Gold and silver - fairtrade v recycled

melting and recycling gold and silver - sustainable jewellery

It is always a joy and a privilege to be able to say we work with precious metals such as gold and silver every day here in our workshop.

Having honed and perfected our skills fashioning such materials, it still feels surreal to work with them, creating more sublime pieces from their glittering and mesmerising beauty.

However, with these metals we use there come important decisions and choices in how we source them and utilise them.

Transparency in how we operate has never been under a more penetrating spotlight.  We, all of us as consumers, are prompted by society to question how what we buy is sourced and produced, making ourselves aware of any societal or environmental impact our choices might make. Provenance is key.

At Mari Thomas, we have always recycled these materials. Every little offcut, broken chain link, filings from the bench, even the dust from polishing, are meticulously gathered, melted down, refined and turned back into wire and sheet to be used once again. This is part of the metals' wonderful properties, being recycled over and over again, to be reimagined, reborn and re-worn in yet another beautiful form, creating yet more beautiful and precious memories. There is no expiry date to its reincarnations.

But what of the choice between Fairtrade or recycled materials?

Fairtrade joined the gold industry in 2011, with Fairtrade silver joining just a few years later. It has enabled those mining silver and gold to be paid properly for what they provide. It is a more expensive purchase option for our industry however, with many businesses finding it difficult to pass these higher prices onto the client. The same can be said of other industries such as chocolate and coffee.

However we, as consumers, have a choice of what practices we support, bearing in mind impact and cost.

Here, in our workshop, we have the choice of either, as our suppliers offer both Fairtrade and recycled gold and silver.  We stress that they are each kept separately by the suppliers, and that the properties of the metals, whatever their origin, are identical.

Our personal choice here at Mari Thomas is to use recycled. We believe that reusing, repurposing and recycling is the kinder choice, limiting environmental impact around the world.  In this way, we are not digging or mining new metals out of the ground, with all the environmental implications involved.  By recycling we carry less mileage, using less energy to melt it down, and are able to refine it back to the strict hallmarking standards in the UK in a more considered way.

We also actively seek to recycle gold and silver brought to us here, in our gallery and workshop, by those who have broken or unworn jewellery, making an even more positive impact. If you are one of those with irreparably damaged or unwanted pieces forgotten in little boxes, then please consider bringing them to us for us to purchase or recycle and reinvent yet again.  

We hope the above provides a little insight into how we work, and all the important decisions we make in the process.

If anyone would like more information, please get in touch.

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