Recycled Gold in Jewelry

Recycled Gold in Jewelry
Here's some gold scrap from our shop that we'll send into the refiner. There's nothing special about recycled gold. It doesn't prevent more gold mining. Jewelers have been recycling precious metal for thousands of years.
At a Glance
  • Gold is a metal that symbolically represents divine radiance.
  • Our fairtrade gold is the most precious gold you can have for your jewelry or wedding rings.
  • For rings, we're partial to 18K yellow gold and 14K white gold.
Human beings have for millennia, been obsessed with gold. For the ancients, gold represented the generous radiance of the sun and was associated with royalty. The alchemist's conversion of lead to gold was taken as metaphor for transforming the base elements of human consciousness into divine perfection.

Gold is an ideal metal for wedding rings; not only because of its radiance, but also for its malleability. It is one of the softest metals, which makes it easy to transform into jewelry. Metaphorically, malleability can represent a good quality in a long marriage.

Gold is represented on the periodic table as au and is the 79th element.

Recycled Gold Jewelry: Using recycled gold in jewelry has symbolic meaning, but does not impact mining practices world wide.

Gold is also a foundation of modern capitalism, and the quest for it has built and destroyed entire civilizations. Mining gold remains one of most destructive human activities on earth.

Large-scale mining displaces communities and destroys the environment. Small-scale mining is a social and environmental disaster.

Our company was one of the first jewelry companies to recognize the social and environmental issues around gold mining and to take action. We started by moving our supply chain to 100% recycled with its jewelry production in 2006. Even now, we will buy gold at 93% market value from our customers and apply the dollars toward the purchase of a new fairtrade gold ring or other piece of jewelry. However, we recognized that while using recycled gold has symbolic significance and makes people more conscious of jewelry sourcing issues, it does nothing to impact mining practices around the world. Gold mining will continue regardless of how many jewelers use recycled precious metal.

Fifteen million small-scale miners around the world typically live in poverty and toxicity. They mine in order to eat. Now, we can help them. Fairtrade gold is mined in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. It gives small-scale miners and their families the opportunity to be paid a fair price and to build their futures, investing in schools, better working conditions and improved healthcare.

We were among the first to offer fairtrade gold in the US in 2011. We have been working to bring it into the broader US market, most recently as Fair Trade's main commercial liaison in the North American market. In April 2015, we became the first licensed fairtrade jeweler in the US.

Fairtrade gold is by far the best gold to use for any piece of jewelry. It is far and away the most precious gold in the world.

We buy gold at 93% market value from our customers toward the purchase of a new fairtrade gold ring or other fairtrade gold jewelry.

Gold Purity
Gold used in jewelry fabrication is mixed with other metals to give it greater durability, hardness and its particular color. The letter, 'K' is used to indicate the actual quantity of pure gold, which is measured in 24ths. In the US, parlance stands for karat.
  • 24 karat = 100% pure gold: Too malleable and soft for jewelry.
  • 22 karat = 91.7% gold: Not recommended for jewelry that is worn every day and that would get a lot of wear.
  • 18 karat = 75% gold: Considered "fine" jewelry. Suitable for rings, depending upon your life style.
  • 14 karat = 58.3% gold: Suitable for all jewelry.
Gold Colors
White gold is simply yellow gold mixed with a combination of alloys; including nickel, manganese or palladium. Our white gold does have nickel in it, but we can alloy with just palladium upon request.

Rose Gold is created by utilizing copper as an alloy.
14K vs. 18K Yellow Gold
Regarding wedding rings, if you regularly engage in activity that is extremely rough on your hands, we recommend going with a 14K gold ring. These rings have more alloys and are much stronger, more durable and less expensive.

The 18K yellow has wonderful richness and luster. Though it is softer than 14K gold, it is still very durable and we recommend it highly as the best choice
14K vs. 18K White Gold
Many jewelry companies recommend 18K white because it costs more than 14K. The 18K white gold is oftencoated with rhodium, a white metal, which eventually needs to be re-plated, which can be cumbersome.

We use a special 18K white gold alloy that does not require plating.

With white gold, we recommend 14K, which has more alloy and therefore is "whiter". It is also less expensive and more durable.
Gold rings can be cleaned using soap, water and a soft bristle tooth bush. A simple polishing cloth from a jeweler will help complete the process and bring the gold back up to a fine luster.

If your gold ring is antiqued, do not clean with bleaching agents.