100% recycled 18kt New Zealand alluvial beach gold ring by Ash Hilton
A frequent topic of discussion among Etsy Metal members is ethical metalsmithing. Since precious metals and gemstones must be mined, they have a huge impact on the environment. There’s an impact on human lives as well, when there are conflicts over mining rights and when mines poison workers and communities, and when diamonds are sold to fund conflicts in war torn areas. So what are the options, for jewelry makers, and for consumers?
One increasingly popular solution is not to use precious metals and gemstones at all. Jewelry may be made from non-precious materials or re-purposed objects. Another solution is the use of 100% recycled precious metals. According to a recent article in National Geographic, all of the gold ever mined would only fill two Olympic-size swimming pools. So while much of the gold in existence now has always been recycled, the value of gold (which has increased during the recession) still drives new mining. More information on recycled precious metals and mining can be found here:
And check out Moissanite, a great diamond alternative. There's also some good info in this post by Danielle Miller.