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Why We Use Recycled and Fairmined Gold

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A single gold ring generates 20 tons of mine waste on average. This proves just how powerful our choices can be as jewelry collectors. And it’s just one reason why Thesis Gems & Jewelry strives to make ethically and sustainably mined gold easy for anyone to trace and own. 

Without careful regulation and fair trade policies, gold mining practices are disastrous for people and the environment. Find out how you can support grassroots movements to make gold mining safer and cleaner for mine workers and their communities for generations to come.

The Dangers of Conventionally Mined Gold

Not only does gold mining blast through tons of rock, transforming landscapes and habitats, it also pollutes water and soil and exposes workers to poisonous chemicals. Both large industrial mines and unregulated small-scale mines have poor safety standards and contaminate people and the environment with devastating effects. 

Mining is the number one contributor to mercury contamination worldwide. When mercury is used to refine gold, it’s not uncommon for miners to mix this neurotoxin with their bare hands and the excess is dumped on the ground or into the river, and the contamination spreads. Gold mines also dump hundreds of thousands of tons of cyanide and other toxic heavy metals each year. And when this reaches waterways, it spreads for hundreds of miles.

Join the Movement: Better Without Mercury

The workers at Gualconda mine in Colombia dreamed of a better, cleaner future for their community. They fought for ten years to stop using mercury at their mine and won, eliminating the use of mercury to process gold ore in 2017. Now they are focused on remediating the 400 tons of mercury contamination left behind in their land.

Better Without Mercury is a fundraising campaign to support a mercury cleanup project at Gualconda. The miners association, called La Fortaleza, is Fairmined certified and deeply committed to environmental responsibility and humane labor practices. 

At Thesis, we’re proud to champion the work of La Fortaleza because it is an excellent model for an industry that must take steps now to protect workers and their communities, as well as the environment.

How to Choose Ethical Gold Sources

As part of our commitment to social and environmental responsibility, Thesis only uses gold that has been recycled or sourced from Fairmined mines like La Fortaleza. Both options give you peace of mind that your jewelry purchase did not contribute to destructive mining practices. 

  • Recycled Gold. Did you know that precious metals can be recycled indefinitely, and don’t diminish in quality? If we recycled just a small percentage of all the gold that’s already been mined each year, we could stop mining it altogether. Until that happens, however, purchasing recycled gold is one way to encourage change in the mining industry. We buy recycled gold from a SCS certified facility, Hoover and Strong.
  • Fairmined Gold. As long as gold has value, there will always be demand for newly mined gold. That’s why we need organizations like Fairmined to help us identify the most ethical gold sources. Artisanal and small-scale mines receive the Fairmined assurance label after a rigorous third-party certification process to ensure the best social and environmental standards, including strict traceability requirements. And participating mining organizations are guaranteed a fair market price for their gold.


Make a Statement With Recycled and Fairmined Gold 

Whether you’re investing in your first piece of jewelry or you’re a seasoned collector, you have the power to make a valuable impact on the mining industry and the lives of gold miners globally. Support ethical and sustainable small-scale mining by purchasing recycled or Fairmined gold from a trustworthy source.

If you would like to own a piece of artisanal gold jewelry with traceable sources, reach out today.

We’d love to help you find or custom design a statement piece for you and your loved ones to treasure.