I’ve been thinking a lot about the fair trade movement lately. I come from a third world country, so I’ve seen first-hand how little of the money spent gets to the vast majority of the people, and I wonder as a resident of a prosperous country, just how much responsibility do I have to question the sources of the things that I buy? Often, there is a cost to being socially conscious, which I may not be able to afford.
I read an article on this topic that led me to the website for the Fair Trade Federation , and I realized that at least with my discretionary purchases, I could make an effort to find beautiful things that are made by people getting a fair shake.
Most of my jewelry raw materials are glass beads from Czechoslovakia, which as far as I know, does not have a fair trade problem, but I do buy small amounts of other items, and I am going to make it a point to ask my vendors what they do to make sure that their items are responsibly sourced. I already know that two of them do put in a great deal of effort to do just that: Rings and Things and Fire Mountain Gems .