Recycled gold is often derived from existing jewelry, electronics, or industrial metals. Gold is one of the most consistently recycled of all materials and this practice is an effective way for industries to affirm their commitment to becoming eco-conscious.
Today, many jewelers choose to use recycled gold in their handcrafted jewelry. From gold engagement rings to gold bracelets adorned with natural diamonds, buying jewelry made from recycled metals is an ethical purchase that does not involve the use of immoral mining practices, child labor, or unsafe working conditions.
What is Recycled Gold?
Recycled gold is an eco-friendly way of ethically sourcing gold for use in certain products, such as jewelry. The use of recycled gold plays a key role in mitigating the demand for new materials and reducing the steadily growing landfills.
The jewelry industry benefits greatly from the use of recycled gold. Through responsible sourcing of metals, jewelers can create stunning rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other goods without incurring a significant loss in quality. Although there are some misconceptions surrounding recycled gold and whether it is “real,” the truth is that recycled gold is real gold and is just as high in quality as newly sourced gold.
Why is Gold Recycled?
While gold itself is a timeless gift, this precious metal is considered a limited resource. Instead of creating jewelry from new gold, it is often wiser to avoid waste and craft beautiful jewelry from recycled metals. According to the World Economic Forum, more than 34 kg of gold can be recovered for every one million cell phones that are recycled. Recycling gold is a viable alternative to gold mining that helps lessen the impact of businesses on the environment.
The amount of waste produced by gold mining is staggering. The creation of a single gold wedding ring can produce upwards of 20 tons of waste, according to a SPIEGEL interview. This waste often consists of toxic chemicals that can also contaminate local soil and water supplies. Gold mining can have devastating long-term consequences for the planet and its inhabitants.
Air pollution is another common problem caused by gold mining. Electricity produced by burning coal and fossil fuels during the mining process can create air pollution, greenhouse gases, and smog. Gold mines are often large-scale operations that involve the use of heavy machinery and vehicles that emit pollution into the air, creating an environmental hazard.
Gold mining also has a negative impact on wildlife. This practice destroys local habitats and important ecosystems due to pollution and the vast amount of land that is required for each mining project. These large-scale projects also use a significant amount of water resources. According to Circle of Blue, the average mining project requires 60,000 to 100,000 cubic meters of water per day.
Recycling gold is a cost-effective option to make gold more affordable in many different products, including fine jewelry. As gold can be recycled with minimal to no degradation in quality, it makes sense to invest in this sustainable solution to not only help the environment but to also create one-of-a-kind pieces that can be passed on from generation to generation.
How is Gold Recycled?
Yellow precious metals can be acquired from a wide range of sources, such as computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. They can also be melted down from gold coins and jewelry. To recover recyclable gold from these sources, industry professionals use a unique gold extraction process to remove the metal. Although the process can vary, it typically involves an acidic mixture that separates the gold from other materials.
Once the gold has been successfully extracted from its source, it is shifted again to ensure that all foreign materials have been removed. The gold is then melted down into a nugget, bar, or other solid form. This gold melting process typically involves a crucible where the metal can be safely melted at a high temperature. The temperature required to melt gold is based on its purity. For example, pure gold melts at 1,947.52 degrees F.
Gold is categorized based on purity before professionals proceed with gold melting. Pure gold does not contain impurities which means it would be separated from lower qualities of gold during the recycling process. Acid kits or electronic testers can be used to test the purity of gold. Recyclers can also choose to smelt impure gold to increase the impurity level.
After going through the recycling process, gold can be reused in a wide range of applications. From residential air conditioning units to catalytic converters in vehicles, businesses in nearly every industry have a use for gold. One of the most well-known uses of gold involves the creation of handcrafted jewelry. Recycled gold can be used in everything from custom engagement rings to modern rustic jewelry.
What to Look for in a Custom Jeweler
Consumers who consider themselves to be eco-friendly, minimalists, or simply conscious about their purchasing decisions should take great care when choosing a jeweler. Fine jewelry is an investment that you can enjoy for many years to come. Ensure that the jeweler you choose prioritizes sustainability, ethics, and transparency throughout the production process.
Chinchar Maloney is proud to use recycled metals in their handcrafted jewelry, including 14 karat yellow, white, and rose gold. We also use 18 karat and 24 karat gold upon request from customers. All diamonds and gemstones are also ethically sourced by dealers who strictly adhere to the Kimberley process. Chinchar Maloney uses only the highest quality rustic diamonds and gemstones, including the one-of-a-kind hand-cut sapphires found in their collection of Montana sapphire jewelry.
Shop Chinchar Maloney Jewelry
At Chinchar Maloney, we design and build unique handmade jewelry from recycled gold, naturally colored diamonds, and ethically sourced gemstones. As a family-owned and operated jeweler, we pride ourselves on delivering heirloom-quality fine jewelry backed by impeccable customer service.
For more information about how we use recycled gold in our jewelry collections or to schedule an appointment to visit our showroom, contact us at 503.946.8227 today.