When it comes to food products, buyers are well aware of what it means to purchase items labeled as Fair Trade. What if we were to tell you that this term is also used for handmade jewellery? Though not as common as finding food stuffs, Fair Trade jewellery can be found online from reputable sources such as Ten Thousand Villages, a Canadian merchant.
When thinking about purchasing anything handmade, it is important to consider who made it and how it was acquired. Doing research is especially important when you’re considering tribal jewellery (a category of jewellery that is often misrepresented or faked). Fair Trade products are created by talented artisans in underdeveloped countries where poverty is on a constant rise. It may seem like an uphill battle, but purchasing something genuinely Fair Trade ensures that talented tribal artisans are recognized and paid for their work by their trading partners (Ten Thousand Villages).
Now that you know that purchasing Fair Trade handmade jewellery is an option, why make the commitment to do so? Why spend money on Fair Trade products?
Help Reduce Poverty
In most third world countries, poverty is an ongoing issue that has no current solution. Even if a foreign government entity is going to pour money into helping the less fortunate, it still won’t take care of the unemployment problem. Your purchase of Fair Trade jewellery can put talented artisans to work so their skills can be employed and they can make ends meet, even if these individuals are only a fraction of the current population.
Workers Will Get Paid
Knowing that you’re helping reduce the effects of poverty is one thing, but you need to be absolutely sure that your jewellery purchase will actually benefit artisans. When something is labeled specifically as Fair Trade, you can be assured that the artisan will get his or her fair share of the profits.
Help Respect Cultural Identity And Skills
Most foreign artisans producing jewellery are part of a tribe of individuals. If we’re not careful, people can end up losing their cultural identities in their search for work. Tribal jewellery not only puts people to work as they create, but this type of jewellery hones traditional skills that would otherwise be lost in time.
Help Promote Gender Equality
Unlike modern Western culture, most countries still don’t provide women with the same rights as men, therefore, the chasm between gender equality becomes greater when poverty is thrown into the mix. Available work such as farming is always considered a man’s job, and women are only able to earn a living through handmade products. By purchasing Fair Trade, you empower women and give them a chance at running their own company, even in a country where this is seemingly unheard of.
Only purchase handmade products that specifically explain they are Fair Trade. Most merchants will also give details about the artisans that produce the jewellery as well as their national identity. Remember, if it doesn’t say Fair Trade, it’s not the real thing!