Gold and diamonds have been fought over and sought after for centuries, and the modern market is no different. With the increase of environmental destruction and the taking advantage of mine workers, we at Jaume Labro have made a promise to only purchase from ethical companies with transparent business practices and sources.
How is Gold Typically Mined?
A 2004 combined study by Earthworks and Oxfam America determined that nearly all arsenic emissions in the United States were caused by metal mining, along with 76% of all lead emissions. The United States already has strict environmental regulations in place, but stripping protective surface soil and utilizing dangerous chemicals still has a massive effect on the surrounding communities and ecosystems.
Gold mining has some shocking consequences. For instance, creating a standard gold ring results in as much as 20 tons of toxic waste. Due to the mining industry’s use of cyanide to extract gold, entire ecosystems and water systems are at risk for poisoning, and blasting can collapse entire mountains and rock formations.
Mining Gold in Developing Nations
When it comes to the extraction of precious metals in remote regions of developing nations, it’s much harder to determine the scope of pollution in the soil, ground and surface water, and the effects on the surrounding environment due to the lack of government oversight. What’s more, the sources of mined materials are rarely tracked. Without understanding their origins, it’s incredibly difficult to produce an adequate system which monitors precious metal mining standards, and most materials purchased by jewelers today help to perpetuate the enormous problem facing these mining communities by purchasing directly from multi-national corporations.
Why Ethical Gold Matters
At Jaume Labro, we refuse to work with gold obtained through child labor, war or rebellion, or anti-environmental policies.
With so much gold currently available on the free market, Labro believes that it’s overlooked as an effective, eco-friendly alternative to mining. In fact, eco-friendly gold recycling is one of the most ethical methods to produce jewelry. Labro’s gold is smelted to separate and remove impurities. With this now-perfectly pure recycled gold, our master goldsmiths create gorgeous and strong alloys to stand the test of time. With any ethical gold jewelry piece, you’re not only giving metal another chance to delight you and your loved ones: you’re wearing an object devoid of negative associations.
Why Sustainable Diamonds Matter
Much like precious metals, diamond mining tends to have dire consequences for entire communities. For centuries, diamonds have been used to finance wars and rebellions, and impoverished populations have been affected very dramatically. Though the Kimberley Process has shined a light on the murky diamond trade, it’s not enough.
What Does the Kimberley Process Entail?
Eighty-one countries participate in ethical diamond purchasing in order to avoid sponsoring rebel groups. When purchasing diamonds, however, it’s often impossible to determine the gemstones’ origins. The Kimberley Process provides certification for mined stones, but this only applies to entire shipments of diamonds, and not individual ones that can easily be smuggled and sold on the black market. Many experts remark that the Kimberley is simply a smokescreen that obliquely continues to support the status quo. Furthermore, it does not address the exploitation of workers nor the very serious environmental hazards caused by mining.
How Do Jaume Labro Diamonds Differ?
Finding and sourcing ethical, eco-friendly diamonds is a difficult business, but at Jaume Labro, we believe that the hard work is worth it to create sustainable jewelry. When starting on his gemstone cutting education, Jaume Labro traveled to multiple continents to gain hands-on experience from local laborers. He learned that fair pay for dangerous work was not only deserved – it was a necessity.
Basing our business model on Jaume’s experience, we track each stone on its journey from the mine to our production line, and only purchase diamonds from ethical sources who support their workers, pay fair wages, and do their part to protect the environment. From there, we create fine diamond jewelry, knowing that we’ve put as much effort into our sourcing as we put into our Mokume Gane technique.
How Jaume Labro Gives Back
“Going green” is more than a trend: it’s our duty to the environment and individuals dependent on those environments. When you choose your next jewelry piece, select a company that protects and gives back to the communities that depend on the mining and sale of these materials.
We don’t just source our materials from ethical sources: we give back to those communities, too. For every purchase, Jaume Labro donates 2.5% of profits to one Sierra Leone educational fund like the Wara Wara Community Schools Project and another 2.5% to the Forest Protection Program that seeks to replant the Platbos forest. We’ll even give you the GPS coordinates of the tree you were responsible for planting!
At Jaume Labro, we aim for 100% sustainable practices and production. We pride ourselves on our efforts to track gemstones and metals from the mines, working only with companies of equally high ethics, and packaging our fine jewelry with recycled and recyclable materials.
Browse through Jaume Labro’s Mokume Gane sustainable jewelry pieces and help us make a difference in the world.