Recycled Metals 2017-09-01T16:36:09+00:00

We only use recycled metals in our jewellery

The recycled metal used in our jewellery comes from responsible refiners.
They process jewellers waste, old jewellery and industrial by-products to create ‘new’ metal for jewellery use.
We also refine in house.
 
The metal looks and performs the same way as mined platinum, palladium and gold. But with none of the associated environmental cost.

Platinum — what’s the big deal?

 
Platinum is the prestige jewellery metal, for practical and economic reasons. On a practical level, platinum is tougher than gold. Which makes it ideal for setting valuable diamonds and gemstones. Stones are much less likely to come loose from a well made platinum setting. 
 
Platinum is more difficult for jewellers to work. That adds to the cost. A platinum ring costs more than a gold ring. Gold currently costs more per gram, but platinum is denser, so you need more of it.
 
Even though platinum is more plentiful than gold in the Earth’s crust, it’s a lot more difficult to extract. Not only is most platinum found in low-density particle form (which means processing tonnes and tonnes of ore to extract enough for just one ring) it’s also typically deep underground. Some of the world’s major deposits are more than a kilometre down. The chemical processes required to refine platinum are more difficult too, taking up to six months to complete.

Palladium? What’s this?

Ring image:Handmade recycled palladium engagement ring Argyle asscher diamond with Argyle diamond set shoulders by Ethical Jewellery Australia.

Palladium is a noble white metal that shares many characteristics, with platinum. It doesn’t share the high price tag. Palladium offers a more radiant white than (unplated) white gold with no rhodium plating required. With a weight like fine silver, it has a lower specific gravity. It is lighter than platinum. This means that not only do you pay less per gram, but you also need less metal for your jewellery piece.
 
Palladium is a great alternative to platinum. Like platinum, it is inert. It should not cause skin irritation – if that is something that is of concern.
 
For more information about palladium, look here.
 
Please note. Whilst platinum and palladium are beautiful and durable white metals, they can scratch. All precious metals scratch. How badly, depends on how you care for your rings. It is important to know this and take care when putting your hands in abrasive substances such as soil or sand. Gloveless gardening and precious jewellery do not match.

Gold — your options

In Australia, the standard for jewellery is either 9 carat or 18 carat.
 
24 carat gold is considered ‘pure’. It is too soft for everyday jewellery. 
 
In the US and Asia, 14 carat is a popular choice.
 
The difference between 9, 14 and 18 carat is the amount of alloys added. 18 carat gold has fewer alloys and is ‘softer’ than 9 carat. This makes it easier to work. But, more importantly, there’s a noticeable difference in colour. 18 carat yellow gold is more ‘yellow’ and brighter than 9 carat yellow gold. 14 carat is somewhere between the two. We mostly make rings using 18 carat gold.
 
For colour, you have three choices — yellow, white and rose gold.

Ring image: Handmade recycled 18 carat yellow gold engagement ring. This ethical engagement ring features Argyle diamonds - half bezel centre diamond and hammer set shoulder diamonds ruffled texture.

No doubt you’re familiar with yellow gold (above image)

Rose gold has a reddish, pinkish colour.

Ring image: Eternity ring. Recycled Diamonds set in recycled 18 carat rose gold.

 

White and yellow gold are the most popular golds for rings. White gold is more ‘in fashion’ at the moment.
As for cost, white gold is more expensive than rose and yellow gold. Currently about $6 a gram more.
 
Our white gold is nickel free and has a high palladium content.
Palladium is a luxury alloy which gives a much whiter gold. It doesn’t pose the same allergy issues as other alloys. 

Ring image: Art Deco Style engagement ring. Emerald cut recycled Diamonds in a stepped design set in recycled 18 carat white gold

This image shows unplated white gold – it is slightly greyer (more like silver), but still a lovely metal that takes an excellent polish.

Engagement ring image green sapphire and diamonds in unplated white gold

 

 


What about silver?

Even though a lot of jewellery is silver, when it comes to fine handmade jewellery, it isn’t a good choice. First, silver is a lot cheaper than gold or platinum. Where you might pay $90 — $100 for a gram of gold, you’ll pay only $6 – $10 for a gram of silver.
 
It isn’t worthwhile when gold is almost as easy to work with. You’ll find that a manufacturing jeweller cannot make a silver ring for anything even close to the price you’d pay for a mass produced item. To get something hand made in silver you’ll pay up to ten times more than a similar retail item. For gold & platinum, the gap narrows.
 
Another downside with silver is that it tarnishes. It needs regular polishing. You can rhodium plate it, but that’s expensive given the value of the metal.

Why we recycle precious metals

We’re concerned about the environmental damage mining for gold, silver and platinum causes.
 
Recycled precious metals are exactly the same as their mined counterparts. And they cost no more.
You get the same quality and pay the same price for recycled metal as you do for mined metals.
There’s no downside for you and plenty of upside for the environment.

Which is right for your partner?

When choosing a precious metal for your partner, it comes down to the dominant colour they favour. If they wear a lot of yellow jewellery, go for yellow gold.
If their jewellery is mostly ‘white’, go for platinum, white gold or palladium. If they favour rose gold — there’s your answer. 
 
Another thing to consider is the colour of the stones to be set in the ring.
 
Diamonds look great in either white or yellow settings. On a yellow gold ring they’re sometimes placed in a platinum setting to enhance the brightness. This also ensures a secure setting.
Red stones, like rubies and garnets, are enhanced by a yellow/orange background. It’s quite easy to have the band in one colour and the setting in another. You’ll often see yellow gold bands with white gold (or platinum) settings, and vice versa.
To mix it up, you could choose a two tone band with a mix of metals like this stunning diamond Celtic band.

Ring image: handmade ring in recycled 18 carat white and yellow gold. The ring was hand pierced and features Argyle white Diamonds