Channel 4 news covered the horrific story of children in the Philippines risking their lives for a precious metal last week. The piece was a real eye opener - young teenagers descend into water 30 feet deep with a compressor hose between their teeth, then hack away at rocks for up to three hours in the hope of finding a few flecks of gold. Children are often used for this as their lungs are not yet damaged. Families are trapped in a cycle of poverty and sending their children into 'compressor mining' is seen as the only way of getting money for food. You can read more and see a clip here.
It's terrible that this practice is allowed to go on, all for the sake of something that will end up as jewellery. Hopefully this film will have raised awareness and put pressure on the Philippine government to prevent it and provide other means of employment for the workers.
There is an alternative to #dirtygold. The Fairtrade Foundation have recently introduced an accreditation for gold which, if consumers demand it, could be introduced in other areas such as the Philippines. Jewellery pioneers, Cred, stock beautiful Fairtrade gold. But if that's a bit out of your price range, how about our Hope & Peace range of jewellery - made from recycled bullets and bomb shells that are scattered around the Cambodian landscape. Jewellery that has created a better life for people, not a worse one, has to be a good thing.