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Monday, 23 February 2009

Pure Design’s Ethical Jewellery Designers ‘Oria’ Travel to Sierra Leone To Establish Jewellery Workshop for Local Women Miners

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Fair trade fortnight is upon us again - wow the last year has zipped past! And here at Pure Design we have some really exciting news about two of our designers and their fair trade inspired project that will be taking place over the coming weeks...

Synnove Saelthun and Tania Kowalski, the talented duo behind Oria Ethical Jewellery, have always been driven to do more than just craft beautiful jewellery - they want to make the industry greener, more ethical and more transparent. An exciting new project will see Synnove and Tania travelling to the Yele region in southern Sierra Leone to a gold mine where some of the gold they use comes from. There they will help establish a workshop and teach local gold-mining women jewellery making skills. Currently the workshop is under construction, and as part of the project Tania and Synnove will be fitting it out with specialist equipment sourced in the UK.

The women benefiting from the project are employed hand panning for gold in the mines and will be taught basic jewellery making skills so they are able to produce a range of gold jewellery to sell on. The workshop will continue to run and offer employment one it has been set up. The project is focused on women as for cultural reasons gold-mining is an assumed female role in Sierra Leone, whereas diamond mining is assigned to men.

As a positive sign of the changing times, most of us have now heard of conflict free diamonds, but not so many have heard of ethical and eco gold or silver - and this, Oria and Pure Design would like to change. The mine already has ethical and eco standards in place including a fair wage for its workers, and as the gold is hand-panned, the mines do not use heavy metals and toxins to extract the metals from the ground. This project and the training workshop are an additional way the mining company contributes towards the local community - helping local workers to develop both their skills and ability to generate an income.

Pure Design is delighted to be engaged in the promotion of Oria’s Fair Trade project and will be posting regular updates and news from the project right here on our blog. If you have any questions for Tania and Synnove or want to comment on the project do get in touch.

Both designers and Pure Design are excited by the uniqueness of this opportunity. Synnove and Tania will see the mining of gold in Sierra Leone first-hand and help empower those women whose efforts are so fundamental to supplying gold for the jewellery trade – but to whom many of us as consumers rarely give a second thought. The trip will also allow Synnove & Tania to further review and develop the integrity and transparency of their precious metal supply chain.

The jewellery designers are looking forward to, if a little daunted by the task ahead of them. However, Tania will be drawing on her past experience teaching in Kathmandu, where she trained and managed a workshop, ensuring the quality of the jewellery produced and sold. And both of them are relying on bags of nervous but excited energy!

The full range of Oria Ethical Jewellery is available to buy from Pure Design.

Why not show you support for fair trade fortnight and go bananas! Click on the image below for more details on Fair Trade Fortnight and some of the events happening over the fortnight.

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1 comment:

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