FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lila's Jewels do things differently. Applying an innovative approach to small business strategy, Lila's Jewels focus on the reconditioning of vintage and antique jewellery, the provision of unique Fairtrade bespoke items, and the curation of contemporary independent designers. On 2nd June 2016 they are creating awareness about the prevalence of inertia within the jewellery market and increasing transparency within the jewellery supply chain to improve the working conditions of miners.
They have become media partners with The Jewelled Moon Theatre company who are staging 'The Symposium' at Housman's Radical Bookshop - where Naomi Klein launched the 'Climate Revolution' with Vivienne Westwood, and where their PR manager, actress and activist Holly Jade O'Leary will speak out about the mining industry. Something has got to give!
Gold is the symbol of love, power and wealth. Yet so often the finished product is so far away from the conditions from when it was extracted from the Earth’s surface, and from the hands which lifted it from the Earth. More people need to speak for improving the working conditions of the miners, generational slavery - where children begin working in mines at 8 years old, and the archaic methods of gold extraction. Our pension funds are invested in the mining industry - directly contributing to sustaining this exploitation - where many workers are paid less than $2 a day. We must take responsibility for improving the conditions of artisanal miners, ensuring that we only purchase jewellery from ethical suppliers. The UK jewellery industry is worth around £5bn in revenue with an annual increase of 1% per annum. 3, 881 businesses employ 42, 083 staff. There are currently just 98 jewellers registered on the Fairtrade scheme. An estimated 100 million people worldwide rely on small-scale mining for their livelihoods and to support their families and communities.
It has only been 6 years since Fairtrade jewellery was set up by Greg Valerio; regulating the industry, setting a minimum wage and a premium to be invested back into improving the working conditions of the mines and in the local community. Fine jewellery is created to honour and cherish the most precious occasions in life, and be gifted to loved ones. It should not have to bear an ugly history. Catalina Rosca and her husband Dan launched their startup business in February 2014, ten months following the birth of their second daughter - Lila. Founded on a shared ardour, private equity and a dedication to establishing a stronghold in the luxury retail market for ethical jewellery they have seen their business grow.
Of course - it is not just luck and acumen, but the provision of a contemporary gallery environment, far away from the stereotypical jumbled antique shop aesthetic. Lila's Jewels boast interior design fashioned by Four-By-Two, Harvey Nichols' agency, in trendy East Dulwich, with a dense population of artisanal producers, buyers, and discerning local community.
Lila's Jewels prove that Fairtrade jewellery and the sale of vintage goods not only can be sophisticated but can really make a difference to the lives of the miners from whom gold, platinum and palladium is sourced. No one need risk their life exploiting a limited resource of precious metal and gemstones.
Their metals originate from SOTRAMI - an artisanal mine in Peru, South America. Fairtrade's stringent remit ensures that workers are paid a guaranteed minimum wage and a premium to be invested in the community. Initially unemployed and landless, workers in Peru began to excavate for metals following drastic economic conditions. The vital, small-scale involvement of Fairtrade ensures a high level of working conditions and that payment goes directly to the labour force - today - 88 shareholder workers in two groups, and an additional 30 self-employed miners, plus a women's group of 'pallequeras' and five engineers manage the mine and processing plant.
Lila's Jewels team themselves are cherry picked for their expert knowledge in gemmology, art direction and design, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the ethical consumer. "When we engage with our customers and tell them our story, we explain the long process of the preowned jewellery to reach our store window,it is sourced, reconditioned, hallmarked, assessed by a gemologist, registered in a stock management system. We aim to keep fair affordable prices, despite the hard work behind it."
This dedication has seen Lila's Jewels receive nominations for nomination for the Hot 100 Jewellery Professionals in 2015, and Best Store Environment in the UK Jewellery Awards 2016.