Mining the planet for precious metals has had devastating effects on communities and on the place we all call home: Earth. At Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry, we dream of an industry where all the facets that make up your jewelry—the precious metals, diamonds, and even gemstones—are 100% recycled.
We have made tremendous gains in this area as an industry, but there is still a way to go—and we are proud to be part of the force moving us all toward a brighter, greener future.
Just like plastic—which we also encourage you to reduce, reuse, and recycle—recycled precious metals are a thing. (Spoiler: we use them!)
The vast majority of Earth’s gold has been mined with relatively few mining regions left scattered around the world. While the deleterious effects of mining (water pollution, handling of dangerous chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, inhumane labor practices, and more) will be felt for decades to come, there’s a silver lining: we don’t really need to mine new gold. So much is aboveground already, and once it’s up here, it can be recycled over and over again.
Pure gold is an extraordinary element in this regard. In addition to being infinitely recyclable, it is also resistant to tarnishing, nearly indestructible, and just as malleable as it was the day it was pulled out of the ground.
Since the beginning of Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry, we have always sought precious metal options that don’t require mining, which makes recycled metals our top choice. Precious metals matter—but Earth more so.
That’s why we source all metals in our jewelry only from reputable, ethically and environmentally conscious vendors whose precious metals are SCS-certified 100% recycled content.
This certification comes from SCS Global Services, a renowned, international third-party group that verifies and validates environmental claims of sustainability.
Although repurposing seems simple, the process is quite complex. To melt down old gold, the jewelry must be sent off for expensive testing to determine the precise metal content—that is, what exact metals are in your gold and in what exact percentages. Gold is often alloyed into various karats i.e. mixed with other metals to make it stronger.
This is important because the different metals inside your gold have different melting points and behave differently during casting. Jewelers have to know what’s inside before anything can be done.
Unfortunately, due to the machinery needed to analyze and melt down rings, we cannot do this here at our studio for you. Using your old gold to recast without the proper equipment would compromise the strength of the new piece of jewelry, and we don’t want your future heirloom to break—or worse, forever lose a beloved center stone.
Fair-trade precious metals differ from recycled metals in that fair-trade metals come from small-scale, artisanal mining operations around the world. We recognize and appreciate the value artisan miners bring to their communities and are appreciative that their efforts are becoming more recognized and paid for fairly.
However, to minimize our environmental impact whenever and wherever possible, we use recycled metals as much as we can. This ensures each piece of jewelry we make affects our beautiful planet as little as possible since no additional mining is occurring
We value recycling in all facets of our studio, even including recycled diamonds, and seek to encourage the industry at large to change decades-old harmful mining practices. Together, jewelers and clients alike, we can each do our part to build a better world and wear her most beautiful creations with pride.
Learn more about our environmental practicesoremail firstname.lastname@example.org any questions you have about us, jewelry, sustainability, or more. We’d love to hear from you!