Gold rush: Fairtrade jeweller Ute Decker on promoting ethical practices

Born in Germany and now based in London, 'the architectural jeweller' Ute Decker is an avid campaigner for ethical good practice - from mine to jewellery box.

Ute Decker 'Squaring the Circle' minimalist arm piece in Fairtrade gold

One of the first jewellers in the world to launch a collection in Fairtrade gold, Ute Decker is renowned for her striking, minimalist pieces.

Aptly dubbed 'the architectural jeweller', Ute creates wearable sculptures that are never the same in shape, texture or finish.

Born in Germany and now based in London, Ute is an avid campaigner for ethical good practice - from mine to jewellery box. She strives to apply the most sustainable studio practices: using not only Fairtrade gold and100% recycled silver but also recycled packaging materials, and substituting traditional toxic resins with bio-resins derived from sunflowers.

Made entirely from Fairtrade gold, her PURE collection has an aesthetic vision that it is at once both bold and elegant. Each piece is individually handcrafted with a sand-textured matt finish and features the Fairtrade 'jewel-stamp' to guarantee the gold's fair provenance. 

We caught up with Ute at her studio in Holborn to find out how perceptions of Fairtrade gold have changed, both in the industry and among the public, in the last two years.

She says that while public awareness has increased, "there is still plenty to be done. The vast majority of people aren't aware of the issues, just as I wasn't before I started, so there is still a need for greater public discourse."

Ute concedes that things are changing, albeit slowly, as more jewellers, particularly smaller companies, embrace ethical working methods. Ute's own website (www.utedecker.com) has a dedicated section on ethical practices and suppliers, which attracts around 2,000 visitors every month, while her Facebook page boasts over 3,000 friends.

On 8 February 2014 she is hosting an ethical jewellery workshop at City Lit together with Greg Valerio, which is already almost fully booked. To find out more or to book a place, click here

 

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