Earth Day, Every Day

Every day is Earth Day at Jewelry Buyers of Vienna! One of our favorite things about buying vintage and estate jewelry is that we are able to find new homes for beautiful old things. And by doing that, we lessen the ecological impact of mining for precious metals and gem stones.

Recycling jewelry is simply much better for our environment than making and buying new jewelry.

When you sell us your unwanted jewelry, we find someone who will love it and give it a new life. In fact, many of our customers buy vintage and antique jewelry precisely because it is the greener alternative to adornment.

Recycling an old bracelet or ring means that no new gold, silver or gemstones are mined to create a new piece. Each piece of jewelry that finds a new owner represents a notable environmental savings. How groovy is that?

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How much of a difference could recycling one piece of jewelry make? Did you know that mining and refining the gold for one typical wedding band generates 20 tons of waste? Gold mining is a dirty practice that uses cyanide, generates loads of waste, pollutes waterways with leached toxic chemicals such as mercury, and sometimes displaces communities.

Every piece of gold jewelry that recirculates in the economy reduces the need to mine new gold, lessening the environmental impact of current gold mining processes!

Silver mining is slightly different, as only 30% of all silver comes from actual silver mines, with the balance found as a byproduct of mining for industrial metals such as copper and zinc. Sadly, mining for industrial metals also comes with a heavy environmental cost, including the creation of arsenic emissions. And it has been estimated that global metal mining accounts for a whopping 10% of the world’s energy consumption.

So recycling silver jewelry also helps the environment. Less demand for newly mined metals means less pollution and a smaller carbon footprint for the jewelry that finds a second life.

The large industrial diamond mines that produce most of the world’s glittering stock require significant amounts of water and produce huge amounts of waste rock that can contribute to acid rock drainage. Amazingly, the average diamond in an engagement ring requires the removal of 200 to 400 million times its volume in host rock!

Colored gem stones often come from small-scale mines that may utilize lower-impact techniques. However, these mines may also present significant ecological damage due to deforestation and waterway pollution.

Obviously, if the jewelry you sell us contains diamonds or colored stones, then the environmental impact of mining for new stones is mitigated, offering one more way to help the environment.

So if you are considering selling your old jewelry to make some green, don’t forget the other green effect! One author has even suggested that “the best way for you to mitigate the impacts of gold-mining might be to make a personal pledge to keep gold in circulation. Try instituting a one-in, one-out policy for your jewelry box: Whenever you want to buy a piece of gold jewelry, take one you already have and sell it, or melt one down for refabrication. Do that, and you can glitter relatively guilt-free,” says Nina Shen Rastogi from the Slate’s Green Lantern.

Recirculating that jewelry just languishing in your jewelry box is both good for your wallet and good for the planet! So give us a call if you are thinking of recycling your jewelry.

Sources:

http://nodirtygold.earthworksaction.org/impacts#.VxksPPkrJhE

http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/clothing/270580/can_silver_ever_be_ethical.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2010/08/something_old_something_new_something_borrowed_something_green.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/20/AR2010092004730.html