Since 2009, FTJCo has been Cabbagetown’s destination for fine and custom jewellery. For 12 years this stalwart of responsible and sustainable jewels has occupied 523 Parliament St, a few doors north of Jet Fuel. Back in 2006, co-founders Ryan Taylor and Robin Gambhir hoped to wholesale dual certified Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to jewellery retailers across North America. They must have been ahead of the curve, because when the wholesale model failed to take off, Taylor and Gambhir opted instead to make their own jewellery from some of the first traceable and responsibly-sourced gold in the world. “Our success at retail was, and remains, our in-depth knowledge of supply chains, and the ability to utilize that knowledge to continually source new materials, combined with a growing team of passionate and talented people.”
Since being the first retailer to offer Fairtrade and Fairmined gold in North America, and second in the world only to Chopard, FTJCo has continued to press for change in the jewellery industry, often leading by example. In 2018 they announced a partnership with Canadian non-governmental organization IMPACT to support a gold sourcing program to trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mines in Democratic Republic of Congo to the FTJCo studio. Today, clients can choose between Fairmined certified gold, certified recycled gold, or the house blend AKARA gold which combines Fairmined and recycled gold to produce a unique alloy offering both social and environmental benefits.
To further this kind of positive change across the jewellery industry, FTJCo has served on the board of Ethical Metalsmiths, a US-based group connecting sustainability-minded consumers with responsible jewellers, and is a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, the “world’s leading standard-setting organisation for the entire jewellery and watch industry.” FTJCo has also been certified as a BCorp since 2013, and in 2021 certified as a Living Wage Employer.
Over the years FTJCo has continued to grow as an increasing number of consumers seek out traceable and sustainably-sourced options for their precious jewellery. Now the company counts nine employees (including two goldsmiths) in its ranks. Anticipating further growth, the company sought a bigger home for their thriving business, but were loathe to leave their beloved Cabbagetown. In 2018 576 Parliament St was purchased as the home for FTJCo, formerly Nettleship’s Hardware, just a short walk from their current location.
It’s been an exciting, albeit time-consuming process to painstakingly restore the heritage building at their new location. FTJCo has partnered with Goldman Architect, Method Homes, and West Parks & Associates to revive the original facade and design a custom retail space and jewellery studio. The new interior will feature custom-built jewellery cases made from hot rolled steel, large-scale porcelain wall treatments, and plenty of space for clients to browse jewellery, and meet with staff to design custom jewellery. Separating the retail floor from the jewellery studio will be a giant glass wall, so clients can watch their responsibly-sourced jewels take shape.
The folks at FTJCo will be making the short trek north to their new flagship location at 576 Parliament St this fall, and are looking forward to welcoming you there. For further information and updates, follow along on Instagram (@ftjco) and web (www.ftjco.com).