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Ethical Jewelery with Fifi Bijoux

Updated on December 6, 2010
An ethical gold bangle from Fifi Bijoux
An ethical gold bangle from Fifi Bijoux

Vivien Johnston is a woman with a mission – a mission to source and create jewelry that not only looks gorgeous and adorns the body as if it were specifically created to make its wearer look wonderful, but was created without the use of child labor and violence so intense and bloody just a few seconds of it would turn your stomach enough to smelt all the jewelry you've ever owned – and given that gold melts at 1947.52 °F , that's a lot of turning.

There are a lot of movements around the world to try and create jewelry that is fairer and more equitable to the people who must enter the earth and mine it out of the very innards of our beautiful planet. However many of the processes by which gold is mined, even under Fairtrade standards, is more dangerous and threatening to life and limb than one could possibly imagine. Gold, silver and platinum for instance are often mined using cyanide and mercury, two incredibly lethal substances that will poison the miners and other workers long before they kill them.

Who wants to wear a pendant of pretty death around their necks? Or a ring of doom about their fingers? That's where Vivien Johnston and Fifi Bijoux come in. Her company eschews metals mined using toxic poisons and seeks to educate miners in third world countries who often take extreme liberties with toxic materials like mercury and cyanide. Indeed, she tells tales of Mongolian workers who store mercury in food containers, which is an excellent way to poison oneself very quickly indeed.

Fifi Bijoux, a name that quite frankly reminds this writer of a small rat covered in cotton wool and smeared with lipstick (seriously, you can't just go around slamming French words together and thinking they sound good. It's like creating an Asian inspired restaurant called Nunchuk Shanghai, or a car manufacturing plant called Linguine Milan,) but I have digressed and done so wildly and egregiously.

Anyway, if you buy your jewelry from an ethical company like Fifi Bijoux, you can rest easy knowing that you are supporting developing countries, not exploiting them. You can revel in the glamor of the jewelry with a clean and clear conscience, and, like a owner of a Prius, you can also spread the word about people friendly living with a slight air of condescension that will make your friends and family loathe you in a gently affectionate kind of way.

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