Responsibly Sourced Gold Engagement Rings

Feb. 20 2014
A group in South America is striving to imbue the market with responsibly sourced gold engagement rings. Learn about their efforts below.

Millie and I took Lemon Tree for a walk last night and had a really good discussion about ethically sourced gold and the concern for the preservation of ethical mining and responsible sourcing. She may come across as a little dippy at times but Millie knew her stuff.

Choose Your Gold Responsibly

In modern society, and particularly in Western countries, the concern for our environment is behind the formation of many different active groups and organizations. Millie believes that for every ‘necessary evil’ committed by a company or institution, there are several others striving to reverse that situation and ensure that our planet stays protected and balanced.

She had a far off look in her eyes and I knew she was thinking about the protests and stand-offs she had been involved in when we were back at university, all in the name of protecting the planet.

It came as no surprise to me to discover that the field of metal mining had one of these organisations campaigning for the correct and ethical practices involved in the industry. Dubbed Oro Verde (Spanish for ‘green gold’), this mine is based around the Chocó bioregion of Colombia in South America, and this group actively tries to reverse the noxious effects of modern metal mining on the environment and feed the market with responsibly-sourced gold engagement rings.

Jon-Dibben

Ring Using Ecological Platinum Mined at Oro Verde, designed by Jon Dibben

I knew about blood diamonds and the issues surrounding diamond mining but I was unaware that the gold-mining industry was also open to corruption.

We stopped and sat on a bench and threw sticks for Lemon Tree until he got bored and ran off into the woods to explore. I asked Millie how this particular group managed to preserve the ethical practices behind gold mining and how they managed to hold the bigger companies at arm’s length. She had the answer on the tip of tongue.

She explained that as a means to achieve this, the group of miners who make up this organisation have chosen to take up traditional forms of mineral mining.

Following the techniques used by their grandparents in decades gone by, they employ non-harmful procedures.

These include panning, digging, flow water mining and direct immersion in streams – techniques that comply with a dozen environmental and social criteria established by traditional gold and platinum mining communities, and these are enforced whenever possible.

People who commission designers who source the metal for their gold engagement rings from this group, like many of our own Favourite Designers, can therefore rest assured that their jewellery has been created without any major consequence to the environment or the bio-diversity of the region.

Who Started This Project?

The motivation for this project was born from the blazing evidence of the horrors that modern mining was causing to the eco-system of the Chocó rain forest. Like most rainforests, Chocó (which spreads through three countries, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia) is an extremely delicate eco-system that is being devastated by constant mechanized mining for gold and other precious metals.

Meadow Ring Using Ecological Platinum from Oro Verde Mines, designed by Jon Dibben

Meadow Ring Using Ecological Platinum from Oro Verde Mines, designed by Jon Dibben

The Oro Verde group’s mission is to stop the rapid deterioration of the area by shunning corporate mining and enforcing the livelihood of local landowners and artisanal miners. I was impressed, especially when I considered what these farmers would be up against in the wrath of multi-million dollar companies.

Millie went on to tell me that the organisation is supported by a series of local foundations and official entities, as well as a handpicked selection of jewellers that craft gold engagement rings and other jewellery out of the responsibly sourced gold provided by Oro Verde.

18k yellow Fairtrade gold ethical cognac diamond ring by Amanda Li Hope

18k yellow Fairtrade gold ethical cognac diamond ring by Amanda Li Hope

I was actually horrified to learn that the gold mining industry was so corrupt and relied on these small groups to maintain its credibility as an eco-sensitive business. There was no way I was going to be investing in a ring that I wasn’t a hundred per cent sure was ethically sourced. I hope that more and more people become aware of the issues regarding gold mining and make steps to source their gold from organisations that proactively want to protect the environment while mining gold in a responsible way.

Thanks again Millie for an enlightening dog walk.

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