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Ethical Gold vs Recycled Gold

Blog

I’m Niki, the founder and designer of Enji Studio Jewelry. We’re a sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in beautiful north county San Diego.

at Enji we’re on a mission to bring you meaningful, modern, ethical design that shows off your style, honors the journey of your life, and reflects your values. We craft each piece for you in our Carlsbad studio bringing new life to recycled gold and silver and using only FairTrade and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

Enji was founded in 2014. We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing and giving back to the local and global community. We create our pieces for everyday wear.

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As creators and consumers, our choices now have a global impact. This is why we consider how things are made to be important and this to be part of our responsibility as a business and global citizen. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. This is why we make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fairtrade stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper and clothing.

Niki is a GIA Graduate Jeweler. She was awarded the 2016 Halstead Grant Award and 2014 Windgate Fellowship Award by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and Europe and her work can be seen in the pages of Glamour UK, Basic, Evening Standard, National Jeweler, and more. To see her one of a kind art pieces and CV check out nikigrandics.com

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. We make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fair mined stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper.

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. Ethical Metalsmiths and Fairmined gold and gems.  All our pieces are made in our studio in San Diego and we use low-impact, environmentally conscious studio practices to lessen our footprint. 

We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing, because it’s important. To us, to you, to the women and men who mined the stones we use to create our pieces. We also donate a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking because that’s part of the future we want to see.

Ethical sustainable jewelry fairtrade fair trade fair-trade jewelry recycled gold recycled sterling silver San Diego Carlsbad ethical gemstones ethically sourced sustainable

Ethical Gold vs Recycled Gold

Niki Grandics

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Gold has been coveted for many years for its extreme value and beauty. Traditional mining is deeply rooted into our history. The Gold Rush in California even helped shaped our nation as traditional mining gained popularity. But there are many harmful side effects of traditional mining such as pollution into the environment, slavery, child labor, worker exploitation and land rights violations. Recent trends in social responsibility have shifted the mining and jewelry industry to find substitutes for traditional mining such as fair mining, recycling, and ecofriendly mining. But what exactly do those mean?

 

Ethical Gold

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Ethical Gold can have various names such as Fairtrade, and Fair-mined. Ethical gold is used to describe the conditions of the mining process and the treatment of their workers. Such regulations include but are not limited to

  • no informal economy
  • no illegal operations
  • no environmentally unsound practices
  • good labor conditions
  • no gender inequality
  • no child labor
  • no contribution to armed conflicts
  • transparent supply chains

These regulations help reduce and sometimes reverse negative impacts of traditional mining operations. Ethical gold gives power to smaller artisanal mines and their consumers. Each purchase of gold helps promote and shift the industry into a brighter and more sustainable future. Ethical gold however isn’t 100% sustainable as mines are still allowed to use harmful chemicals to extract minerals. The bright side is that those chemicals are stored and disposed of safely. Let's look at the other end of the spectrum.

 

Recycled Gold

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Unlike ethical gold, recycled gold is not mined. The gold supply can be taken from old machines, antique jewelry, or scrap metals. Just like the name suggests, many scraps and fine dusts are recycled to form usable amounts of gold. This process helps reduce the amount of damage done to the land and encourages a sustainable lifestyle. However, one must be careful to find trustworthy sources of refined gold, some refineries are not transparent with their supplies and can actually use “dirty” (traditional mined) gold. Recycled gold usually falls into three categories

  • Unprocessed Recyclable Gold (bullion bars, pieces of jewelry or coins)
  • Industrial by-product. (furnace flue dust, spent crucibles or floor sweepings)
  • Melted Recyclable Gold (has been melted as the first recycling process and cast into rudimentary bars or some other form with undefined dimensions and variable fineness.)

The most important thing to look for in recycled gold is transparency and source. These are the fundamentals of reducing illegal and dirty mining practices.

 

Enji understands that it is our social responsibility to try and shift the jewelry industry to a more sustainable future. From using recycled metals certified by a third party to informing and spreading the word on sustainable practices. All our jewelry uses recycled metals in hopes that one day we can find a way to cleanly and ethically mine metals.

 

Sources:

http://www.amalena.com/eco-gold-vs-ethical-gold-vs-recycled-jewellery/

https://www.brilliantearth.com/news/7-reasons-to-wear-recycled-gold-jewelry/

http://www.celticjewelry.com/fairtrade-gold-vs-recycled-gold