I use only ecologically mined and fairly traded gold and silver for my jewellery. The workers are paid fairly, there is no child labour. The gold I use chiefly comes from Argentina or Germany.
The silver is won from freely accessible rock from formerly conventionally operated silver mines (usually in Bolivia). The pieces of rock and ores are collected by hand in the stone dumps, and the silver enclosed in the rocks is extracted by methods that don't endanger the health or life of the workers and are environmentally compatible. At the same time, these old mines are reinstated with utmost care so as to gradually regain ecology.
Thomas Siepelmeyer www.faire-edelsteine.de ↗ is my supplier of choice for precious metals, or I use gold washed from the Eder River in Germany.
The stringent ecological and social conditions at all levels of mining, processing and marketing precious metals are checked through the comprehensive monitoring system implemented by Thomas Siepelmeyer's institution. All my gold and silver supplies are certified.
Why is this important to me?
Mining gold and silver usually entails the use of enormous quantities of highly toxic cyanide and mercury, and this has drastic and irresponsible effects on people and the environment. The consequences are irreversible for all living things. The environmental disaster that occurred in Romania many years ago, when cyanide lye and heavy metals flowed into the Danube River, is still very much alive in my mind. Perhaps this is so because my husband knew the pure and untouched beauty of the region before the catastrophe.
I buy the gemstones from German merchants who I know personally and have come to appreciate in the course of working together with them. One of them has long-term direct business relations with prospectors and cooperatives. In this way, it is ensured that the wages for this hard labour are as fair as possible, child labour is prevented, and dignified as well as humane working conditions can be established.
The gemstones are then cut in Germany, which helps support domestic workshops.
Every single piece of jewellery is entirely made by hand. Every single one is a unique piece made by a master goldsmith I have known for many years in his workshop in Upper Swabia.