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Ecology and Jewelry: Can They Walk Hand in Hand?

Practically all jewelry are made from precious metals and stones. All precious metals and stones are mined from the bowels of the earth. Mining as we all know is very harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly jewelry is therefore quite a difficult concept to grasp.

How can there be such a thing as eco jewelry or green jewelry when the very method that was used to extract the raw materials from deep inside the earth destroys the environment? Gold mining statistics show for instance that producing a single gold ring generates 20 tons of mine waste, including cyanide! All that waste goes into rivers, polluting our precious water sources.

Oftentimes, an entire thriving ecosystem is lost along with all the trees that had to be destroyed to give way to the mines. It isn't a picnic for the mine workers either. Most of them suffer from mine-related health issues. Really, it kind of hurts your brain cells to reconcile the magnitude of the destruction with the beauty of these glittering baubles we all love so much.

As a science, Ecology is not actually synonymous with environment or environmentalism, but among other things it does attempt to explain the distribution of various life forms as they relate to the environment. One of its major applications include how we can manage our natural resources, including the way we mine for gold, silver and all precious rocks.

Mainly due to heavy pressure from environmental groups, some big mining companies are changing the way they operate. Wash plant processing for example is being replaced by more earth friendly methods like the gravity separation technology, which is said to reduce environmental pollutants.

Gold Recycling

The 2009 Gold Statistics, as published by the World Gold Council stated that the recycling of existing stocks of gold, those that are already in the form of jewelry, almost covered the global demand for it. Some 1700 tons of gold were melted and refined, while the demand was a little over 1750 tons. It means that our global stock is more than 95% sufficient to cover the demand.

A more dramatic example is Europe, which recycled 270 tons of gold while jewelry consumption was just over 200 tons. They have more than sufficient stock of gold already, so they won't be competing with the rest of the world for new gold.

As consumers, we also have a major role to play here. Everywhere, old jewelry is being made available to the gold market for recycling. Recycled gold is turned into what we can now call eco-jewelry.

If we all do our part, gold mining as we know will change forever, and we will practically eliminate its greatest environmental liability. Imagine getting your trusted local craftsman to fashion a new gold ring from an old necklace, you would have saved the earth 20 tons of mining waste!

Making a Personal Statement

Our love affair with gold does not have to cause further damage to our world. We can put this passion to good use by promoting further improvements in mining practices. We can support movements that seek to replant trees where they were eradicated due to open pit mining.

So how do you suppose we do that? Most people would wear t-shirts promoting reforestation projects, celebrities will promote their cause on TV and you? You can wear you eco-friendly (gold) jewelry everywhere you go. It will be your fashion statement, your own personal battle cry against destructive mining.

There are good sites on the internet for recycled gold or eco-jewelry. GreenKarat is one such site. They will accept your old gold pieces and turn them into new jewelry for you. BrilliantEarth is another, though they only do conflict-free diamonds. GreenOro is another leading provider of green jewelry, gold and diamonds alike. They track their jewelry from the source ensuring that the pieces they make did not cause any further damage to the environment.

For truly intricate pieces, you can go to Ka-Gold-Jewelry. They specialize in sacred and symbolic pieces that seek to inspire happiness, vitality, excitement and love in each and every person who wears them. Check out their Eco Jewelry Campaign. All proceeds from the sale of the Mother Earth pendant will go to various organizations that promote the preservation of our planet. Their largest donations to date have gone to TreesfortheFuture. This is a fine example of how you can make your jewelry a symbol of your passion to change the ways of the world. The Mother Earth pendant will be a strong statement of your commitment to this cause.

Does eco-jewelry still sound like an alien concept? Not anymore. All it needs is individual commitment, and it will start with you.