Hockley Mint Ethical Gold

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Hockley Mint Ethical GoldBirmingham City UniversityKnowledge transfer partnership
Hockley Mint manufactures wedding and engagement rings in precious metals for retailers as well as providing rapid prototyping.

About the Client

For four years the company manufactured gold for Fairtrade company, Cred Jewellery.

Project Aim

Hockley Mint wanted to raise consumer awareness of the importance of buying ethically sourced gold. Many gold miners, some as young as six, work in small-scale mines where they are exposed to very poor conditions and face the risk of mercury poisoning. The gold mining process also creates deforestation, river pollution and land waste meaning other forms of land use such as agriculture are not viable.

About the Project

To help Hockley Mint, Birmingham City University (BCU) set up a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) through the School of Visual Communication. It appointed a graduate to work on brand development for its ethical gold product range. 

The KTP involved brand development for the ethical gold range including an information campaign, packaging, brochures, displays, film, social media and web-based material. 

Through conducting detailed social, environmental, consumer and supply chain research, Hockley Mint were able to develop a Fairtrade brand that ensures consumers can choose to buy ethically sourced wedding and engagement rings. 

Hockley Mint also became involved with an ethical diamond mining company, which operates near a lake in Canada. The diamonds are cut, polished and mined in Canada, ensuring an ethical and traceable product. 

Hockley Mint manufactures wedding and engagement rings. Another company Arctic Circle supplies ethically sourced diamonds, making products fully traceable.

Benefits

  • Workers in Fairtrade mines work in safe conditions with no miners under the age of 18 and the surrounding mining landscape is restored over time.
  • Hockley Mint was shortlisted for Ethical Jewellery Company of the Year at the 2015 UK Jewellery Awards
  • The company has teamed up with the British Jewellers Association to promote a competition challenging designers to create pieces in Fairtrade gold in support of the ‘I Do’ campaign. This encourages brides and grooms to buy Fairtrade wedding rings.
  • Hockley Mint has created a Fairtrade ambassador scheme and 20-30 stores around the UK are currently signing up to stock the gold.

Result

Through a graduate appointed by BCU working on a KTP, Hockley Mint were able to develop a brand for their ethical gold range through the use of various information sources online as well as offline, they were also able to fulfill the needs of being a Fairtrade company through the development of the brand.

In 2016, the collaboration between BCU and Hockley Mint earned the highest possible grade and Certificate of Excellence for a successful KTP project. 

“Fairtrade gold ensures fair wages, safe working conditions and environmental restoration. The ethical gold brand will encourage positive social change within the jewellery sector,” Sam Stevens, marketing manager at Hockley Mint.

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