designs - which piece is your favourite?
My first piece, the Neroli necklace, in rose gold, is my personal favourite and you’ll see me wearing it very often. I love its timeless, ageless beauty as a symbol of love and femininity. I also love the fact that my designs are all botanically accurate, so they really do represent the beautiful blooms and leaves they are inspired by.
How do you see the brand developing over the next few years?
I would love to do more with Fairtrade gold and also branch out into ethically-sourced gem stones as well. There is a huge and important story that needs to be told for jewellery lovers the world over and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be one of the trail-blazers here.