One of the real gems I found in my gold prospecting was a feature in the Swedish program Kobra on Swedish television station SVT about ethical gold. Gold is easily taken as pure and virgin although this is not the truth.
Questions about the raw gold has since education been a part of the path that the Swedish Jewelry Designer Titti Bjernér at Ekoguld with the shop Tiny Masters in Stockholm, has travelled. Often met by both ignorance and resistance. On her journey with the gold she has since 2005 chosen to use ethic gold. Not to compromise and be persistent has been well awarded. During 2012 Fairtrade Sweden launched certification for Jewelers and Titti is the first one and only Fairtrade certificated Jeweller in Sweden!
In traditionally smallscale, illegal and non-fairtrade mining the gold is extracted with strong chemicals like cyanid and mercury. The strong chemicals are used to extract gold grains from soil more efficiently. In return the ecosystem is disturbed. The workers are often young and there is no use of masks or protective clothing. Gold extraction often leads to mercury poisoning with nerve damage to both adults, children and fetuses when treatment is often done in the home.
Producers among the ones Ekoguld uses at the time are Cotapata coop in Bolivia and Sotrami in Peru which have a more environmentally friendly treatment and with fair working conditions. The ethical gold is more expensive and is delivered as gold grains which takes more time and effort to process. The demand has increased steadily although it makes the final product about 30% more expensive.
For the customer there is always the alternative at Ekoguld to use recycled gold if that is more convenient and it is also possible to get a photo documentation of the process.
Wow, isn´t that brave to break new ground and dedicate oneself to something with both internal and external beauty! A braveness that sometimes also means being exposed to harsh criticism and to stand strong when the wind blows. That is a kind of engagement one would like to see more often in the jewelry and fashion industry as a whole. What if a reasonable share of the luxury consuming of gold went back to nature? A nature that so willingly shares her most delicate and valuable gifts. Even a tiny step is a step towards a better future. Which is your next step?
A quote by Titti från the TV program Kobra about the use of non-ethic gold:
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”When you think of how much of the gold
we use to produce wedding rings as a symbol of love…
then it becomes pretty contradictory…
It does not feel completely pure.”
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