Sign up for our newsletter


ModernJeweler.com |

Home Page

  


Refine & Recycle
A refiner or manufacturer should be able to show a paper trail detailing how the metals they are using are recycled and eco-friendly.


GREEN IS BIG AND IT’S GETTING BIGGER.

With the dawn of a new age in the U.S. and a new president who has made no secret of his vision for an energy-efficient and eco-conscious America, businesses across the country are looking at ways they can become greener. So what can jewelry retailers do to contribute to this movement?

Of course, there are obvious choices that all companies can make: turning off unwanted lights and PCs when not in use to save energy, employee car pooling to reduce emissions, and green purchases such as recycled paper goods and packaging.

But there is another important way for jewelry retailers in particular to contribute and this is by selling recycled jewelry. This doesn’t mean purchasing granny’s old rings, cleaning them up, and re-selling them. It means selling jewelry manufactured from recycled gold. To do this, you can choose to buy your jewelry supplies and finished pieces from manufacturers who use recycled precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

The supply circle looks like this: Retailers send their jewelry scrap from the manufacturing, sizing, and repairs they do, along with any unwanted or out-of-date inventory that’s not selling, to a refinery that operates using green and environmentally friendly practices. If this refiner then takes the refined precious metals and injects them straight back into the jewelry trade as identifiable recycled products that you can buy and sell, the circle is complete.

WHY RECYCLE METAL?

Why should you consider doing this? All precious metals are mined from the earth. Mining operations can sometimes lead to severe environmental and community damage. Log on to the Earthworks and “No Dirty Gold” web sites and the damage that can be caused by unrestricted and unregulated gold mining is very quickly appreciated. Pollution, community displacement, and the destruction of traditional lifestyles, threatened wildlife and wildlife habitats are but a few of the associated problems.

Jewelers who want to make sure they do not contribute to the environmental damage of mining are choosing to sell the “greener” jewelry that has been manufactured from recycled metals. Does using only recycled metals ensure the gold in the rings you sell is completely “clean and green”? Probably not. All gold came from the earth at some point; there is no escaping this fact. But using recycled gold from a secondary refiner is using gold that has already paid its “environmental bill.”

Look at it this way. Your store sells wedding bands and you need to order more for your counter display. You can get them from a manufacturer who sources their gold from who knows where. This gold potentially carries the further environmental price tag that goes with virgin mined metals (estimates of twenty tons of solid waste per ounce of gold mined and five tons per ring are documented). Or you can purchase from a manufacturer who uses gold refined from surplus jewelry and scrap using eco-friendly refining processes and recycles it into new jewelry. In the latter option, the environmental bill has already been paid and you are making use of a resource we already have. With the former the environmental bill is getting higher, so why pay more? Simply put, the damage has been done, so why do more?

1 2 3 4 next




The bullion is sampled and tested to determine the amount of gold.
COVER: The bullion is sampled and tested to determine the amount of gold.
Gold scrap is melted into a bullion
Gold scrap is melted into a bullion to make a homogeneous mixture.
Jewelers buy scrap from consumers
Jewelers buy scrap from consumers to help make money during these tough economic times.
Refiners use fire assay
Refiners use fire assay, XRF, or AA (atomic absorption) to analyze jewelry scrap.
New refining techniques reduce chemical consumption by 80 percent, helping the environment.
New refining techniques reduce chemical consumption by 80 percent, helping the environment.
Refiners use scrubbers and water purification systems to keep the environment clean.
Refiners use scrubbers and water purification systems to keep the environment clean.