(Originally posted on Liv & Lov's previous blog on February 5th, 2013- as it gives a great background, I thought it necessary to add to the new website :) )
I am sooo THRILLED to share that Fairtrade and Fairmined Silver will launch this month in the UK market!
This is the news I’ve dreamed of for the past six years! I can’t even believe it. I seem to be in shock, stuck between absolute joy and frustration of wanting to know what I can do to help make this global.
After dreaming of the concept before I knew what Fair Trade was and then after discovering it, I told people wouldn’t it be incredible if there was Fair Trade Silver?!? People responded; idealists and activists even, that that model isn’t possible for mining or much more than cocoa and coffee. Then my last year of college, Fairtrade Gold was about to be launched! With it my dream for Silver grew tenfold. I developed a plan to train myself to be helpful in fairly traded and mined silver’s creation and created a proposal for it. After step one- helping create cooperatives, one art co-op in CT, another olive oil farmers’ cooperative in Calabria, Italy, for hands on experience. And step two- interning and researching for the No Dirty Gold campaign, of EARTHWORKS, the extractive industries specialist and mining watchdog NGO, in order to volunteer and learn how to research mines globally. Step three was saving this past year and donating all of my jewelry profits towards allowing research work in Peru. Possibly beginning the journey by volunteering for AMICHOCO and Oro Verde in Colombia to see its feasibility. See my Artist Statement! As I finally reached my financial goal (enough to live modestly in Peru for 6 months (or more if I received grants as well)) and am drafting emails to those who have helped launch Fairtrade gold (see an introduction to it and why it is important from the perspective of one of the activists, Greg Valerio, here), I read today that the first certified fairtrade silver is about to be launched!!! AND from a mine in PERU! A country I personally chose to do research in because of my knowledge of the region through travel and my degree (Global Studies- Regional focus on Latin America) and most importantly as Peru has consistently been a top silver producer as well as has the largest reserves of silver. See the USGS Mineral Commodities Summary 2013 page 147. Not only that, but fairtrade silver will be launched with silver from the very Sotrami mine that I was planning on contacting! (Read an interesting article about the Sotrami mine here.) I could faint.
With all this my first thought was, am I too late to help?
The answer: This has been such an exciting decade for the creation of transparent metal and gemstone markets, but its only just the very beginning!
This past year has been a struggle for me, moving back home to a small RI town that has never quite fit me in order to help reach that financial goal, but I kept reminding myself along the way of it. Fairtrade certified silver now being a reality, allows artisanal mining groups that produce silver the potential to grow at a pivotal time where the price of silver has soared, and to receive the safety, fair price, recognition and fairtrade premium they deserve. This is thrilling! The launch in the UK is just the beginning; so far only the mines that produce already fairtrade certified gold will have fairtrade silver. But there are so many others! Silver is mined as a byproduct almost always, and as I’ve said, if you focus on silver you focus on the WHOLE METAL industry!
I will keep you updated on any news of its growth! Next time hopefully on the ground
Although I am disappointed that as of yet I have not played a role in this, this incredible news reminds me to keep dreaming always! ANYTHING is possible!
Read more about Fairtrade silver’s launch at: