If you’re getting married this year then you’re probably thinking about buying a wedding ring or having one made. If so, then you’ve doubtless decided what your ring should be made from. Perhaps you’re opting for traditional gold, or going for something slightly different like platinum.

Whatever you’ve chosen, do you know where the metal in the ring has come from?

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The gold mining industry has been criticized for ignoring forced and child labour, and damaging natural environments. Miners work in hazardous conditions and handle dangerous chemicals such as mercury and cyanide. In many cases, they are exploited and paid very little.

A new campaign ‘I Do’ launched by the Fairtrade Foundation is encouraging the next generation of couples to opt for Fairtrade gold when they choose their wedding rings to help improve the lives of small-scale miners all over the world.

Amy married Robert earlier this year, and chose to have a Fairtrade wedding and engagement ring made:

“Robert and I both work in Formula One motor racing, many aspects of which involve large sums of money. Although we work in this glamourous industry, we’ve lived and spent time in India and South America and been exposed to real poverty. Robert shares the same core moral values as me and when we met each other it was clear we both thought along the same lines about certain things – human rights, and the way people are treated.

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I didn’t know much about Fairtrade until we started thinking about the ring, and how we could make it ethical. The final engagement ring was made from 18ct Fairtrade white gold with an 18ct Fairtrade yellow gold stone mount. I have two daughters from a previous relationship and on each side of the ring there were triangular diamonds from Botswana to symbolise them. On the wedding day, Robert had arranged for the wedding band to match my engagement ring exactly.

We both feel very privileged to be able to contribute fairly to the people that made the rings, and also support a cause that is true to our beliefs and values. Robert and I found in each other the same strong, ethical values. I think it’s one of the main reasons we are together.”

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Want to know more? Here’s everything you need to know about choosing a wedding ring that is Fairtrade certified:

Know the difference

Fairtrade gold has been responsibly mined to strict standards. The people who mined the gold have received a fair price and a sum of money they can spend on their communities. Child labour and forced labour have been prohibited and hazardous chemicals phased out. Ordinary gold is not always subjected to this strict approach.

Find a Fairtrade goldsmith

You can buy a Fairtrade gold wedding ring from any Fairtrade licensed goldsmith. The ring will be physically stamped with the FAIRTRADE mark, to show that it has been produced according to the Fairtrade Standard and can be traced back to a Fairtrade Certified mine. Find your nearest Fairtrade goldsmith right here!

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Get creative

Why not design a Fairtrade ring that is personal to you? Most jewellers and goldsmiths work with Fairtrade gold design bespoke wedding rings. Some will be able to make a Fairtrade platinum ring for you. It’s also possible to buy Fairtrade silver and you can obtain a whole range of Fairtrade gemstones too!

Know the story of your ring

Whole communities have benefited from the Fairtrade gold initiative and have been able to improve their local facilities such as schools. When you buy a Fairtrade wedding ring, your jeweller will tell you where the gold comes from. You can also learn more about Fairtrade mining products here.

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Be proud

Owning a Fairtrade gold wedding ring is something to be proud of, so tell as many people as possible the story of your ring! A Fairtrade gold wedding ring says that you care about fairness and equality. It means you are doing something for the millions of people who can rely on small-scale mining around the world. Your wedding ring will be a symbol of change as well as a symbol of love!

What else can I do?

  • Register for campaign updates here
  • Follow @Fairtrade_gold on Twitter
  • Tell your local vicar about Fairtrade gold
  • Ask any major jewellery retailer if they sell Fairtrade gold wedding rings. They can find more information about Fairtrade gold here