Since having my daughter six months ago, I’m increasingly worried about the state of the world she’ll grow up in. And after watching the documentary HOME my worries have turned to a massive fear.
There are so many ways that everyone can contribute to changing the world we live in. One of them is stop consuming so excessively. When it comes to jewellery buying, people always think of the sparkly, shiny end product you wear around your neck, wrist or finger. Not about the fact that when mining gold only 0.00001% (one hundred thousandth of 1 percent) of ore is refined into gold, the rest is waste. And to explain why this is bad I’ll quote ethical jeweller Avasarah:
In the US, metals mining was the top polluter in the most recent data.Creating 46% of all toxic waste of ALL industries combined. 96% of arsenic emissions and 76% of all lead emissions.
Some toxins come from the ore itself e.g. heavy metals like mercury,arsenic, selenium and lead often drain out of the piles of waste rock. Others are introduced intentionally during extraction. Called ‘heap leaching’ the ore is crushed, piled into heaps and sprayed with cyanide. This trickles through the ore bonding with the gold. This solution is then processed to separate the gold and cyanide which gets stored in industrial ponds for reuse. This is an ongoing process with one layer of ore being layered over the other. This goes on for decades and results in the almost inevitable contamination of the surrounding environment.
So if you still feel the need to buy jewellery after watching HOME, make the right choice and buy either vintage pieces, jewellery made out of alternative materials or jewellery from an ethical jeweller like Avasarah or Oria. Their work is commendable and should be both praised and encouraged!
Blood diamond made the general public aware of what a horrifying industry diamond mining is. What people are less aware of is what a dirty, dirty business gold mining is. Dirty being the operative word since it causes enormous amounts of pollution.
We should therefore count our lucky starts for jewellery designers that care just as much about the environment as great design. One of these are Anglo-Norwegian design duo Oria, who not only use ethically sourced metals and stones but also highlights some of the world’s endangered animals in their silver collection.
Images courtesy of oriajewellery.co.uk