Why we chose to use Recycled gold and not Fairtrade

Maqé jewelry is all about purity, nature… realness. It’s inspired by the beauty of the world in which we live, and of the people living in it. Yet, we are well aware that the jewelry industry is, sadly, known to be one of the world’s tarnished.


Our mission at Maqé is therefore not only to create beautiful jewelry, but to make ethical, sustainable jewelry – honoring the very world from which it has been inspired – and using 100% recycled metal in our designs is one of the core decisions we’ve made in order to support this mission.


So, why recycled gold?

Well, we’ll be very honest here; we are still trudging through the muddy waters of gem and gold mining, trying to find the very best ways to become a truly sustainable and ethical jeweler, which means our practices are likely to change as we learn and discover new or better ways to deliver on our mission. But for now, using solely recycled gold feels the best solution to us, and here’s why…


Gold mining is well known to be an industry full of unethical practices, from the environmental damage to poor working conditions. It’s believed that for every ounce of gold – that’s just one gold ring – up to 20 tons of waste is being generated with mercury and cyanide being the two main pollutants used in the process.


It’s said that there are approximately 190,000 tons of gold already in circulation, so it’s fair to say there’s plenty of gold that has already been mined which can be reused. And, just 3% of the gold already lying around would satisfy the world’s current annual needs, so there really is plenty.


One of the beauties of gold is that it can be recycled again and again without losing any of its quality. So gold that’s been refined and recycled multiple times is actually just as good as gold mined only yesterday.


Recycled gold is therefore, to us, the best solution, as we know that we’re using gold that hasn’t contributed any additional damage to the environment, whilst also not losing any of its quality. We understand that this isn’t a 100% perfect solution, as a lot of the gold in the world isn’t actually available for recycling! This is largely due to the ‘significance’ that society has placed on gold over the years, meaning a lot of it is kept within families. This means the gold currently being recycled is only able to satisfy around 30% of the world’s demand, which explains the continued ‘need’ for newly sourced gold.


Something else to consider with recycled gold is ensuring its legitimacy. The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) was formed back in 2005 to regulate the industry and certify suppliers based on practices. However, the quality of their certification system is in debate due to many ‘gaps’ and ‘loopholes’ making the endorsement worth less than one would hope.

Why not Fairtrade Gold?

Fairtrade gold is another option gaining more prominence in the industry. Fairtrade, gold is still mined new, but the standards and practices ensure ethical working and mining conditions, whilst also eliminating any illegal or ‘dirty’ practices embroiled in the current industry. It also benefits the lives of small-scale mining communities who rely on this industry for their livelihoods – something that recycled gold is not able to support. However, Fairtrade gold still involves new mining, and whilst the use of chemicals in the process has far improved, they are still used, meaning the environmental impacts are still significant.


So it’s for this reason that, for now, we are sticking with 100% of our gold being recycled. Although, as we said… we know we’ll be constantly evolving to ensure we’re always adopting what we believe to be the very best, truly sustainable jewelry practices.


We want to continue sharing our journey openly and honestly, through our blog and newsletter, so please subscribe here [insert hyperlink] if you’d like to hear more from us and of course to be the first to peek at our new collections!


For those of you in (or near!) Ibiza this month, we’ll be showcasing our pieces at a special private event on the 18-19 October. Please contact us if you want to know more about the event – we’d love to see you there!