Today, most consumers don’t know where their gold comes from. Even jewellers, for the most part, can’t tell you. This is partly the result of greed and corruption, and partly because of gold’s physical nature. When gold is purified in a smelter on its way to market, it become indistinguishable from any other gold. Unless records are kept from mine to retailer, the source is unknowable. The anonymity of gold is attractive to criminal gangs and warlords who traffic in gold to launder money to pay for weapons. As a result, consumers often purchase conflict gold but don’t know it. But that can change.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
From what we’ve seen, there is a way to solve the supply chain problem: through responsibly produced gold. The world has a robust, if small, responsible gold industry. Fair-Trade jewellers know where their gold was mined, the health and safety conditions of the workers, and never deal in gold that’s linked to exploitation or war. And it usually comes with a positive story about miners who were once exploited but now, thanks to the Responsible Gold movement, work in safety while receiving a fair price for their gold.
Find out about conflict gold, and NGOs like Impact (featured in The Shadow of Gold) that promote traceable gold, as well as two jewellers who appear in The Shadow of Gold: Alan Frampton of Cred Jewellers and Robin Gambhir of the Fair Trade Jewellery Company. Ask your jeweller where the gold in your jewellery comes from and lend your voice to efforts to clean up dirty gold: https://earthworks.org/campaigns/no-dirty-gold/