SANTA FE, NM: November 1, 2007
Reflective Images, a designer jewelry firm, announces the creation of the FRE Rating System on its redesigned website, www.celticjewelry.com. The FRE Rating System offers detailed insight into the supply chain, from the mine to the showroom, for all components of every finished piece of jewelry the company sells. FRE empowers customers to make decisions based on a product's: F= Fair labor; R= Social Responsibility and E=Ecological impact. The site is a model for radical transparency in the jewelry sector.
Reflective Images developed the FRE system because, in the current market, terminology such as "fair trade jewelry" and "eco jewelry" are practically meaningless.
Marc Choyt, President of the company, writes about these issues on his blog http://www.fairjewelry.org/, the only one in the jewelry industry covering ethical jewelry production.
Reflective Images is the first company in the mainstream $200 to $600 retail jewelry point to provide a transparent sourcing model. Other "fair trade," "ethical" jewelry companies with some transparency either sell inexpensive niche, ethnic jewelry; or focus on high karat gold and precious gems crafted from a limited supply chain.
The FRE system makes public aspects of the company's weak links that need improvement. "Our strength is in the manufacturing end, but we cannot trace all of our 3000 inventory pieces," explained Choyt. "Our knowledge is particularly limited in the areas of semi-precious gemstones and findings."
Most of the discussion around "fair trade" jewelry has focused on diamonds and precious gemstones rather than manufacturing. The FRE model illustrates the quandaries that jewelry manufacturers will face when moving toward ethical, transparent supply chains.
Choyt stated that FRE is an "open source" model. "Fair trade, third party certification for jewelry manufacturing is years off," said Choyt. "If the Fair Labeling Organizations (FLO) are analogous to a closed operating system, such as Microsoft, our FRE system is analogous to Linux. Any jewelry company can make it their own."
"Decisions have to be made on the basis of sound economics," said Choyt. "The market that sees added value in what we are doing has not yet been developed so this is definitely a labor of love right now. We are certain that our efforts will pay off, both in terms of an improved industry and the success of our company."
Reflective Images, was established in 1995. It sells jewelry through its website, from its store and to approximately 75 jewelry stores around the country. In 2006, it was named one of Santa Fe, New Mexico's most visionary businesses. Their website garners over 40% of the company's revenues.
Contact Marc Choyt: Tel: 505-988-7393 Ext. 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org