Jewelers, How Good Is Your Gold?

Improving your gold sourcing isn’t easy or cheap. But it’s possible. The jewelry industry is full of problematic materials, from conflict diamonds to Burmese rubies. But arguably the most problematic material is also the most common: gold. The yellow metal is frequently used in ­money laundering and has funded uprisings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. Small-scale miners often use mercury, a hazardous chemical that erodes the health of both the miners and the environment around them. A documentary film shown at last year’s New York City Jewelry Week, River of Gold, demonstrated how gold mining hurts the Amazon rainforest. “Most people have no idea where their gold comes from,” says River of Gold’s codirector Sarah duPont. “Gold is so ­intertwined in our daily lives, and people have no idea that this is happening. It’s an amazing thing, really.

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