Fairmined? And aren’t all goldsmiths old dudes with awesome beards?
DutchReviews meets up with Nina Strategier, a young woman hammering through traditions and the only fairmined goldsmith in the Netherlands.
Being a goldsmith isn’t always an easy life. Hard work and sweating will all that hammering, it will literally get the ‘blood from under your nails’ as we say sometimes in Dutch. And then there are some more modern challenges in today’s world of jewelry: where are your precious metals coming from? How do you bring an old tradition to a new generation? And what drives a young person to enroll in this old profession?
Meet Nina from Nanini
We meet up in an artistic basement at the Java-eiland in Amsterdam. Nina Strategier; Amsterdammer and definitely not fitting the stereotype of old bearded guy forging jewelry shows a few of her newly made pieces of jewelry art and tells about her recent travels to Mongolia. The endless steppes, the yurts, the oriental express and of course the goldmines of Mongolia.
Nina tells me how she wanted to do some creative and practical with her life. Finding Art school too much of an abstract thing she ended up doing an accelerated course at the goldsmith academy in Schoonhoven. If you’re thinking ‘jeeh, I don’t know if I’m brave enough to follow my creative calling straight away’ then don’t worry – Nina had the same dilemma. As she also studied communications and worked at a regular office for a couple of years until she made the leap and started as a goldsmith with fairmined metals and gems.
Wait, what’s Fairmined?
Contrary to popular beliefs spread by Scrooge McDuck and the Lannisters, most of the gold, silver and precious stones and metals are mined in the poorer regions of the world. Mining never was a luxurious and easy-going job and this certainly holds true when it comes to goldmining and such in poor countries.
Low wages, not able to use the proper equipment, dangerous conditions with toxic air constantly threatening the miners. And then there are also societal problems such as corruption and child labour, both of which are also prominent problems in the mining industry. All in all not really the associations you would want to have while enjoy wearing something precious and dear around your neck or finger…
Enter the Fairmined Organization
Sprung from Colombia: Fairmined is a certifying organization that supports small scale mining with a focus on protecting the environment and stimulating social development. When you get your hands on something that has been Fairmined approved you know that there was no child labour involved, miners got paid a fair wage and chemicals were handled safely. Up until now Nina is the only fairmined goldsmith in the Netherlands, let’s hope others join that cause!
These noble goals don’t only apply to the precious metals Nina uses in her creations, she also just uses fairtrade gems. These gems are ensured to be mined under the same fair conditions as the fairmined organization, also tracking the stones to ensure that all these conditions were met (here you can find more information about that).
Fairmined made fabulous
So there’s a healthy origin to all these precious metals and stones, that always helps in this day and age. But within an ever changing society, Nina also focuses on getting something different and yet very beautiful out there and reach a new generation of people with her jewelry. Take a look at these pieces for example.
Because all Nina’s jewelry is handmade more or less all her pieces are unique and or limited editions. This way of work also has the added advantage that Nina is totally open to your jewelry design ideas or reworking something gold and old.
Interested in her work? Check out her website: Nanini! She is specialized in wedding- and engagement rings, but there’s plenty of other beautiful work to be found there.
Oh did you like her pics of the mines and pieces by the way? You can also hire Nina as a photographer, for a wedding for instance.
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