From the point of view of human rights and the environment, mining is a dirty industry. And an industry extremely rarely talked about although interest in the origins of jewelry is awakening. In our new lifestyle series, the ethicality of silver and gold are pondered.
Ever thought whether gold and silver are ethical materials? On the one hand, precious metals are never trash. Gold and silver can be melted, recycled and re-used over and over again. In Finland, recycling happens quite efficiently, but this is, of course, not the case in rest of the world. On the other hand, the industry, getting the metals out of the ground, is very complicated and has severe problems considering the environment and all the major gold companies have been accused of human rights abuses and contamination. An example of this can be read on an article, handling Africa’s mining industry, quite recently published by Huffington Post: “Women treat gold ores with toxic mercury in the same bowls as they wash their babies and cook, men and children risk being buried alive everyday in the pits and meanwhile the middle man waits with tampered scales to cheat them of a fair price that could feed their families.”
According to Fairtrade International, about 30 million artisanal and small-scale miners extract roughly 15 percent of the world’s gold and represent 90 percent of the workers in gold mining. The origin of the jewellery brought abroad is almost impossible to trace since the gold, which is sourced from different parts of the world is brought together and mixed in refineries. A solution to this could be Fair Trade gold, which has been available since 2011. Afterwards also Fair Trade silver has become to the market.
There are several brands in Weecos whose designs are made from precious metals. The decision, to welcome brands making products from precious metals, was based on their trustworthiness and traceability. The brands could open their production, tell where and in what conditions their products were made.
In addition, the topic is rarely discussed so we decided to bring it up and introduce you to some of the brands in Weecos who design jewellery from precious metals. During October and November EKORU by Laurase, Mosh Jewellery, Lovia and Kätkö Koru share their thoughts on the problems considering precious metals and mining. By sharing the stories, we want not only to raise awareness but also to understand the backstory of the gold industry.
Enjoy the exciting stories, published on every Thursday, of the fabulous designers! While waiting for the stories, feel free to comment is there such thing as clean silver and gold, what do you think? Are they conscious materials? Why or why not? Feel free to comment!