1. New Zealand Alluvial Gold. Gold that's eroded out of mountains by water and then collected by people. The way it's collected varies from small-scale fossickers to river dredgers to large-scale gravel deposit mining.
All these methods have an impact, but in no way does it compare to the devastation of traditional hard-rock mining. Hard rock mining involves excavating gigantic pits and dumping tanks full of cyanide onto crushed rock to extract the gold. Gross. It can also produce up to 20 tonnes of mining waste PER RING.
Alluvial gold is a totally different story. Even the biggest operations, using large scale machinery, have a much lower impact than hardrock mining. The main chemical used is water and since it all comes from New Zealand, we don’t have to worry about the exploitation of workers or the environment - something which can be a huge issue with traditionally mined gold in other parts of the world.
2. New Zealand Beach Gold. This is our most local option. It’s still alluvial gold, but collected from black sand beaches on the west coast near where we live. Ash’s Dad Jim has worked collecting gold in this way, so we know exactly where it comes from. He buys it directly from the source and then delivers it to us as a solid gold bar. You can read about the process and see photos of the beach where it comes from here.
It costs a bit more than our other gold as Ash fabricates the metal himself right here in our workshop. This means the metal isn't refined in the traditional way. Because of this, the gold can sometimes have some surface imperfections. These in no way affect the structure of the piece, but tell the story of the where the metal comes from.
3. Recycled Sterling Silver, Palladium and Platinum. This comes from old jewellery, silverware, industrial recycling and workshop scraps and sweepings from jewellery making.
We use only recycled heirloom diamonds from a wonderful company in US called Hoover and Strong .
We have a lovely supplier in the US that provides us with gemstones that are mined ethically and are traceable, which means we know the whole life of the stone from the ground to the cutting facility.
People often overlook how important it is to know who cuts their gemstones. There are sweatshop-like cutting facilities around the world that exploit their workers in terrible ways. Please read the Fair Trade Statement of our coloured gemstone supplier.