Earthworks and the Dirt on Dirty Gold

Just as our printers enjoy telling stories of how they came to love letterpress, every bride knows the importance of a good engagement story… you want to tell the whole world how he presented that little box with the sparkly ring.

And let’s be serious — we love gold. It’s shiny, it’s pretty, and when placed on the left ring finger, a gold ring symbolizes never-ending love and commitment to our one-and-only.

When I started ring shopping with my fiance, I was torn. I knew I wanted a ring, but I was concerned about the environmental and social impacts of this particular “symbol of love”. From the beginning, I was adamant that I wanted a conflict-free diamond, but it wasn’t until I started digging into the facts that I began to understand the effects of gold mining on communities, mining workers, and our environment.

conflict free engagement rings

You may have noticed that proceeds from our Labor Day Sample Sale (a huge success by the way… thanks!!!!) went to support Earthwork’s No Dirty Gold Campaign. Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of irresponsible mining (Earthworks is also one of the eco causes we support as a member of 1% for the Planet!). I wanted to share with you some of what I have learned from Earthworks, and give you resources that will allow you to make informed purchases in the future.

Did you know that:

– One ring (if using traditional mining practices) produces an average of 20 TONS of waste!?!
– Gold mining is one of the world’s dirtiest industries. It wreaks havoc on local economies, causes illnesses, destroys streams, contaminates soil, and contributes to human rights abuses.
– Mined waste includes all sorts of toxins such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead. These metals enter local watersheds, contaminating drinking water for local residents.

Yeah. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Still, there are things you can do to help!

– Recycle old jewelry. You can have old rings melted down to make new ones. Support jewelers that offer products made with recycled gold.
– Buy vintage or antique jewelry.
– Love your ring. Take care of it and eventually pass it on to a child or friend.

To learn about more ways you can have an impact, or to learn more about the “No Dirty Gold Pledge”, visit the No Dirty Gold Campaign website today.