Gold Goes Green

Special Advertising Supplement to Modern Jeweler
by Larry Fell

In 2008, green is the word. We’re buying more hybrids and fewer Hummers. We’re reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting. We’re drinking fair trade coffee and organic microbrews. Forget paper or plastic. Supermarkets are BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag).

Nearly every industry has been hit by green fever. The jewelry industry is no exception. Customers want to know where their precious metals come from and want to be reassured that the beautiful jewelry they love has caused no harm to the environment or to any workers involved in producing them. As always, customers want to wear jewelry that makes them look and feel good. That includes easing their conscience. They want their jewelry to be, in a word, green.
But what exactly does green mean? Ask ten people in our industry to define green gold and you might come away with ten perfectly reasonable but very different answers. Some might say it’s 100 percent recycled gold. Others would assert that it’s gold that comes from mines that respect the rights of workers and the environment. Others might tell you it’s a combination of the two.

And what about the handling of the gold after the mining process? Refineries and other companies must do their part to protect their workers and the citizens of the towns where they do business. How can we follow every ounce of metal to make sure it passes through a green supply chain? There is no definitive answer and no current industry standard. Green gold to one person might not be green to another. Within the green jewelry industry there are many shades of gray.

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