Fairmined Gold : Meet the first french brand
If there is one question that I’ve never asked myself, it would be: where does the gold from my jewelry come from? Not you? So when I was offered to meet Hélène Grassin, jeweler specialized in ethical gold, I admit that I was intrigued. Did you know that you can buy a ring and be sure that the gold is not the result of child labor or miserable human conditions? Double shot! In addition to the great awareness on the subject, I also had the chance to gather a beautiful story of a successful reconversion. Former French teacher in Jordan, she landed in Paris 10 years ago. “I was coming from nowhere! She said to me. Today, her favorite hobby has turned into a successful business. Meeting with a committed and inspiring entrepreneur !
– How does a French teacher become a jeweler?
I was always creative. I used to make jewelry after work. And then one day, I decided I wanted to do it all day. After my return to France, I started selling my jewelry on a blog and it was working! So I went and got myself some training in metal work and jewelry.
– Where did you get the idea of using only ethical gold?
It is known that the working conditions of minors in South Africa are unbearable. I was also very sensitive towards the issue of child labor and the dramatic effects of extraction on the environment with polluted rivers… Having all that in mind, it was out of the question for me to contribute in any way. I wanted to be proud of my work. I began with recycled gold.
« But if you really wanted to change the world, it’s important to position yourself on ethical gold! »
In 2010, you had to be entirely crazy ! The greatest discovery was Fairmined ethical gold.
– What is ethical jewelry exactly ?
It is a jewel that respects human rights and the environment. By buying it, you make sure that no child has worked in the mine where the gold extracted, where men and women are offered equal pay and protective gear…
We buy our gold at 11% above the market price. When the price of gold drops, our prices don’t go down because we have a set fixed price.
In addition, we receive a bonus of 4000 euros for every kilo of gold we buy, that’s something but the goal is to make a change. The money is used to install ventilation and finance schools for children outside the mines.
– What are you offering as jewelry ?
The core of our work is wedding and engagement rings.
I have particular affection for the first pair of wedding rings I’ve made. We use three different tools, the facets are handmade to get a hammered result. Customers love coming to the workshops to watch the creation process
– What motivates you every morning ?
Knowing that I have a strong social impact !
That’s what tells me I’m in the right place, and makes me want to continue! This impact is easily measurable. When I sell a wedding ring of 5 grams (750 euros), the customer who buys this ring generates a 3 weeks salary for a minor and his family.
– Who are your clients ?
They can vary a lot! Parisians of course, but not only! They come from all over France, Europe, the United States too! Ethical jewelry with a French know-how, makes you really want it. They take advantage of their trip to France to order their wedding rings and pick them up. Not long ago, we had Broadway actors! Sometimes they’re farmers. You see !
– If you had to make a first assessment, what would you tell me ?
The result has already exceeded my expectations! I would’ve never imagined, when I was working alone from home, and I barely had any money to pay for tools or a jeweler’s set …
Je n’aurai jamais imaginé qu’un jour on ferait plus d’un million de chiffre d’affaire et que j’emploierai plus de 15 personnes !
What is important for me is to have a beautiful brand. A company where people are happy to come to work and so am I
– Hélène, there is one question that everyone wants to know. Why this name, “Paulette à bicyclette” ?
(l) Yes ! I have to say that I didn’t want to use my name neither a name like “Gold Forever” or “Love éternel”. I wanted a happy and offbeat name. This one popped up during a dinner with friends. Paulette is my surname and my favorite way of locomotion ! It’s also referring to the famous song of Yves Montand that i like to hear… “A bicyclette” !
Paulette à bicyclette : 13 rue Paul Bert, Paris 11 & Passage Thiaffait, Lyon 1 – www.paulette-a-bicyclette.com
Textes: Jessica Lia – Photographies: Alexis Chaillous