We understand that our business relies on natural resources, and we recognise our responsibility to put processes in place to safeguard and protect the environment.
In the last year, we’re proud to say we’ve made substantial headway in our sustainable jewellery journey, which all started with our recycled silver pledge a few years ago.
But where are we now?
Join us as we cover our journey and the next steps in our sustainable jewellery future.
In an age where sustainability and ethical practices are paramount, we recognise that we need to create sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly jewellery that respects our values, our customers and the world around us.
It’s often long-winded, time-consuming and tricky work refining processes but we’re getting there.
So, what have we achieved so far?
The Importance of Recycled Silver and Recycled Gold
Our sterling silver pieces were the first to launch us as a brand and silver has always been a precious metal close to our hearts.
But when we discovered the true cost of silver mining on nature, humans and the atmosphere, we knew we needed to opt for recycled silver.
We concentrated our efforts on transitioning our silver over to recycled silver first, then we moved on to gold this year.
We moved away from our original gold tone this year and opted for a softer, more neutral gold tone thanks to the feedback of our customers.
And with the new gold tone comes our transition into recycled gold. Every new gold jewellery piece is now made from recycled gold.
We are thrilled to announce that we are now a fully recycled jewellery brand!
Want to know why we opted to recycle our precious metals?
The Problem of Silver and Gold Mining
Damage to Nature
Precious metal mining has devastating effects on the land and life around it. It can lead to habitat destruction, deforestation and a large amount of soil erosion.
Due to the large-scale open-pit nature of mining and the disruptive nature of the bulldozers and excavators, the landscape is often altered causing extensive damage to the natural ecosystems - not to mention affecting the indigenous populations.
Mining is also a very energy-demanding process which adds to dangerous levels of carbon emission and in turn, contributes to the irreversible effects of climate change.
When the metal is extracted, chemicals like cyanide are frequently used which seep into the surrounding ecosystems and water sources.
When these contaminants drain into the water sources nearby such as lakes and rivers, aquatic life is harmed and humans can be too if they come into contact with the contaminated water.
The damage extends to humans too, who often work in unregulated and unsafe conditions, being exposed to dust inhalation and the chemicals used in the refining processes.
By choosing to work with sustainably focused organisations that ensure ethically sourced metals, we as jewellers can help to alleviate some of the damage of the silver and gold mining industry.
Our Recycled Silver and Gold Solutions
At Aquila Jewellery we only use recycled silver from our Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) suppliers. It mostly comes from scrap metal.
The recycling of sterling silver takes place outside of our artisan's premises. They buy it from UMICORE - a circular metals technology company with a sustainable edge.
Here is the recycled silver process that our silver goes through.
So, is any silver purity lost?
No silver purity is lost in the process.
The silver that is extracted during the recycled silver process is just as good quality as it would be if it were mined straight from the ground.
Our artisans receive the recycled silver and then get to work making beautiful boho jewellery pieces.
Our gold goes through a similar process.
No purity is lost in the gold recycling process either.
Ethical Jewellery: Our Commitment to Responsible Practices
We searched high and low for the right suppliers in Thailand that suited our needs.
We wanted a quality supplier who was on the RJC list. This is so we and our customers can always be assured that our supply chain is conflict-free, sustainable and responsible.
To know that we are part of regulated practices is a huge step forward and we are proud to be associated with individuals, companies and organisations that care about the world like we do.
The RJC is a globally recognised organisation and standards body which focuses on the production of responsible jewellery throughout the entire supply chain.
From precious metal miners to jewellery sellers, it unites companies in their mission to provide responsible, sustainable business without harming people or the planet.
The result? Eco jewellery that doesn’t cost the earth.
Fair Working Conditions
We’ve mentioned this before but our dedication to this is ongoing.
We are passionate about fair and ethical working conditions for our artisans. It is of the ultimate importance to us that they are in a safe working environment and are paid a fair wage. The RJC also ensures this is the case.
We know they are paid a fair wage because we pay them and we regularly visit them at all of their jewellery workshops to ensure that is still the case.
It’s very important to us to also support social sustainability as well as environmental sustainability.
We made sure from the beginning to use natural and recyclable materials for our packaging.
We have uncoated craft boxes, canvas bags and cardboard. All in neutral colours and without being coated in harsh chemicals.
We are looking into locally sourced natural fabrics to reduce the carbon footprint further.
What are We Doing In Our Shop?
Just like charity starts at home, so does sustainability.
Here are some of the small, but important processes we have put into place in our shop.
We encourage energy-saving habits such as turning off lights and electronic devices when not in use. We’re looking into energy-efficient appliances and lighting options in our space.
We have embraced paperless processes by transitioning to digital documents, online communication, and cloud storage. This reduces paper waste and lowers our carbon footprint.
Promote Sustainable Transportation
Our employees use bikes, their legs and very occasionally buses to get to the shop.
All in all…
It’s been a busy time and we’ve taken some significant steps in our journey. We thank you for joining us during this discovery time and hope you feel we are doing our bit to give back.
What does sustainability mean for you? Is there something you do every day for the environment you’d like to share?We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.