Image Source: Nyrelle
Donating clothes or separating your paper, plastic and glass for recycling may come as second nature these days. But have you ever considered giving your jewellery a second life? Granted, your fines are highly valuable (and often sentimental) and not something to give up easily. But it's not uncommon to have pieces in your collection that you no longer want or need, and which end up collecting dust over the years. Aside from passing on your unwanted jewels to friends or family, recycling is a great alternative which reduces waste and contributes to a more circular jewellery economy.
In fact, circularity was one of the first things we wanted to address when we started Nyrelle. Aside from crafting the majority of our fines out of recycled gold from reclaimed jewellery, we buy back your Nyrelle fines at 20% of what you bought them for and transform them into something brand new (an offer that's guaranteed for life!), so you can enjoy them over and over again.
But, if you're still not convinced about parting ways with your old fines by recycling them, here are 4 other super important reasons to consider it as an option when you're ready to give them up:
1. Gold can be infinitely recycled:
One of the best things about gold is that it can be melted down and recycled over and over again without declining in quality or purity. As a result, it is one of the most recycled materials on the planet and only 2% of all gold mined is either dumped or has been lost track of. Why? It's too valuable to get rid of, and even more so now – the price of gold skyrocketed during the global pandemic, reaching a historic high.
Thus, it makes perfect sense to continue this cycle and utilise what gold we already have in the world – as opposed to expanding gold mining – since there is more than enough in existence to fulfil consumer demand. (Note: gold is mined for lots of other industries, other than jewellery – see number 3!)
2. It reduces the harmful environmental impact of mining
Gold mining (especially large-scale mining which accounts for 85% of newly mined gold) is incredibly destructive to the environment, ecosystems, waterways and gold miners, who often earn low wages and are subjected to work in unsafe and unethical conditions. Just 20 grams of gold generates around 40 metric tonnes of toxic waste including up to 8kg of cyanide. To put that into perspective, extracting enough gold for a simple ring generates over 20 tons of mine waste.
On top of that, gold is a finite resource; there's only so much of it on our planet and consumer demand will only continue to rise as we find more uses for it. Recycling gold is therefore an important part of production processes so we don't exhaust our non-renewable supply and it reduces the need to mine new gold, thus minimising gold's impact on the environment!
3. There's opportunity to recycle gold beyond jewellery
Gold is incredibly valuable, but not just because it's rare and difficult to obtain. It's a soft, flexible metal that's a great conductor for heat and electricity, plus it doesn't corrode or oxidise making it edible (in small quantities) and safe to wear as jewellery. This means it's in high demand for several industries including electronics, automobiles, dishware, textiles and culinary to name a few.
But what does this mean for the jewellery industry? It means there are lots of opportunities to recycle gold beyond old jewels. For example, we generate 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste per year (the equivalent of 125,000 jumbo jets), and you'll find more gold in 100 tonnes of smartphones than in 100 tonnes of gold ore. Leveraging e-waste to recycle it for jewellery would create a more circular solution for both industries.
4. It's a great way to refresh your collection
Just like fashion, jewellery also tends to move in trends (think pearls in the 30s or oversized hoops in the 90s). And while there are timeless and classic jewellery styles that transcend trends and eras, there are always certain pieces in your collection that you're just ready to move on from, not to mention, there will always be fresh styles to catch your eye and tempt you.
Recycling your jewellery means out with the old, in with the new; a simple way to update your collection to your heart's desire in truly circular fashion, that helps preserve the planet, too – a win-win for everyone.