Buying gold and silver and recycling it for our jewelry has been an important part of our business since the very beginning. In fact, to this day more than 90% of the gold and silver used in our jewelry is recycled.
Because we recycle gold and silver for our own jewelry we are able to give you much more than you would get for the pieces at a pawn shop. The other upside to selling us your precious metals is that you’re working with a company with a reputation you can trust.
But you’re getting much more than a great deal. Recycling gold and silver is good for the environment as the mining of gold and silver has traditionally been extremely harmful to the environment. In this article we cover the history of gold mining and the process of recycling these precious metals.
Environmental Impacts of Gold Mining
It has been estimated that gold began being mined as early as 7000 BCE and has been mined throughout history ever since. Depending on the type of mining method employed, gold mining has traditionally had an extremely negative impact on the environment in many different ways.
Hard rock mining produces the majority of the world’s gold. It is estimated that 20 tons of rock and sediment must be removed to extract enough gold to make a single gold ring. This practice often transforms the environment into large open pits.
The leftover mining waste is often very high in mercury and cyanide used to extract the gold from the rock. The resulting erosion from these tailings can eventually pollute water sources downstream damaging aquatic wildlife.
Gold mining also releases large amounts of airborne mercury into the environment, which is an odorless and toxic vapor that can fall to the earth in raindrops.
The Bright Side
Gold mining in the United States is highly regulated with significant measures taken to reduce the impacts of gold mining on the environment. But, the United States is only responsible for about 6.1% of the gold produced in the world. Mines in other countries often don’t follow the same level of regulation as the United States even if the mine happens to be owned by an American company.
To combat this there is a global movement to make gold mining safer for the environment and the miners. These are known as fairtrade and fairmined gold that is from certified ethical and green sources. If you’re buying gold that is not recycled this is often the best way to go.
Recycling Gold and Silver
Recycled gold and silver have advantages over even the most ethical and green mining practices. Recycling has much lower rates of carbon emissions and water usage along with little to no negative impacts on the environment or other ethical issues.
Recycled gold and silver come from many different sources including dental fillings, jewelry, bullion, and consumer electronics. The precious metals are sent to a metal refinery where the metal is extracted to its pure form. We then take the pure gold and silver re-alloy it 92.5% silver, 14K gold, and 18K gold. The recycled metal is now ready to be used in jewelry.
It’s also important to note that recycled metal is the exact same quality as if it were newly mined, and it can continue to be recycled throughout its lifetime without losing quality.
Limits on the Impact of Gold and Silver Recycling
Recycling gold has a different environmental impact than other types of recycling. An example of this is the recycling of paper. When paper is recycled it has a direct impact on the amount of new paper that is being produced. More recycled paper means fewer trees used for making paper.
Unfortunately, because gold is such a valuable commodity it continues to be mined at the same rate regardless of how much is recycled. This means that there is little to no direct impact on gold mining when it is recycled.
Although recycling gold and silver is much more friendly to the environment than even the most stringent mining practices, there is another limitation to how green or eco-friendly recycling gold and silver is.
It is impossible to know where the gold and silver that are being recycled came from, and they could have come from mining practices that were harmful.
Recycling doesn't prevent the problem that occurred in the past, but it also doesn’t continue to contribute to the problem.
We are big proponents of recycling gold and silver and have been for the 30+ years we’ve been in business. Selling your gold and silver to Park City Jewelers means that you’ll get more value for your pieces, you’ll be dealing with a company you can trust, and you’ll be helping to protect the environment. Win-win-win!
If you have gold or silver you’re interested in having recycled stop by the store, call us, or sent us a message. One of our master goldsmiths can help you begin the process by giving you a free quote. Offers are valid for 5 days and we write you a check as soon as a value is agreed upon. This gives you some time to decide as the value of recycling a piece will always be far less than its retail value.
Address: 430 Main Street Park City, UT 84060
Phone: (435) 649-6550
Text: (435) 334-3082