Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand, announced on Tuesday that it would entirely stop using newly mined Silver and gold in its jewelry by 2025, and only buy from recycled sources.
This, the company says, will cut carbon emissions by two thirds for Silver and by more than 99 percent for gold.
“Silver and gold are beautiful jewelry materials that can be recycled forever without losing their quality. Metals mined centuries ago are just as good as new. They will never tarnish or decay.
We wish to help develop a more responsible way of crafting affordable luxury like our jewelry, and prevent that these fine metals end up in landfills.
We want to do our part to build a more circular economy,” comments Alexander Lasik, CEO of the Copenhagen-based jewelry manufacturer, which had revenue of €2.9 billion in 2019.
But jewelers in Nicosia and Limassol took a different view. “We’re headed into a recession,” warned Tonia Theodore, of Tonia Jewellers in Limassol. “That means that many jewelry manufacturers have lots of stock, and so they can recycle that to save money.
That’s probably what is behind Pandora’s decision to go with 100 percent recycled gold and Silver.”
A spokesperson for Pandora told the Cyprus Mail that the company did, indeed, recycle some of its stock, but that most of the gold used in its two Thailand factories (with only skilled adult labor) comes from certified refiners.
Still, Panikos Chasikos, vice president of the Cyprus Jewellers Association and owner of Emerald Jewellery in Nicosia, thinks that cost is a factor that Pandora isn’t mentioning.
“Recycled gold can be acquired for less than the official price of gold that is determined by the World Gold Council in London. Using recycled gold may save energy, but it also saves money.”
Here, the spokesperson for Pandora is adamant: “We never pay less than the spot price for the gold and silver we acquire,” he says.
Pandora does buy parts for jewelry that are used in their products, and this accounts for a small percentage of the gold and Silver it uses.
For now, Pandora cannot be certain of this part of their supply’s provenance, but that will change in the coming five years, the spokesperson adds.
Pandora is not the only jewelry maker to emphasize the use of recycled gold and Silver. Quite a several manufacturers, particularly in the US and UK, have made a point of having all materials they use sourced from traceable and recycled supplies.
But this has not affected the pace of gold mining, which has remained constant at a volume of 2,500-3,000 tonnes per year for many years.
There is a great opportunity, analysts say, in recovering both gold and Silver from electrical waste equipment.
The United Nations (UNs) estimates of global waste electrical and electronic equipment’s (WEEEs) production were 14 million tons in 1992, and then more than 50 million tons in 2017, and the number is growing at an exponential rate, i.e., approximately 10 percent every year.
Pandora says that it will try to find ways to increase the relatively small amounts that have been recuperable up to now. New processes are needed.