Pure Earth, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing disease-causing pollution throughout the world, helped to facilitate the first purchase in the United States of “healthy gold,” or gold free of mercury contamination from the Peruvian Amazon. Pure Earth partnered with New York fine jewelry designer Dana Bronfman, who purchased the gold earlier this month.
The gold was extracted by Don Pedro, a miner in the Amazon rainforest who was trained by Pure Earth to mine the metal using mercury-free techniques. He delivered the piece of gold to Peruvian jeweler and caster Andrea Jose, who then received a CAD file from Bronfman to create casts for a gold pendant. Jose and Bronfman met on Aug. 16 in New York City to exchange the casts; they are currently being finished and set with gems in Bronfman’s studio. The completed pendant will be featured alongside other mercury-free gold pieces in the Pure Earth Pure Gold auction, slated to begin Sept. 20 online and culminate in a gala event on Oct. 4 in New York City.
“Even though I’m committed to sustainability, recycle metals, and am a Fairmined licensee, this is the first time that I know my piece is mercury-free,” Bronfman tells JCK. “I think it’s a really important initiative, because mercury gets into the air and streams and it indirectly affects everyone on the planet. I want to be as responsible as I can be in my business. It’s exciting to be a part of telling the story of what is possible.”
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) estimates that as much as 95% of all mercury used in artisanal gold mining is released into the environment, adversely affecting economies, environments, and human health.
As for the piece itself, Bronfman describes it as an 18k gold pendant inspired by the shape of a marquis diamond, but rounded. Within the pendant, there are oculus circular cutouts, some adorned with recycled diamonds donated by Perpetuum Jewels. The gold itself will be hammered and textured to reflect the most possible light. If it were sold at retail, it would be valued at $5,000.
Top: New York jewelry designer Dana Bronfman holding mercury-free 18k gold cast pieces (all photos by Joe Gorelick, TogoRun)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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