südsinn designs distinctive, fair traded sterling and refined silver jewellery. südsinn silver is nickel-free and untreated.
genuine silver - highest quality
We have approximately three hundred pieces of fair-trade silver jewellery in our assortment and supply around 400 world shops and boutiques in eight
südsinn is a fair trade supplier recognised by the Weltladen Dachverband (World Shop Umbrella Association Germany) and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Weltläden Österreich (Working Association of World Shops Austria).
südsinn is not just a name for us, but a concept.
südsinn would be translated into English as follows: "süd" means south, "sinn" means sense. For us it makes sense to work in and with the South in order to create beautiful products and simultaneously improve our economic and social relationships to built a future where we are all equal in our right to live a life in dignity, prosperity and in an healthy environment.
südsinn was founded in 2001 as a result of a student aid project (since 1995). Both südsinn associates are
ethnologists/politologists who have lived, researched and worked with the Karen and other minority people in Thailand for many years. We initially started with small aid projects: We built a
nursery , sold handicrafts, granted small loans, financed seeds, etc. A little later we started with fair trade. We act in accordance with our own, very exacting fair trade criteria and are very
conscious of our responsibility for our suppliers, whom we all know personally. We do trade with handcrafted, high-quality silver jewellery from northern Thailand, which is created by members of
the mountain people of the Karen based on our designs. We sell our jewellery wholesale in Germany as well as in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, England and
Italy. We supply more than 380 world shops, boutiques and all significant German fair trade regional centres with our jewellery.
südsinn is an approved fair trade supplier by the World Shop Umbrella Association Germany and the Association of Global Shops Austria.
The silver jewellery craftsmanship of the Karen in its present form was created as part of an aid project introduced by the Queen of Thailand more than 50 years ago. The Karen are the largest minority in Thailand with a population of about 1,000,000 people. To enable the Karen, who were (forcibly) resettled at the time, to tap into new sources of income, the Queen had initiated a project to train and promote the art of silversmithing for mountain peoples. südsinn purchases the mostly handcrafted sterling-silver elements, which are primarily designed by the Karen themselves, from the Karen silversmiths at fair conditions. Based on designs by südsinn, Karen and Thai women from Chiang Mai thread the silver components onto necklaces and combine them with gemstones and other materials to create distinctive pieces of jewellery.
Due to a lack of professional opportunities, these women do not stand a chance of getting wellpaid work in Thai society. At südsinn the processing of all raw materials to the final product is completely fair. Therefore everything that the blacksmiths and the women produce is of fair value. Unfortunately this does not apply to the extraction of the raw materials silver and gemstones. Only very small and slow developments in fair extraction exist, however, these are so insignificant and expensive that the Karen in Thailand will never be able to make use of them. It will remain a privilege reserved for German jewellers. The Karen, however, confidently claim to be allowed to work with raw materials with which the industrial societies (we!) have built their prosperity (ours!) by exploiting large parts of the world. The Karen purchase the silver in Taiwan, where it is of the highest quality and has the biggest (claimed) recycling rate (up to 70%). We strive to buy the gemstones mostly in Thailand from Thai production, but unfortunately this is very difficult to monitor. However, we are constantly working to understand and to continuously improve the distribution channels.
The work on südsinn jewellery in Thailand is coordinated and controlled by women. südsinn provides the pre-financing. All women work at home according to their free time. This enables them to earn a very good income. This money is used for instance to pay for the schooling of children, new seeds, consumer goods or hospital bills. Children do not work in südsinn production. The children go to school or (meanwhile- and this is brilliant) to university.