Materials, Processes (Ethics & the Environment)
On this page I want to provide further information regarding my practice & to illustrate my efforts to design & create responsible jewellery.
This involves thinking about the materials I use, where they come from, how they are produced and to critically assess the technical processes I use to produce my work in terms of their environmental impact. It is an on-going process and therefore content will be added to continually.
Argentium® Silver is a modern silver alloy with superior qualities for the maker as well as the consumer, such as a brighter & whiter colour, high tarnish resistance, fire scale resistance and hardness.
Argentium silver alloys are purer than traditional sterling silver. In Argentium the silver content is 93.5% - whereas in sterling silver it is only 92.5%. Argentium silver meets of course all British hallmarking requirements.
In Argentium silver the traditional alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) is modified by removing some of the copper and adding the metalloid germanium which gives it its additional qualities.
ARGENTIUM® is a registered trademark of Argentium International Limited and their official logo, the winged unicorn (see image), is used as part of the hallmarking on all my jewellery which contain this metal.
For further information on Argentium, please visit their website.
Environment & Ethical Aspect of Argentium
In terms of its ethical & environmental impact Argentium sources its silver from manufacturers which are approved by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). The RJC "Code of Practices addresses human rights, labour rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and many more important topics in the jewellery supply chain."
The following two manufacturers provide the silver for Argentium in the European and Eastern hemisphere:
Legor Group and Pandora Alloys. Both companies are registered with and adhere to the RJC Code of Practice. Legor Group is further committed to only using recycled silver in their production processes. Pandora Alloys has also achieved the Chain of Custody Certification of the RJC. Please refer to the Responsible Jewellery Council website for further information.
24ct Yellow Gold Foil
The 24ct gold foil used in the Keum-Boo process is 13 microns thick (0.013mm) and is sourced from 100% recycled gold. Aida Chemical Industries Co. Ltd is recognised as Conflict-free Smelters which conforms to international guidelines set by CFSI (Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative). They extract the gold from scraps of industrial use (ie. electric parts, plating), jewellery and dentistry. It is not sourced from conflict mines.
Instead of using the hazardous, toxic and corrosive ‘safety pickle’ for removing surface deposits after soldering, I use citric acid which is biodegradable and kinder to your health. Cilck this link for instructions on how to make this type of pickle. Also check out all the other valuable resources on the ethical making website.