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Commentary: The Business

Darla Alvarex: The New Gold

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The Business: The New Gold

Standard The time has come to address mining practices

BY DARLA ALVAREX

Published in the October 2013 issue

With only one world to call home, I try to take care of this place the best I can. Low-flow showerheads, programmable thermostats, fair trade tea and second-hand furniture are no strangers to me.

As I have grown older, I have made these changes as conscious decisions meant to ease my burden on both humanity and Earth’s finite resources. After almost a decade in the jewelry industry, I am starting to think I need to apply these concepts to my career as well.

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As an industry, we have taken great strides to represent our products ethically to the consumer, even educating them when they may not fully understand the nuances of our trade.

While pats on the back are deserved, our work is not done. The time has come to break out the mop and bucket and scrub the issue of dirty gold.

As a primary consumer of gold, the jewelry industry has the ability to address the social and environmental impact of gold mining practices. We are a community industry, and I believe we can do this together.

I can begin minimizing the impact of gold mining on the world today by carefully collecting all gold scrap and recycling it — not just for its value, but because it is responsible not to waste any of this precious resource. I will begin to inquire with my suppliers about where and how their gold is sourced — not to accuse them, but to open a dialogue.

I will explain to my customers how it profits them. The features and benefits we present to clients every day are no different when it comes to where and how the gold in their jewelry originates. I will offer options on reusing pieces they own to create new and interesting objects of art. I will show how higher premiums for responsible gold represent a higher standard of living for all of us.

I want to continue to make beautiful pieces out of the metal of kings for years to come. I am afraid that one day I will no longer be able to do this if my beloved jewelry industry’s philosophy no longer reflects my own. I hope you will all join me today in making the jewelry industry an extension of conscientious living for everyone.

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DARLA ALVAREZ, AJP is a graduate jeweler working at The Gilded Artisan in Colorado Springs, CO, as a goldsmith and CAD specialist.

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