To Gold or Not to Gold
Gold has always been and will always be one of the most valuable commodities on Earth. Most countries in the World have tons of Gold held in reserve. Basically in the event of a national or international currency failure they still have something valuable to trade with. But did you know experts are estimating that it may be unsustainable to mine gold by as early as 2050.
Now this leads me onto an interesting subject within the Jewellery business.
What is Gold Plating?
Gold plating has long been a popular method for enhancing the appearance of Jewellery and other metal items. However, what many people don't realise is that this process is not only unsustainable, but also toxic to both the environment and human health. In this blog post, we will explore the detrimental effects of gold plating and why it is leading to the loss of valuable materials in the air as it wears off of base metal jewellery.
There’s a few things you should know before buying Gold plated jewellery. Plating is obviously a much cheaper alternative to purchasing solid Gold and to be fair, when it’s new, looks really nice.
Gold plating is a technique that involves depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal, typically through an electrochemical process. This layer of gold gives the item a shiny, luxurious appearance, similar to that of solid gold.
But don’t be fooled, because the plating itself is a micro thin layer and will not last for long especially on jewellery pieces being worn regularly. In fact you maybe lucky to get a few months out of the product before the base metal starts showing through.
Why is Gold Plating Unsustainable?
One of the main reasons why gold plating is unsustainable is because it requires a significant amount of gold to create even a thin layer. Gold is a finite resource, and mining for gold has numerous negative environmental impacts, including deforestation, habitat destruction, and water pollution. Furthermore, the process of refining gold is energy-intensive and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The Toxicity of Gold Plating & the Environmental Impact
Gold plated jewellery can often still be quite expensive and sometimes passed off as “Gold” by unscrupulous sellers. Make sure you know what you are buying and read the small print in the advert!! You have probably all heard the saying “if it’s too good to be true then it probably is”. Well this is never more true when purchasing jewellery.
Gold plated jewellery will never be worth anywhere near the value of solid Gold. Whether it’s a a cherished gift you’re buying for somebody you love or just something special for yourself it’s much better to get something that is sustainable, has value and can last a lifetime. A solid Gold jewellery piece can often be handed down over the years as a family heirloom.
And that’s not all to the drawbacks to buying Gold plated jewellery!! When the Gold plating wears off precious Gold just disappears into the air never to be seen again. When you consider this in real terms it’s a vast amount of a Gold gone forever and will never be replaced .
There’s also a much more sinister aspect to consider. Harsh chemicals are used in the Gold plating process which usually involves the use of CYANIDE. It’s not sustainable and it’s definitely not eco friendly!!
Gold plating involves the use of various chemicals, including cyanide-based solutions, to dissolve the gold and create an electrolyte for the plating process. These chemicals are highly toxic and pose serious health risks to both the workers involved in the plating process and the surrounding environment. Exposure to cyanide can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritation, and even death in severe cases.
Also, Gold plated jewellery cannot be recycled easily without using a specialised refinery to separate the gold from the other metals. Generally, the cost in doing this is not economically viable and a lot of Gold plated items often end up in the rubbish bin.
Gold plating may offer a temporary solution for achieving a luxurious look, but its unsustainable and toxic nature cannot be ignored. The negative environmental and health impacts associated with this process make it clear that we need to explore more sustainable alternatives.
Here at Bijoux de Chagall, we only use recycled Gold and Silver in all our jewellery pieces. Wherever possible we also use recycled materials for our packaging too. We pride ourselves in being an eco friendly and sustainable jewellers.
By choosing jewellery and metal items that are responsibly sourced and manufactured, we can contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future.