By Claire West - Resident Blogger
Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable of your life - after it’s finished, you will look at the photos with emotion, giggle at the video of all the dad-dancing going on at the reception and maybe open your wardrobe every now and then to smile fondly at your wedding outfit, if you decide to keep it.
One thing that will stay with you all the time however and be a constant reminder of your marriage, is your wedding jewellery. It’s certainly worth investing some time researching the right pieces for
you and also - they may end up being passed down through generations to come. Who knows - in the year 3000, your great-great-great-great granddaughter may be wearing your ring or necklace at her own wedding – it’s possible! (It would be interesting to see what nuptials will look like in a thousand years, but that’s another topic!)
The previous podcast guest is Julia Thompson from Julia Thompson Jewellery (Episode 3 of The Boho Bride Guide Podcast), makes the most stunning jewellery! While she has a huge variety in her work, particularly with her three main collections – Elegance, Impact and Wild – one symbol that runs through many of her beautiful rings,
necklaces and bracelets are a pairs of delicate magpies – “two for joy” – perfect for wedding jewellery. Secondly – the ethos of her business is to use ethically sourced materials, such as Fairtrade Gold, which offers her customers peace of mind as to where their jewellery first originated from – sometimes back to the actual miner themselves!
Now, I had seen the Fairtrade logo on coffee and chocolate at the supermarket but had no idea it applied to gold as well!
So what does Fairtrade mean?
Well the word “fair” means “reasonable”, “just”, “honest” and the word trade is synonymous with business, skill, swap but also means
“transact” and “deal”. Fairtrade essentially means an honest transaction! So the miner, and the recipient of the gold, both get an even deal – no one is exploited.
Fairtrade Gold is only sourced from mines which meet the Fairtrade Gold Standard – this includes stringent requirements regarding working conditions, safeguarding forests and water sources,
women’s rights and child labour to name a few. Workers received a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price which benefits the miners themselves, and their communities, as they can invest back into
The stones that Julia sources are from small scale mines, owned by the families themselves, and not big corporations. The system is fully transparent and she could go out at any time to visit the mines
and see the process with her own eyes. If she wanted to meet the people who mine her sapphires for example, this would mean going to Sri Lanka where they are dug out of the ground. Importantly, she would only see adults digging as child labour is prohibited in Sri Lankan gem mining, and thankfully they would be able to tell her that they get paid regardless if they find stones or not.
As an aside - sapphires in fact, make a great alternative to diamonds if you are wanting something different! On the Mohs hardness scale, sapphires are ranked 9, only 1 less that diamonds, which make them very resistant to chipping, cracking or scratching – a very strong gemstone! And if you are thinking they only ever have a very dark blue, almost black appearance, this is indeed a common
assumption, but they can also be pink, green, yellow and white – in fact, the only colour a sapphire doesn’t come in is red! In an engagement ring, sapphire means faithfulness and sincerity!
You can also choose from quartz (a healing, positive stone), opal (associated with love and passion…) or beryl (promotes happiness and marital love!), and your wedding bands from Fairtrade 18 carat
gold or 9 carat rose gold – did you know that 9 carat is actually harder than 18 carat – and that the pinkiness is derived from adding copper to the mix?
Julia mostly uses handheld, traditional tools and craftsmanship skills that have been around for centuries – not only does she keep these practices alive by her own jewellery-making, but she also
teaches them as well! If you wanted to do something really different, Julia actually runs a one-day course where a couple can design and make their own rings! And not only do you have gold or silver to choose from, but you can also incorporate your own family heirloom pieces so that they live on through your own
Finally, whether you decide to make your rings, have a bespoke design, or choose from Julia’s many gorgeous items on her website, your jewellery will be presented to you in beautiful, sustainable
packaging to complete the circle.
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