Valerio, who established the world’s first traceable gold ‘from mine to wedding ring’ in 2004, was awarded the title for his work in Fairtrade gold and with gold mining communities in South America and Africa.
In 2011, Valerio worked with the Fairtrade Foundation to launch the world’s first Fairtrade gold from artisanal and small-scale miners in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia.
He said: “This award belongs to all of us and I hope that it will embolden us all to keep fighting for fairness in the jewellery trade.
“Jewellery and justice are not incompatible and lost to each other. The great challenge we now face is to forge a new luxury jewellery narrative that connects the aspirational emotion of the purchase with the dignity of the source.”
According to Fairtrade, some 90% of the labour force involved in gold mining is made up of artisanal and small-scale miners who produce ‘tiny volumes’ – between 200-300 tonnes of gold each year.
It said that around 70% of this is used to make jewellery, with consumers across the globe spending around $135bn (£91bn) a year on gold jewellery.