GOING FURTHER WITH GOLD

Gold’s and silver’s high value, and the ability to refine it over and over again, means the jewellery industry has always recycled precious metal, adding it in with newly mined metal.

It’s a no-brainer really!

So recycling gold has gone on for millennia. However recycling is only a very small part of the story - things really have to change much further for the benefit of people AND the planet.

 

ABOUT THE GOLD MINING INDUSTRY

The jewellery industry and the supply chain that provides materials for it, is strewn with misery employing some of the most underpaid, poorly protected and vulnerable people on the planet.

These are the artisanal mine workers who make up 90% of all gold miners in the world, but only produce around 10% of the global gold supply, with large scale mechanised mining making up the rest.

Artisanal small scale miners account for up to 16 million people in countries including Africa, Asia and South America who have no choice but to go into mining to scrape a living. They are forced through poverty to work in dreadful conditions using dangerous chemicals such as mercury and cyanide to extract tiny pieces of gold using only their bare hands. Many work with no shoes in muddy trenches. Others spend all day underground, hanging for hours from rotting ladders in deep holes, with no protection from accidents which do happen frequently. All this to scrape together enough money that barely covers a day’s food for their families.

Whilst recycled materials have been a way for jewellers and consumers to reduce the use of new mined gold, the appetite for extracting precious metals only continues to grow year on year as the luxury jewellery, electronics and car markets boom.

 
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WAKING UP TO FAIRTRADE GOLD

The most beautiful, luxurious and valuable items in the world are made by exploiting the most vulnerable people, working in unthinkably hellish conditions is an ugly reality that finally, thankfully, is impossible for the jewellery industry to ignore.

Thanks to campaigners and activists working in mining communities around the world, and the efforts made by a handful of companies deciding to do the right thing by helping artisanal miners set up safe working conditions in the mines, the industry is now slowly working waking up to its responsibilities.

More and more jewellers and consumers are demanding to know where the materials they are buying come from and how environmentally friendly and ethical are the processes used to extract and bring them to market have actually been.

 
 
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REGISTERED AS A FAIRTRADE GOLDSMITH in since 2014

In 2014, I first registered as a Fairtrade Goldsmith, a scheme set up to enable small business designer/makers like myself to buy Fairtrade Gold to use in our designs.