I had an enquiry the other day from someone asking about whether we supplied conflict free gold and if we can prove authenticity of source.
As a company we are constantly trying to source conflict free materials however gold is problematical.
A high proportion of the gold alloys produced by smelters and bullion companies comes from recycled gold. On occasions they have to top up their supply and this is generally got from banks which could have been stored in vaults for years. As gold has been recycled for not only hundreds, but thousands of years, then it is quite possible that a small percentage of the gold in circulation at present came from the Romans or even the Egyptians.
How ethically sourced do you think this would have been?
Then there is Hitler’s gold ! How much of that is in circulation? It really is impossible to know, just as it is impossible for those in the jewellery trade to identify the source of any gold.
I have watched a number of documentaries on TV dealing with the unethical way gold is mind in some places in Africa. Using children to go down narrow openings and these children then using mercury to separate out the gold from the earth and rock. The gold readily attaches itself to the mercury creating an amalgam. The children then burn off the mercury which vaporises at a relatively low temperature. The children are exposed to this vapour and the sight of these children on the TV suffering from mercury poisoning was harrowing to say the least!
Having had these images etched into my brain I do all I can to make sure we source any conflict free and ethically sourced materials that are available.
To this end the bullion company we use assures us that the gold used in their alloys is 100% recycled gold.
Above are 2 invoices from the main bullion company we use and it clearly states against the gold bullion items; ‘100% recycled gold.’
You will notice there is no such statement against the platinum items. This is because there is no issue with platinum as it cannot be mind in the same way as gold. Platinum exists in a black ore and it takes a lot of refining in an industrial scale to extract the platinum – 2 tonnes of ore is required to produce 1 ounce of platinum.
We do try to do our best to use ethically sourced and conflict free materials but sometimes it is not as straight forward as it may seem.