Recycled Metals Benefits
There are many ways that the lab grown diamonds that we produce at Jack Joseph are substantially better for the environment than mining diamonds, but recycling metals is one of the more direct ways we can make a difference. While just the act of producing lab diamonds instead of mining diamonds already alleviates some detriments caused by the diamond industry, making a conscious effort to use recycled materials is a major way for us to show our dedication to sustainability.
Jeweling uses a lot more mined materials than just the gems. Silver and gold are minerals with just as troubling a sourcing process as diamonds. It would be contradictory of us to pride the positives of lab grown diamonds while supporting the mining processes of other materials we use. This direct action of sustainability allows us to set a standard for the rest of our operations. When it comes to the metals we use, we maintain a standard of using recycled metal for as much of our production as we can. This allows us to not only provide a beautiful product, but permits us to reuse a limited resource.
Why Should We Use Recycled Metals?
The kinds of precious metals that we need for jeweling lend themselves to being recycled as they can be refined down to their original material for continued use. By recycling golds, silvers, platinums down into their pure element they can be reused with the same level of quality as their original use.
When it comes to the source of recycled metals, they usually come from one of three places: old jewelry, industrial metals, or computer components. All of these sources offer a wealth of metals that would be wasted if not for the new life they are given through recycling.
Old jewelry could be scratched, broken or just out of style. Unless it holds great importance to someone it’s often not worth refurbishing to its original look. That being said, it is far from being useless junk. The metals used were valuable enough to make a beautiful piece of jewelry once and they can easily be used for that purpose again. Precious metals are still primarily used for jeweling but industrials and electronic uses are the next biggest use for them.
When it comes to industrial metals, they often offer only a temporary use in their original purpose. Whether it be dental fillings that no longer serve a purpose or worn-down machinery, the lifespan of industrial metals can also be extended through recycling.
We all know that electronics are constantly being outdated or breaking down. Electronics can be hard to recycle but the alternative of them ending up in a landfill is far more detrimental. These electronics can still hold value even if they aren’t the newest smartphone or laptop. Most of the valuable metals that we can use for recycling come from the hardware inside the devices. Because these microchips and processors are hidden behind sleek casing consumers don’t usually think about their potential value.
Many of the same metals used for jeweling, gold especially, are used in these electronics. When we live in a world of hyper consumerism that has manifested heavily in electronics and having the newest technology, it leaves behind a lot of lost potential. If you think back on all of the generations of technology that have come and gone in your lifetime you can see just how much recycling potential is out there.
The Consequences of Not Using Recycled Metals
If we weren’t going to use recycled metals, we would come across a lot of the same issues that face mining diamonds. The biggest and most obvious issue is that these minerals are non-renewable resources. We are conscious that mining industries have existed for centuries and if we hope to still have access to these minerals centuries from now, we need to be careful with how we utilize these supplies today. For as much as we want to use exclusively recycled metals there is still a need for mining new metals in order to fulfill all of the needs of these metals across all industries. If we want to be able to live our lives as we do for years to come it’s important to conserve our efforts in the present day.
Some of the most detrimental costs of mining are the environmental and socioeconomic costs on communities around the world. Mining is a huge operation that takes a large workforce and access to a substantial amount of land. Because of this, areas rich with minerals become a homogeneous society based around mining. Especially when it comes to smaller and poorer countries around the world, mining can become the dominant force in their economy.
Having a singular economy of any industry is a risky strategy but it is even more detrimental when it comes from natural resources that are limited in their supply. Many times, when a mine runs dry it leaves behind a workforce who has known only mining their whole life and a substantial portion of their land intensely impacted. Many NGOs have tried helping these communities by teaching farming and helping reclaim the land but this is not an overnight process.
When a country relies so heavily on one industry for the majority of their economy, they often have more relaxed regulation when it comes to labor practices and environmentalism. A big reason why western manufacturers source their metals from these nations is that they can get them at a lower price due to the lower wages and lack of safety standards. These excruciating and unethical practices can lead to devastating damages to the topography. Whether it be erosion that leads to topsoil polluting streams and rivers within the area or mass deforestation, the effects of mining can affect more than just the immediate ecosystem. Depending on the climate of these mining communities’ mines will often become breeding grounds for mosquitos, leading to a spread of disease throughout the area.
Our Recycling Efforts
Recycling metals is more than just a trend of consciousness. We want to make sure our actions support our message. By recycling we can ensure everything that goes into our jewelry is as much an alternative to the status quo as possible. By offering lab grown diamond jewelry with recycled metal structuring we can show that it is possible to still have a beautiful piece of admiration without supporting abuse and destruction.
We love the joy that diamonds bring people but are not blind to the issues that surround this industry. We want to make sure that joy can still be shared without having sharing in the problems of the world. By supporting the act of recycling metals and trying to make it our primary source of metals, we hope we can help shift industry and public perception about jeweling and how these pieces come to be. Letting the public know there is a sustainable way to provide engagement rings, opulent earrings, or other gifts of adoration is something that brings us joy as we can continue to provide these treasures for years to come.