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Sylvera's Commitment to Responsible Gold and Metal Sourcing

Sylvera's Commitment to Responsible Gold and Metal Sourcing

The jewellery industry is under increasing scrutiny for its sourcing practices, particularly the use of "recycled gold." The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), which advocates for responsible mining practices among small-scale artisanal gold miners, has recently highlighted the misuse of this term. At Sylvera, we take immense pride in the meticulous sourcing of our gold and metals, ensuring they meet high ethical standards. This commitment aligns with ARM's mission and underscores the importance of transparency and responsibility in the jewellery industry.

Artisanal Mining


Artisanal mining is a crucial livelihood for approximately 100 million people worldwide, accounting for 2-3 percent of the global working population. Over the past decade, this sector has seen significant advancements, particularly in Central and South America, where co-operatives have been formed with the support of organisations like ARM and Fairtrade. These bodies have championed the development of mercury-free extraction methods, which yield significant social and environmental benefits. By promoting safer and more sustainable mining practices, these co-operatives are transforming artisanal mining into a force for good.


The Problem with Some “Recycled Gold”

Despite the progress in ethical mining practices, the jewellery industry faces challenges with the use of "recycled gold." Fairmined artisanal gold, though more expensive, represents a more responsible choice. However, many in the industry opt for cheaper "recycled gold," which can be bought in bulk. This preference for cost-saving over ethical sourcing introduces significant risks.

Current due diligence processes for recycled gold are inadequate, often stopping at the first supplier. This means that the origins of much recycled gold remain unverified, raising concerns about its legitimacy. Without proper oversight, recycled gold can re-enter the market from dubious sources, including sanctioned Russian producers, money launderers, tax evaders, conflict zones in Africa, and other criminal activities. Such risks highlight the importance of Sylvera's commitment to using fairmined gold, ensuring that our gold sourcing remains ethical and transparent.


Fairmined Gold

Fairmined gold adheres to rigorous standards designed to promote ethical mining practices. The Fairmined standard encompasses several critical areas:


Organisational Development

Fairmined gold is sourced through well-structured and legally compliant mining operations that are vital for fostering sustainable development within artisanal mining communities. These operations ensure that miners work within a regulated framework, which upholds legal standards and ethical practices. By adhering to legal guidelines, these mining operations not only mitigate environmental degradation but also promote fair labour practices, setting a benchmark for the industry.

A cornerstone of the Fairmined standard is the provision of a guaranteed minimum price for the miners. This financial safety net is crucial as it shields miners from volatile market fluctuations, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their labour. This stability enables miners to plan for their futures, invest in their communities, and improve their quality of life. The guaranteed minimum price fosters economic stability and encourages ethical practices, making mining a more viable and sustainable livelihood.

In addition to the guaranteed minimum price, miners receive an additional premium on fairmined gold. This premium serves as a market incentive, rewarding miners for their commitment to responsible mining practices. 


Environmental Protection

The environmental footprint of gold mining has long been a point of concern. Traditional large-scale mining operations often involve extensive land disruption, toxic chemical usage, and significant water pollution, all of which have detrimental impacts on local ecosystems and communities. In contrast, the Fairmined standard prioritises environmentally responsible practices, particularly in the context of small-scale mining operations.

Small Scale Mining Operations with Lower Environmental Impact

Fairmined gold comes from small-scale mining operations that inherently have a lower environmental impact compared to large-scale industrial mining. These operations are typically less invasive, as they avoid the large-scale land disruptions associated with major mining projects. Instead of sprawling mines that consume vast tracts of land, small-scale mines operate on a more manageable scale, limiting deforestation and preserving local biodiversity.

Protection of Water Supplies

If precautions aren’t taken, gold mining can have a terrible impact on water supplies

Water is a vital resource, and its protection is a critical aspect of the Fairmined standard. Small-scale mining operations under this standard are required to take measures to protect local water supplies. This includes preventing chemical runoff and ensuring that mining activities do not contaminate rivers, lakes, and groundwater. By implementing sustainable water management practices, these operations safeguard water quality for local communities and ecosystems, ensuring that mining activities do not compromise this precious resource.

A Positive Environmental Legacy

Fairmined gold mining operations strive to leave a positive environmental legacy. This means not only minimising the immediate impact of mining activities but also ensuring that the land is rehabilitated post-extraction. Reforestation projects, soil restoration, and the creation of conservation areas are some of the initiatives that Fairmined operations may undertake. These efforts help to restore the natural landscape and promote biodiversity, turning former mining sites into areas of ecological value. By doing so, Fairmined gold contributes to long-term environmental sustainability, demonstrating that responsible mining can coexist with nature.

Social Development

The Fairmined standard ensures that gold is not linked to conflict situations and prohibits child labour. It promotes gender equality and focuses on the wellbeing of mining communities, contributing to social development and improving the quality of life for those involved in mining. The Fairmined standard's impact on social development is profound, addressing several critical areas to ensure the wellbeing of mining communities. Firstly, it guarantees that the gold is not linked to conflict situations. In many regions, the extraction and trade of gold have been sources of financing for armed conflicts, contributing to prolonged violence and instability. Fairmined gold, however, is sourced from certified mines that adhere to strict protocols to ensure their operations do not contribute to such conflicts, thereby fostering peace and stability in mining regions.

Another cornerstone of the Fairmined standard is the eradication of child labour. In many artisanal mining communities, economic hardship often forces families to involve their children in hazardous mining activities, depriving them of education and exposing them to severe health risks. Fairmined certification ensures that these mines strictly prohibit child labour, enabling children to attend school and enjoy a safe, healthy childhood. This focus on education and child welfare helps break the cycle of poverty and sets the foundation for a more prosperous future for these communities.

Moreover, Fairmined certification places a strong emphasis on the overall wellbeing of the community. This includes investing in local infrastructure, healthcare, and education. The premium paid for Fairmined gold is often reinvested in community projects that enhance the quality of life for all residents. These projects might include building schools, clinics, or clean water facilities, all of which contribute to healthier and more vibrant communities.

Work Conditions

Fairmined gold standards ensure that artisanal miners work in conditions that prioritise their health, safety, and rights. At the heart of these standards is the recognition of workers' right to organise. This fundamental right allows miners to form unions or cooperatives, giving them a collective voice to negotiate better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Such organisation is crucial for fostering a sense of community and empowerment among miners, enabling them to advocate for their rights and improve their quality of life.

Stable employment is another critical aspect of fairmined gold. Unlike the precarious and often exploitative conditions found in many informal mining operations, fairmined gold ensures that miners have reliable and consistent work. This stability provides financial security for miners and their families, allowing them to plan for the future and invest in their communities. Stable jobs also reduce the likelihood of miners being forced into unsafe or illegal mining practices out of desperation.

Fairmined standards also address the broader social and economic conditions of mining communities. By ensuring fair wages and working conditions, these standards help to alleviate poverty and reduce social inequality. Miners are not only compensated fairly for their labour but also receive a premium that can be reinvested in community development projects, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure. This holistic approach fosters long-term social and economic development, transforming mining communities into thriving, sustainable economies.

At Sylvera, our commitment to ethical sourcing is unwavering. By choosing fairmined gold, we not only adhere to the highest standards of responsibility and transparency but also support the livelihoods of small-scale miners and protect the environment. In a market often marred by unethical practices, Sylvera stands out as a beacon of integrity, ensuring that every piece of jewellery we create has a positive impact on people and the planet.

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