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Why I Work with Ethical Recycled Gold and Silver and Fair Trade Gemstones

I believe strongly in working as much as possible with ethical, recycled gold and silver and fair trade gemstones, to do my bit to try and reduce the amount of damage to the environment.

The jewellery industry has always relied heavily on exploiting the Earth’s resources, via the mining of precious metals and gemstones. Mining is very damaging to the environment - for example - to produce one gold band, five tonnes of environmental waste are produced. This waste pollutes the top soil as well as nearby water sources, affecting the health of local communities and wildlife.

Recycled Gold and Silver Resources

Being passionate about jewellery but knowing the negative impact that mining brings, my jewellery is wherever possible made with 100% recycled conflict-free gold and Sterling silver and ethical/fair trade gemstones. My gold is obtained from a refining source in the USA, which processes old reclaimed jewellery and jewellers’ scrap - coins etc. The Sterling silver is obtained in the UK and is processed from 100% scrap silver via a fully audited process.

Fair Trade and Ethical Gemstones

The terms ‘fair trade’ and ‘ethical’ in describing gemstones are somewhat subjective at the present time. There are no established guidelines for fair trade gemstones and therefore companies that supply such gemstones cannot be registered with the World Fair Trade Organization. However I try to only use gemstone suppliers who are transparent about the origins of their gems.

I work with a UK owned fair trade ruby, pink sapphire and spinel supplier that owns mines in Tanzania. They pay a fair wage to their miners, providing them with safety equipment as well as making sure there is minimal impact on the environment both during and after mining. They also work closely with the local community and charities by supporting local children’s homes and orphanages.

My fair trade coloured sapphire supplier has been established for several years. He only supplies gemstones from small, family owned mines. He regularly visits the mines and has established good working relationships with the miners based on fair pay.

I obtain several other types of gemstones from a supplier that owns mines in Africa (Malawi). They also work with similar semi-precious gemstone suppliers that have the same levels of transparency.

My cabochon (smooth gemstones) suppliers are based in the US and are experienced lapidaries, cutting the stones themselves. They obtain their rough from local (usually their own mines), using only traditional methods to extract the gems.

Conflict Free Diamonds

All of my diamonds are 100% conflict-free in accordance with the Kimberley Process and are purchased from a reputable supplier. For absolute peace of mind, I also use Fair Trade Canadian diamonds and even recycled diamonds. These larger stones are available on request.

A less expensive alternative to natural diamonds is lab-created moissanite. Moissanite is a natural mineral which was discovered (in tiny quantities) in meteorites. It has similar qualities to diamond, with an intense sparkle. I can also use other lab-created stones, such as emerald, ruby, sapphire and alexandrite. Using lab created gemstones has much less impact on the environment than mined stones.

I love to create simple, unique and very special designs using environment friendly metals and gemstones, which will give pleasure and last for years. If you have questions about any of my jewellery please contact me at and I will get straight back to you.

Columbia Gem House

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