The ethical sourcing of our materials is something we take very seriously here at Shakti Ellenwood HQ. We are committed to using gold, diamonds and precious gemstones from sources that are responsible and sustainable so that you can rest assured your handcrafted jewel reaches the highest possible ethical standards.
How We Achieve Ethical Sourcing
One of the most important aspects of responsible sourcing is transparency in the supply chain. This means tracking the journey of the materials we use from their origin to our door. Here you can see the steps we have taken to achieve this:
Our Traceable Materials
All of our handcrafted jewellery is made with 18ct Fairtrade gold from the MACDESA mining community in Peru.
MACDESA is a community of approx. 500 families living near the city of Arequipa. This certified mine follows the strictest standards for the protection of both the environment and the people. This includes protection of the landscape, water sources and forests as well as health and safety for the miners and a strict no child labour policy.
Not only do the miners receive a fair wage for all their hard work they also receive a 10% premium to invest in improving the quality of their lives. MACDESA have used this premium to provide the community with electricity, running fresh water, a medical centre as well as investing in a school for their children.
Responsibly Sourced Diamonds
We use CanadaMark diamonds from the Ekati and the Diavik mines in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Their strict environmental laws protect the wildlife that live in close proximity to the mine. These include: caribou, bears and buffalo. They also protect the workers with health and safety practices and fair pay as well as investing into the local community.
Your CanadaMark diamond (above a 0.3 carat) will arrive with a certificate card that has a unique serial number on it. This number is also engraved onto the girdle of the diamond. This ensures it can be traced from its mine of origin to your door.
Traceable Coloured Gemstones
Our gemstones come from ethical suppliers that have exclusive agreements with many mines
from Malawi to Montana. Their gems are closely tracked, from mine to market to uphold the strict protocols of fair working conditions and environmental protection.
Our Ethical Packaging
We know the sustainable farm from where the yarn comes from, for our ethical wool packaging.
The Little Grey Sheep Company owns a small farm on the borders of Surrey and Hampshire. ‘Well Manor Farm’.
The farming is non intensive, with no antibiotics or chemical fertilisers used. The sheep are treated with respect and kindness and the farmers are committed to enhancing biodiversity and preserving the environment.
Once the wool has been sent out to me, I then pass it onto a very talented local knitter here is Ashburton.
Who Made Your Jewellery
Every piece is handcrafted, by Shakti, right here in our beautiful studio boutique in the ancient town of Ashburton in Devon. Please feel free to come and have a look around the studio and see how she spins her gold into unique artisanal treasures.
What We Cannot Trace
Our recycled platinum: Unfortunately, this is not yet available as a Fairtrade product.
Our rose-cut diamonds and fancy coloured diamonds: Although these diamonds cannot be traced they come from a family company in Los Angeles who have their own cutting factory in Mumbai and only buy their rough diamonds from trusted and respectful suppliers.
Our old cut diamonds: These antique diamonds come from pre-loved rings and while we are unable to know the origin of these diamonds, we do know that in the recycling of them, no further harmful mining practices were used to obtain it.
Why We Think The Ethical Sourcing Of Our Materials Is Important
Unfortunately, most jewellery companies will not be able to tell you where their products are made, who made them, or the origins of the gold, diamonds and precious gemstones they are composed of.
This means you may unwittingly purchase a wedding or engagement ring from sources, with long supply chains, that somewhere along the line involved a disregard for human rights as well as environmental and social devastation.
The Impact Of Mining And Manufacturing On Human Rights
Many of the small scale mining communities around the world live in poverty through unfair pay, the conditions they work in are hazardous and for the many children who mine for gold and stones it is the only way they have to survive.
Indigenous tribes from the Amazon have been found with slave numbers tatooed onto their arms; they have lost precious lands and been slaughtered and raped by illegal gold miners. Many have faced war and conflict abuses or have no access to clean water. All human rights lost.
The Environmental impact Of Gold And Diamond Mining
The Poisoning of the rivers and forests caused by the dumping of mercury, cyanide and other toxic chemicals used in the mining process, are harming the health and sustenance of entire communities. As these deadly substances work their way into the soil and rivers, they poison the local people, the fish and the animals residing in the area for generations to come.
Deforestation is commonplace to make way for mines, which again leads to the death and displacement of wildlife and the human population.
The Social Impact Of Gold And Diamond Mining
Mining companies often fail to get the permission of indigenous communities who have lived on and protected the land for many generations. This has caused the displacement of entire villages as lands are taken over for mining, often destroying sacred lands and plant medicines. Communities have been forced to leave their homes as fishing or hunting is no longer possible.
Here at Shakti Ellenwood Precious Jewellery we believe in the respect and fair treatment of all people, regardless of who they are, where they come from and what age they are. We value all wildlife and care about the treatment of our planet earth.
We also love fine jewellery and want our clients to have access to the most ethical products on earth.
As well as doing our best to uphold the standards of the ethical sourcing of our materials, we also believe in giving back. Which is why we donate £10.00 from the sale of each wedding ring to Survival International and £10.00 from the sale of every engagement ring to The Orangutan Foundation.
If you would like to purchase an ethical engagement or wedding ring please click here to see our unique collection of ethical rings, available to you, or get in touch and have Shakti make you the bespoke ring of your dreams: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01364 653000
If you would like to know more please read this important report on The Hidden Cost of Jewellery by Human Rights Watch:
Or you may like to read some of my other posts addressing some of these issues further: