Fairtrade gold on sale after a long, hard slog

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A CHICHESTER jeweller has become the first in the world to offer Fairtrade gold to his customers.

When Greg Valerio founded Cred jewellery in 2000 he made a commitment to let his customers know exactly where their gold has come from.

While most people have heard of blood diamonds – mined in war zones and used to fund insurgency – Mr Valerio says the gold mining business is just as blood-thirsty.

‘We know miners get shot,’ he said. ‘People get blinded by it, they go mad. They see it and all they see is money.

‘They don’t think of the hands that mined it, or the communities behind it.’

Mr Valerio and his team have worked hard, visiting communities in Colombia to ensure the gold they use can be tracked back to its origin.

And, next month, the Fairtrade hallmark will be officially launched in London.

It means the miners get more of a share of the profit, rather than the middle men.

And with prestigious bullion dealers such as Cookson behind it, other jewellers are sure to jump on the mark’s marketability.

But it has been a hard slog.

Mr Valerio said: ‘We spent seven years trying to research where gold comes from, and we were ridiculed. We’re making it transparent, you can see where the gold comes from.

‘It’s that transparency that I think is threatening the status quo in the gold industry.’

Cred director and designer Christian Cheesman agreed.

He said: ‘It has been seven years of hard work, but we are at the start of things now.

‘It’s pretty much unbelievable we’ve got so far when we think back to the abuse we got when we first started talking about it.’