The jewelry sector

More than half of the global gold demand comes from jewelry. From this part, China and India take another half of the demand, depending on traditional festival seasons. We can ask ourselves the question whether jewelry is nothing more than a luxury item, concerning status and image. The price that afflicted communities pay for this, runs way too high.

While gold does not satisfy one of the basic needs, it does destroy basics needs such as access to (clean) drinking water, housing, freedom of speech, etc. The average gold ring creates a waste production of 20 to 60 tons. The water use to extract one gram of gold, can rise to 10,000 litres.

Some data show that around 40% of the gold that jewelers use comes from recycling. It is easy to find a retailer who wants to buy old jewelry. At the moment a gram of gold has a value of around 30 Euros. This gold will most likely return to circulation.

With this campaign, we want to be in touch with the jewelry sector, in order to exchange visions on sustainable jewelry. Market research in Flanders and Netherlands showed that 60% of the respondents do want to pay a bit extra for gold mined in an ecologically and socially responsible way. The organization Earthworks explained that responsibly mined gold does not need to have a higher price; the extra value should be calculated for the mining industry and retailers, instead of the consumers. The risk of sustainable jewelry is that a new consumer market will be created, instead of a ‘greening’ of the original market.

The jewelry sector is a big user and can play an important role in the treatment of mining problems. If they decide to look more collectively for sustainable alternatives and refuse to buy newly mined gold as a product, high pressure can be put on the mining industry. The big advantage for the jewelry sector is that they can improve their image. Among others, in Netherlands and Great Britain ‘green gold’ is available on the market, the source of this gold can be described as socially and ecologically responsible.