Silver sourcing, Ethics and Sustainable Development
At La jewellery, we believe very strongly in not just talking about sustainability, ‘treading lightly’ on the land and about taking responsibility for our environment and our future, but in demonstrating to our customers that our materials are ethically sourced and our methods are as ‘green’ as we can make them wherever this is possible. We believe in being honest and accountable and obviously, given the nature of our business, where we source the silver we use is foremost in that accountability.
Our casting silver is sourced from a bullion dealer which holds as its maxim, the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, where sustainable development is defined as, “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. We couldn’t agree more, which is why we choose to obtain our casting silver from a source which ranks quality and innovation as vital for sustainablity.
In addition, the company we use has a strong track-record and ethic in recycling. Silver, as well as other metals, is reclaimed from sources where it is a by-product of one of several other idustrial processes. The metal is reclaimed, recycled and refined to be used by us and other businesses committed to the future.
Our silver wire and sheet is obtained from a different source, a bullion dealer whose silver comes from all over the world. We are aware that this takes up air miles, but at present, it is the only source we know of for these types and forms of silver. To lessen the impact of this, we collect our scrap silver and send it to be recycled so that at least when it gets to us, the silver will be made use of in the most efficient way possible, with as little waste as we can possibly manage.
We haven’t taken the easy way out. We have located sources we can trust and we are taking steps to make sure we do all we can to get the most from our silver, including recycling and using innovative techniques and methods of production.. Having done so, we can pass the knowledge on to you, our customer, that not only will you receive from us something beautiful, but something which has the least impact on our precious planet that we can possibly manage.
A note from our Bullion Dealer
Identification of Silver Sources
From the perspective of a supplier of semi-manufactured Silver materials used in the production and sale of Silver Jewellery and Silverware our understanding of the generic supply chain of Silver is as follows:
Mine → Refinery → Alloy Manufacturer → Manufacturing Jeweller → Retailer → Customer
As an Alloy Manufacturers stockholder we hold a variety of Alloyed Silver items such as Wire, Sheet, Tube, Casting Grain and Solder which are purchased from 2 or 3 major European manufacturing companies.
The factories from which we purchase need Fine Silver as a raw starting material and they source Fine Silver from a variety of European refineries. The Fine Silver is supplied from the refinery in a physical form appropriate to the demands of the manufacturing operation. Once received at the manufacturing factory the Fine Silver is generally melted and alloyed with Copper to produce the Sterling and Britannia Silver Alloys suitable for UK Hallmarking and then further processed into the semi-manufactured products which we purchase and hold in stock.
Our understanding is that the Refining processes undertaken by the various Refineries involves a whole variety of different types of Silver including new mine production and Scrap material produced as a result of a wide range of Industrial and Chemical processes. The essence of the refining process is to take in a diverse range of Silver containing substances and to produce a fully refined and standardised Fine Silver end-product.
Within the various phases of the supply chain the recycling of Silver waste and scrap products is undertaken at all times.
As an example:
The manufacturing company may convert a delivery of Fine Silver into Sterling Silver by the addition of Copper and then fabricate this new alloy into a Sheet product. In the course of Sheet production some scrap will be generated and this can be immediately recycled into the production of Casting Grain. In this sense the Casting Grain produced is 100% recycled.
As will be seen from the brief description above the supply route from mine to consumer is rather complex as at virtually every stage it involves the introduction of recycled Silver Scrap which means that from the viewpoint of the manufacturer it is not possible to identify the original source of the Silver contained in any one product with the possible exception of the example of the Casting Grain product as outlined above.
Hall marking and the law
All appropriate items are hallmarked in our Birmingham ASSAY office and contain a date stamp.
Due to the fact that some of out jewellery needs a symmetrical counterpart we use a casting company to ensure aesthetical quality.
In the past we would carry out all the casting in the art studio by hand but this proved to be very time consuming and therefore became too expensive for our clients.
After many months of research, we found an extremely fine casting company .We didn’t go for the high tech faceless companies which were in abundance, we decided on a small family run business, past on from grandfather to father to son, with a small but welcoming workforce. They are a very well respected company and work with many of the very top designer from all over the world. And if they are good enough for Vivienn Westwood then they are good enough for us!
The raw carcass of the earring is cast and then Is sent back to our art studio where it is hammered, textured, filed and turned into the beautiful piece of jewellery that can be viewed on this site. Only certain pieces are cast and for full details please email email@example.com