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Chris Boland Designs

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An Ethical Statement

I’ve never used the ethics of jewellery making in the description or marketing of my work. I see far too much greenwashing of bland and poor quality jewellery. That’s not so say that I think there aren’t problems with the industry, and I do what I can to avoid exploitative practises.

The mining of gold, at its worst, is terrible for the environment. There are a lot of problems with the tractability of this precious metal. Much of the problems are intrinsic to the fluid nature of the supply chain, especially the secondary supply chain.

The gold I use is has been 100% recycled and more recently, sourced from a single origin responsible mine in Mali.

Silver has been one of the most widely recycled metals since antiquity. Any virgin metal in the alloy is generally mined as a by-product of industrial copper and nickel mining. I see very little ethical issues with the use of silver in jewellery

The precious gemstone trade does have some significant ethical issues, there are many articles critical of gemstones being a major source of conflict around the world. Most of the stones I use are artisan mind semi-precious (although, I’ve always hated that term) and aren’t of significant enough value to fund war or launder money. Where I do use precious stone (diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and ruby) I use ‘fair mined’ stones.

My recent work used cultured pearl. I believe pearls to be the most ethical of gems. They are the only gem to have a net positive impact on the planet. From cleaning water to providing a de facto no fishing zone.  I will be writing more on pearls soon

A note of recycled materials- it’s a intriguing and complicated ethical question as to whether it’s best to use recycled or newly mined. Gold can very easily be recycled. I worry that we could be buying gold mined in the worst possible way, only for it to remelted a few years later and sold as recycled. In the past, I’ve been offered an ‘ethical’ diamond taken jewels from the 1700s. The stone was mined in Brazil when all the mining was done by African slaves. I don’t think I could ever knowingly use a stone mined is such a way, I passed on the stone.

I would argue that it’s far more ethical to invest in newly mined material and only buy from responsible producers.

This is an ongoing process for myself and all the jewellery industry as a whole. I don’t think anyone has a complete ethical vision and there is always more we can do. I welcome any comments on this you may have and I will include them in any revisions of this statement.