Anyone producing their own fine jewellery, from large-scale manufacturers right down to small independent jewellers, requires precious metals like gold, silver and platinum.
With customers becoming more and more concerned with buying products and supporting companies that do as little damage to the world as possible, businesses will have realised the growing importance of working with ethically sourced materials.
But how does one go about sourcing ethical and sustainable precious metals, especially when buying from a company on a different continent?
Fortunately, Charlie Betts, managing director of precious metals expert Betts Group, has answered that very question.
He tells Professional Jeweller: “Responsible sourcing is firstly about engaging with your supply chain. I don’t think you can claim to be sourcing anything responsibly if you really don’t even know where it comes from.”
Next, the managing director says, it is about ensuring that there are no untoward practices involved in the product’s history. “You really want to know that the metal has been produced according to international best practice,” says Betts, “and there are several ways of doing that.
“It could be through a corporate mine, which is the area we focus on in the supply of Single Mine Origin (SMO) certified gold. There are also fantastic initiatives such as Fairtrade and Fairmined which focus on the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.”
Betts adds: “It’s also really important that we recycle metal too but we can’t often make a provenance claim when dealing with recycled metals, unless we know exactly what they have been recycled from.”
Next the MD tells PJ how Betts Group can help a jewellery business in need of responsibly sourced metals.
He says: “Material provenance is the single greatest focus of our strategy. We’re at the very forefront of creating responsibly sourced SMO gold which can be fully traced to a well-managed corporate mine, compliant with strict CSR and environmental standards. It’s a real game-changer for the trade.
“We use SMO certified gold in all of our manufactured gold products, providing an auditable chain of custody for the entire supply chain.
“We believe that this should be a priority across the whole industry, which is why we do not charge a premium for SMO gold, making it an affordable and responsible option.”
Betts Metals also claims to be the only UK refinery currently working with both Fair Mined and SMO gold.
“We are also proud to be the only UK refinery audited and FLOCERT-accredited to produce Fair Trade gold and silver,” continues Betts. “As a business with more than 260 years of experience, brands and retailers can rely on us to guide them through the full breadth of sustainable options available to them.”