One of the most important things any business committed to positive change can do is to look at its operations and industry from a whole-system perspective. While we make the world's first diamonds from the air, at Aether, our diamonds are just one component of the finished pieces of jewelry we're proud to share with you. We, unfortunately, haven't yet invented the technology to have our diamonds float around your finger or neck without some sort of metal holding them in place - although that does feel wonderfully in line with how we like to think about the future.
As we look at the jewelry industry as a whole, there are so many important factors to consider in our sustainability mission. Our choice of metal in which we set our diamonds can be just as critical as the stones themselves. We needed to choose SOME source and standard for the metals we use to create our jewelry. After a lot of painstaking research, conversations with experts, and considered alignment of our choices with our beliefs and vision for a better world, we decided to use Fairmined certified gold for the launch of our brand.
What Is Fairmined Gold?
Fairmined is the world's leading assurance label of ethically and responsibly sourced gold. The Fairmined Standard is a long list of requirements, backed by a rigorous 3rd party audit system, that guarantees that artisanal miners and small-scale mines meet the world-leading responsible practices.
These guarantees include traceability of all mined gold and guarantee a minimum price for miners, while also ensuring the mines have no link to conflict situations, utilize no child labor, and promote gender equality and wellbeing within their communities.
also must meet ethical standards regarding work conditions and . must allow their the right to organize, as well as provide a healthy and safe workplace. They must also demonstrate their results in a low environmental impact, protection of water supplies, and responsible management and reduction of (or ideally, no use at all).
At Aether, it's incredibly important that we partner with the organizations and people who have the best interest of the planet and humankind in mind. As a certified Fairmined licensee, we're working to usher forward a new future of the highest integrity in the world of fairtrade gold and jewelry.
Why Not Use Recycled Gold?
When discussing ethical gold, while "recycled" may sound eco-friendly, it's a term that unfortunately doesn't have any real standards of responsible sourcing or even an agreed-upon definition. While we would like to think that recycled gold is made from other jewelry that has been melted down to create new, that's a tiny portion of the market.
Imagine this scenario - a jeweler is at a workbench, crafting a ring with gold that came from a dirty mine that has horrible work and safety practices, a disastrous environmental impact, and is guilty of any number of human rights violations. That jeweler will have some of that gold leftover from crafting the ring. That valuable excess isn't wasted and is instead used in the next piece of jewelry they create. That excess, which came straight from a dirty mine, is labeled "recycled" because it's technically being used again for a new piece of jewelry.
Without any official standards, there's no guarantee you're actually buying your jewelry from ethical metalsmiths. The fact is, recycled gold can and often does include dirty or conflict gold, making it more of a greenwashing marketing term than anything else. With this, unfortunately, being the primary practice for most of the recycled metals in the market with this label, utilizing them in our collections would go against the Aether vision.
A Positive Impact In Each Step
The Fairmined mission is to transform "mining into an active force for good, ensuring social development and environmental protection, providing everyone with a source of gold to be proud of."
At Aether, we're more than proud to utilize their fair trade gold, but it is just one step of many for us. We strive to make sure each step of our process has a positive impact - from our diamonds, to our precious metals, to our sustainable and biodegradable packaging.
We believe in, and continue to build towards a world where we can not only have beautiful things, but be proud of where they come from too.