There are times when an industry needs people to stand up and challenge the status quo, to point out what is wrong and to try to do something about it.
For the jewellery sector, one of those people has been Greg Valerio. For well over a decade, Greg has made a habit of highlighting the darker aspects of mining, the issues with jewellery production and the uncomfortable truths behind the glamour of the industry as a whole. It’s a habit that more of us should have.
Greg’s book, “Making Trouble”, is a fascinating account of how he started out in a relatively modest way and went on to become a passionate and determined (not to mention award-winning) campaigner for change in an industry that is notoriously entrenched in tradition and slow to break with them.
Greg is undoubtedly a pioneer in the areas of ethical jewellery and fair trade metal. He has fought long and hard to bring the first fair mined gold to market and to offer completely ethical jewellery to a UK customer base. He has made a real difference to the lives of many people around the world.
However, this is not just a book for miners and jewellers. It covers broad topics such as our basic human rights, environmental conservation and generally doing the right thing. Anyone who shares these beliefs will be inspired by this book.
Greg’s story is absolute proof that changes can happen and the industry can overcome the issues of child labour, conflict diamonds and environmental destruction (amongst others), if it has the will to do so. We look forward to that day.
It also proves that, sometimes, an industry needs a troublemaker.
[ For a further review of Making Trouble by Greg Valerio, please see the Fair Jewellery Action website – http://www.fairjewelry.org/making-trouble-fighting-for-fair-trade-jewellery/ ]