Ethical metals are the green alternative to traditional mined metals. Products made with ethical metals like sterling silver ethical jewellery are equal in quality to items made with unrecycled metals making them a more desirable option to customers who care about human rights and the environment. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about ethical precious metals.
The History of ethical metals
To learn about the history of ethical metals, we should first look at the history of precious metals generally. Sadly, in the past, it has been commonplace for many companies and mines to have poor business practices. This has lead to instances of human rights abuse and poor sourcing of precious metals and gemstones.
Thankfully the tides are turning within many parts of the jewellery industry, from mining all the way to the shop floor. Provenance is important to us and our customers. We value the assurance that our products are not only made of the highest quality precious metals but we're also making a substantial contribution to mining communities by choosing to use ethical materials. From our custom jewellery design & commissions to our contemporary wearable sculpture art collections, all our metals are ethically sourced and purchased from reputable suppliers.
With lots of information readily available to consumers today, it’s only natural that they are engaged with the ethics of the precious metal and gemstone products that they buy. The rise in popularity of ethically produced designs has lead to large suppliers of bullion switching to selling only recycled metals.
Recycled precious metals are produced by collecting scrap metals, old unwanted jewellery, post-cremation implants, unwanted electronic devices, catalytic converters, and other manufacturing waste such as dental scrap. These items are then exposed to a refining process where the precious metals are separated. This was once a process that wasn't well known or practiced, but now it's widely used to produce recycled precious metals.
Types of Ethical Metals
A custom double finger ring made of ethically sourced sterling silver.
Sterling and other types of silver are valuable metals that can be recycled. Silver is often used in jewellery, like our ethically sourced earrings, ethical necklaces, ethically sourced rings and ethical bracelets. It can also be recycled into other products, such as coins or utensils. To recycle silver, it must be melted down and purified. This process can be done by a professional or at home with the right equipment.
Another Duxford Studios custom order, a wedding band made from recycled 9 carat yellow gold with an ethically sourced emerald.
Gold is another type of metal that can be recycled and reused. It is often recycled because it is valuable and can be reused to make jewellery and other fine objects. Gold is often recycled and used in jewellery making because it doesn't corrode or tarnish over time. To Recycle gold, it must be melted down and purified by a refinery, similar to silver.
Benefits of Ethical Metals
Recycling different types of metal helps to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfills around the world, and it also helps conserve our planets natural resources. Precious metal recycling preserves and exploits precious metals by using significantly less energy. The process also produces much less pollution in comparison to mine extraction of new materials which means it has a far smaller impact on the environment.
Core Scientific states that "recycling precious metals from high-value scrap, like dental scrap, implants, jewelry scrap, and medical devices, is 300 times better than electronic scrap recycling and mining, in terms of energy demand and global-warming potential. Still, recycling precious metals from electronic scrap is better than mining, and statistics show that approximately $10bn worth of gold, platinum, and other precious metals in electronic waste are dumped every year, polluting the planet."
Lower carbon footprint
Refineries which recycle precious metals often have local networks where they source their materials to convert back into precious metals. This means that these companies often have a lower carbon footprint than globally operating mines, making their processes and production more eco-friendly.
Unlike mining, refineries deal with metals that are no longer located miles underground. This means that their working practices are far safer than mining practices and the refineries we have working relationships have modern working practices which protect their staff.
Piece of mind
Duxford Studios is proud that our customers can be confident that their jewellery has been ethically sourced. When buying from us, you can be assured that your jewellery has had a positive impact on the environment and human rights.
Duxford Studio creates ethical handmade jewellery inspired by the human form,
modern culture, and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand
carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silver, gold vermeil, and other
precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website or get in contact about
a custom jewellery design commission. Need help choosing a piece? Read our
full guide on what to look for when buying jewellery on our blog page.