The Difference Between Fairmined Gold and Recycled Gold

Model wearing Fairmined Gold Long Necklace - Juraster

Gold, a precious metal that has been treasured for centuries, is now available in two types that are attracting attention: Fairmined gold and recycled gold. Both types of gold offer unique benefits and have varying impacts on the environment and society. In this blog post, we'll delve into the differences between Fairmined gold and recycled gold, exploring their advantages and disadvantages.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Fairmined Gold? A Symbol of Ethical Mining
  • The Origins of Fairmined Gold
  • Where are Fairmined Gold Mines Located?
  • The Benefits of Fairmined Gold
  • Recycled Gold: The Rise Demand
  • What is recycled Gold?
  • Recycled Gold drawbacks and Benefits
    • Comparison of Fairmined vs Recycled Gold
    • Juraster Supporting Fairmed and Recycled Gold
  • Final Thought: A Matter of Choice

What is Fairmined Gold? A Symbol of Ethical Mining

Fairmined Gold is a certification scheme that guarantees traceability, environmental protection, and the development of small mining communities. It is real gold, described under the Fairmined certification standard, which ensures the gold is minimally sourced, traceable, and environmentally friendly. Fairmined Gold is an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organisations. 

Sourcing for Fairmined Gold - Juraster

The Origins of Fairmined Gold

The concept of Fairmined gold was born out of a need to transform the traditional gold mining industry. It was developed by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) with the goal of giving miners the opportunity to produce gold in a responsible manner and providing them access to global markets. 

When the miners obtain the Fairmined Certification, they also get a premium, an economic incentive that allows them to invest in projects that will make a development in their communities. The Fairmined Standard promotes the miners' well-being by ensuring the right working conditions, health and safety at work, fair wages and working hours, no child labour, and no forced labour.

Where are Fairmined Gold Mines Located?

Fairmined gold mines are located in various regions across the world, primarily in areas where small-scale and artisanal mining are prevalent. Here are a few examples:

  • Peru: There are four Fairmined certified mines in Peru, including MACDESA, Oro Puno, CECOMIP, and Cruz Pata 
  • Colombia: In the heart of Colombia's Cauca region, there is a Fairmined certified gold mine known as Chede (Fairever Gold). Additionally, two new mining organisations in Colombia have been certified under the Fairmined Standard: La Cascada Ltda and La Coqueta Ltda
  • Other Locations: Fairmined also supports miners across four mines — two in Peru, and two in Colombia

The Benefits of Fairmined Gold

Fairmined gold offers numerous benefits. It guarantees traceability, ensuring that the gold you wear can be traced back to its origin. It promotes good working conditions, health and safety, fair wages, and working hours no longer than 48 hours a week. Furthermore, by choosing Fairmined gold, you are contributing to a positive transformation of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector.

Recycled Gold dust and jewellery - Juraster

Recycled Gold: The Rising Demand

The rise of recycled gold is a significant trend in the gold industry, driven by growing environmental consciousness and the desire for more sustainable practices. According to the World Gold Council, recycled gold accounted for 28 per cent of the total global gold supply of 4,633 metric tons in 2020 (Kimai).

The market for recycled gold is growing rapidly. The Scrap Gold Recycling Market size is expected to reach USD 27.3 Billion by the end of 2030, growing at a CAGR of 12.25% from 2024-2030 (Verified Market Reports). This growth is driven by increasing consumer awareness and demand for sustainable and ethically sourced products.

What is Recycled Gold?

Recycled gold is gold that has been previously used in jewellery and to a lesser extent electronic waste from laptops and mobile phones, and then refined and reused. This process involves evaluating the quality of the gold-bearing material, melting it down, and purifying it to remove any impurities. This process not only rejuvenates the gold but also reduces waste, making it a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional gold mining. Recycled gold is as good as new gold, and it can be melted down and refined infinitely without losing its integrity.

Recycled Gold: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Recycling gold uses much fewer chemicals and electricity than extracting new gold from the ground. Gold mining can pollute waterways and harm wildlife if done without regulation. Therefore, recycling gold appears to be a more sustainable choice as it may reduce the impact on the environment.  

However, almost all gold that makes its way into the recycling market can’t be traced back to its origin.  Once gold is melted and mixed with other gold, it can't be separated again.  As recent global journalistic and documentary evidence has uncovered, a global laundry system for "dirty gold" exists.  This system allows gold that has been mined unethically by corrupt regimes, often from human slavery and virgin rainforest in South America or Africa, to enter the market and become legitimised.  

Table: Comparison of Fairmined vs Recycled Gold

Fairmined Gold

Recycled Gold

Ethical Mining Practices: Fairmined gold ensures that the gold is mined under fair and safe working conditions. This means that the miners are paid a fair wage, work in safe environments, and are not exposed to harmful substances

Sustainability: Recycled gold is a sustainable goal, reducing the need for new gold mining, which can have detrimental environmental impacts 

Environmental Responsibility: Fairmined gold mines are required to follow environmental best practices. This includes the use of sustainable mining techniques, the safe disposal of waste, and the rehabilitation of mining sites

Energy Conservation: The process of recycling gold uses much less energy compared to mining new gold from the ground. This energy conservation contributes to reducing the overall carbon footprint 

Community Development: Fairmined gold mines contribute to the social and economic development of the local communities. They often provide training and education, improve infrastructure, and invest in community projects such as housing, schools and clinics.  A key part of the Fairmined scheme involves help to build a new business to run alongside mining activities that can sustain the community when the mine is exhausted eg trout farming in Peruvian Andes or cocoa farming in Columbia.

Preservation of Resources: Recycling gold helps in conserving natural resources as it reduces the need for mining new gold. This in turn helps in preserving our environment for future generations

Transparency: Fairmined provides a transparent supply chain. Consumers can trace the gold back to the mine of origin, giving them confidence that they are supporting responsible mining practices

Economic Stimulus: The recycling of gold from discarded electronic waste can stimulate the economy through job creation and cost savings. It also encourages the reuse and recycling culture, which is beneficial for sustainable development 

Support for Small-Scale Miners: Fairmined gold supports small-scale miners who often face challenges in accessing markets and securing a fair price for their gold

Ethical Considerations: Choosing recycled gold over newly mined gold can be seen as an ethical choice. It supports the idea of reusing and recycling, which is more sustainable and less harmful to the environment.  However very little can be verifiably traced to legitimate post-consumer waste.

Juraster Supporting Fairmined Gold

As part of our practice, we are proud to support Fairmined gold and all Juraster jewellery has been crafted using such materials. We hold strong values in transparency and ensuring everyone who is part of our supply chain receives a fair wage, works in good conditions and play our part to reduce our impact on the environment by working with small sustainable mines. 

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Juraster Supporting Your Recycled Gold

In Juraster's transformable bespoke design service, we love to redesign your existing jewellery items, from heirlooms to those pieces holding deep sentimentality.  Thanks to our specialist workshops we can recycle your own family gold. We will take the time to design your jewellery and transform it into beautiful recycled gold and gemstone jewels, crafting new pieces to create new memories all over again. 

“I have recently given Jessica several pieces of jewellery that I just didn’t wear any more. Pieces I had inherited and pieces that I had. She has transformed all of them into pieces I can now wear everyday, wear for fun and wear forever! She is incredibly talented and I can highly recommend her. We worked well together as she listened to my ideas and also gave me her thoughts. I am thrilled with what she has done for me”.

Gail, London

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The Verdict: A Matter of Personal Choice

In conclusion, both Fairmined Gold and recycled gold offer benefits, but they are aimed at different aspects of sustainability and ethical mining. Fairmined gold focuses on empowering mining communities and promoting environmental protection, while recycled gold aims to prioritise the conservation of natural resources and the reduction of environmental impact.

Ultimately, the choice between Fairmined gold and recycled gold depends on your personal values and priorities. Whether you value ethical sourcing, environmental protection, or the continuity of traditional mining practices, there is a type of gold out there that aligns with your beliefs.

Remember, the more we understand about where our gold comes from, the better choices we can make to support a more sustainable and ethical future. So, the next time you're shopping for gold jewellery, consider the source of your gold and make an informed decision.


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