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"No Dirty Gold" campaign


#1

How are you all handling the “Dirt Gold” campaign? Do you feel it’s
impacted your business yet? Have you questioned your metals supplier
about the source of your casting grain? Do you simply not care? I
appreciate any of your thoughts on the matter…

Personally I think it is a laudable effort, but I also think gold is
being unfairly and unrealisticly targeted. Also, I disagree with
(and trully can not stand) sites that start campaigns such as these,
but don’t do the extra homework and research to offer ALTERNATIVES -
what? you would have all jewelry retailers and metalsmiths give up
their trade? It’s a selfish and arrogant assumption. What I do agree
with is that gold and other metals could be mined with eco-friendly
standards and practices, I want to do what’s right for the earth,
thanks for pointing out the problems about the situation - now give
me a REALISTIC means to adjust how I work - otherwise the message is
irresponsiblly and inefectively delivered.

Refetrence links:


http://tinyurl.com/oez3f
http://www.nodirtygold.org/


#2

We haven’t had a single question on it, and don’t expect to. Maybe
if you are in an area full of ‘socially responsible’ people (like,
maybe, Greenwich Village), it would be an issue, but heck, my
customers won’t even pass a levy to reduce our elementary and junior
high classroom size below 32 kids. What do they know or care about
dirty gold, it’s a good week for them if they don’t get laid off from
their $7-$12 an hour jobs!

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#3
but I also think gold is being unfairly and unrealisticly
targeted. 

These groups always go after what they consider to be “soft” or easy
targets. Where are there “No Conflict Oil” and "No dirty cars"
campaigns if they are truly so concerned about these issues?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4

When I asked the customer service representative at Hoover and
Strong About the gold I have been purchasing from them for 20 years.
They assured me that the majority of the gold they sell is recycled
not newly mined. The scraps and sweeps and worn out old jewelry and
dental gold that we all have been sending in to be refined, is being
refined and recycled!

Before digital photography, silver was the number one recycled
metal, with aluminum second and gold third. Those numbers may have
changed with the rise in the use of platinum in computer components
and the decline of silver use in photographic processes.

But, I have always felt good, and will continue to be proud that the
metal I am using has always been one of the most recycled materials in
use on this planet. The majority of the gold in use today is RECYCLED
and has been for millennium.

It is the high price of gold that drives these chemical leaching
mines, when gold prices drop even those cheap forms of mining are not
profitable enough to be sustained.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#5

I’m not sure what mysterious “groups” are involved here, but here’s
a wrenching account from National Geographic - hardly a coven of
radical flakery - about a gold mine in China and the horrendous
effect it had:

http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0604/online_extra.html

This is the age of the Internet, so some of us actually do know
about what goes on in the mines and factories, and we do care. We
might not be a customer in your shop, but we’re out there. Nor are we
P. J. O’Rourke’s “perennially indignant” nincompoops. Some of us just
plain don’t like wearing something that caused someone else serious
grief 'way back down in the food chain - sneakers make by little kids
in factory hellholes, beads cut by workers now coughing their lungs
out from silicosis, diamonds that got some kid’s arms amputated…
And while the majority of retail customers may seem to be blithely
oblivious, perhaps it’s just because they’re ignorant of the gruesome
details - not because they’re heartless swine who know and don’t
care. After all, you probably don’t have big l placards
in your shop about conflict diamonds, do you? Perhaps you’re hiding
out under the “don’t tell unless asked” approach, praying all the
while that no one asks?

Staying tuned,
Chris


#6
about _a_ gold mine in China and the horrendous effect it had:
http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0604/online_extra.html

is truly horrifying. Part of the the story is about the children of
the miners who are dying or have died from silicosis, and includes a
link to a Web site where you can contribute to a fund for their
education.

It seems to me that if we are horrified at what’s happening to the
people who do the work that we as goldsmiths benefit from, then it’s
up to us to do something.

It seems like the work needs to start further up the food chain,
however. We either need to organize as a group to put pressure on the
Chinese government to provide masks for the workers and to install
ventilation systems, or we organize as a group to raise the funds
necessary to make it happen. And not just in gold mines, but also for
every worker who cuts stones and makes beads or in some way provides
the materials that we use to make our own living.

If not us, then who?
Linda


#7
And while the majority of retail customers may seem to be blithely
oblivious, perhaps it's just because they're ignorant of the
gruesome details - not because they're heartless swine who know and
don't care. After all, you probably don't have big l
placards in your shop about conflict diamonds, do you? Perhaps
you're hiding out under the "don't tell unless asked" approach,
praying all the while that no one asks? 

It wasn’t clear who the intended audience was for your post, but I
think the fact that I have raised this issue twice on the forum in
different questions quite obviously negates the possibility of me
"hiding" in a shop some where instead of facing the issue. On the
contrary I am a small business owner who up until discovering the
"true price of gold" was quite proud that I had wrestled my way out
of the rat race and was making my living solely off of my own skills.
I am by no means rich, but I am completely self-employed - a goal I
thought to be impossible 5 years ago. I am still proud of my hard
work and sacrifice, but now that pride is dismally tarnished by what
I have discovered.

Chris, since I’m not going to close my shop and go sign up for
welfare benefits anytime soon, I would appreciate "constructive"
imput from someone who is also deeply concerned about the issues
raised by the anti-gold mine campaign - not sweeping indictments.I
post in an attempt to find solutions and to see how others are
handling the situation. So far all I have been able to gather is that
one small mine in Columbia thus far offers ecologically and
responsibly mined gold on the entire face of the globe (please
conrtadict me or correct me here with valid or I can
collect customer scraps, which presents a problem for me because I
deal mostly with wholesale and my retail is mostly internet based,
and no doubt do to the fact that I am no assayist, I will get swindled
on the trade.

So suggestions Chris? I wouldn’t mind a list from one so passionate
about the issue. Thank you.

Nanz Aalund,

Thank you so much for your reply to my query (love your magazine to
pieces btw). Do you know if Hoover and Strong will supply only
recycled casting grain on request? If not, then the problem still
remains (at least for me) because any new gold that is being
introduced from unethical sources is still supporting the practices
of gold mines which have little regard for human and environmental
health. Given H&S size, I doubt they are getting new gold solely from
the outfit in Columbia. If they are, they should definately create ads
announcing it.

Frustrated but holding out hope for more creative and realistic
suggestions.

-Elkka


#8
They assured me that the majority of the gold they sell is
recycled not newly mined. The scraps and sweeps and worn out old
jewelry and dental gold that we all have been sending in to be
refined, is being refined and recycled! 

I asked my rep from United Precious Metals the same question at the
Bench conference last week, and got essentially the same
answer…that approximately 95% of the metal they sell (platinum,
gold, silver) has been recycled from scrap. Sounds pretty clean to
me…

Matthew Crawford
www.MatthewDesigns.com


#9

Chris,

It’s kind of funny that you’re using a computer to state that you
are concerned about where your products come from, since computers
use rare elements that are responsible for large amounts of death and
misery in some of the emerging world countries. But then that’s what
I meant when I said that most of the groups involved in the
antijewelry campaigns pick soft targets. By soft targets I mean
something that a lot of people think you can live without. Except
that the reality is that we could live without our computers. But
you’ll notice that it wouldn’t be convenient for these groups to go
after computers because that is the main medium THEY use to spread
their message. We could also live without SUV’s too but you haven’t
seen the kind of concerted effort go into campaigning against them
that has gone into the conflict diamond and anti gold issues. And by
the way, most of the areas where conflict diamonds came from have
resolved their differences and there are now protocols in place to
prevent the sales of the diamonds. So why should anyone be bringing
it up any more? You’re right this is the age of the internet, but
unfortunately that means that there is more and more misinformation
(or outdated correct floating around and that it just
gets harder every day to sort out what’s real and what’s not.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#10
unfortunately that means that there is more and more misinformation
(or outdated correct floating around and that it just
gets harder every day to sort out what's real and what's not. 

Not mention “spin” where correct is slanted and or
presented in such a way as to fulfill someone’s agenda


#11

Speaking of National Geographic, have you seen the horrors of daily
life in the ship breaking in Bangladesh? How about “No Dirty Steel”?
well there is http://www.greenpeaceweb.org/shipbreak/

It is easy and makes catchy slogans to target jewelry, a product
that American’s calvinist/puritanical psyche tells us is unnecessary,
a frivolous luxury, somehow morally questionable in the first place.
Never mind that is is one of the most prevalent artistic expressions
to be seen in modern society, that it holds deep personal, spiritual
and social meaning not only for it’s wearers, but also for those who
give it as a gift, and yes, for those of us who create it.

If confronted by a customer, I might be tempted to tell them that if
they want to clean up mining, that THEY should do something about it
other than harassing me. Maybe they can write their representatives
urging mining reform, travel to gold mining countries to press their
case, go give aid to miners. I’m too busy working as hard as I can
to eke out a living in a trade that is as hard as it is rewarding to
be a part of. After all, if they’re a customer of mine, they’re
certainly wealthier than me, and have more free time too. I might
even suggest that all this protestation is a good cover for being
too much of a cheapskate to buy gold. But really, I’ll just shut up
and mumble something about recycling.

Michael Babinski


#12

Dirty gold is everywhere - from ancient times till now only a small
percentage of the total world gold stock is lost. Some of the gold
you now have may contain particles obtained from murdered ancient
Egyptians, or the more recent Aztecs and Jews. As with money, do you
insist on only handling new minted coins and fresh printed notes? A
noble but futile gesture. Conflict is the “good” fighting the “bad”,
the terms are freely interchangable. Rise above “good” and “bad” if
you want peace, but trying to force others to do so will further aid
conflict.


#13

actually, if they do not like dirty gold, then perhaps they should
simply not use any device that contains such gold:

  • cellphones (gold on contacts, and in integrated circuits)
  • automobiles (control computers, and platinum in the catalytic
    converters)
  • aircraft (control computers)
  • surgical tables (have any of these people received medical
    treatment?)
  • computers (cpu, memory, contacts)
  • electricity (produced over the “grid” using control computers that
    yes, have gold
  • water from a municipal water system (all fo the test instruments
    use gold as part of their circuitry)

so, I would respect the “dirty gold” folks simply after they stop
using the devices that contains the gold they are complaining about.

Mark Zirinsky, Denver


#14

You think the price of gold is high now, imagine what the price
would be if the mining companies stopped mining for gold? When the
price of gold falls below $300/oz, the mining companies here in
Nevada shut down. The cost to bring it out of the ground is higher
than what they can sell it for. Until stockpiles outweigh demands,
the price is not going to fall anytime soon and mining is not going
to stop anytime soon. As a side note, they do not mine for silver
(here in Nevada), it is a by-product of gold mining, the mines sell
the silver at 100% pure profit.

Tom


#15

I only just read one part of this thread - haven’t followed it -
there are always those who can’t just live - we must have ANGST, and
much wringing of hands.

That’s fine, as long as they don’t try to project it on the rest of
us…


#16

I had a question for those of you who accuse the dirty gold campaign
of basing its facts on faulty or outdated

Why do you believe this? And could you post some sources that show
that the NDG campaign is motivated by false info? The recent news
stories provided on those sites about mine issues in and out of the
U.S. are from “credible” sources depending on how musch faith you
place in the New York Times and similar publications…


#17

I’ve been watching this thread off and on. If you want to make a
difference in the eco-friendly environment, you can start with
something a lot more simple and in your own home. You be the first
line of responsibility.

Start by changing out your incandescent and halogen light bulbs with
compact fluorescent lights (CFL). They use 1/4-1/3 the energy of the
other types of bulbs. Replace your energy ineffiecient appliances
with energy efficient ones. That means refrigerators, freezers,
computers, television(s), stoves, etc. A new refrigerator comparable
to your old one that’s ten or more years old, will only be using
1/8-1/10 of the power. Start looking into solar panels and wind
generators. Most now are able to be put into urban settings and are
allowed under zoning laws. In addition, most of your states, and
starting this year, our federal government give tax breaks and
rebates. And do you really need a large screen TV? And do you really
need more than one TV? And have you switched to LCD screens that
require 1/3 the power of cathode types?

To give you an idea of where I’m coming from–We have lived on the
backside of the boonies for more than 25 years. We do not, nor have
we ever had, commercial electricity during that time. We are
off-grid, with the nearest power lines 15 miles away. We generate 95%
of our electrical requirements through wind and solar. The other 5%
is through a deisel generator when the wind and solar aren’t working,
which is very little instance that affects both wind and solar. We
live in Wyoming, so it’s not like Arizona where you have oodles of
solar. Our appliances are functional and energy efficient. We use a
gas stove instead of electric. Solar radiant heat, with a propane
backup. Point-of-use, or on-demand hot water heaters.

Yes, I do have an SUV. We live 30 miles from the nearest town. We go
once a week, providing the weather is cooperating. That SUV is packed
to the gills with feed, groceries, supplies for a ranch, and I’ve
been to the doctor, dentist, visiting the nursing home and bringing
in their requests, 4-H, library, or other appointments as well.But
we’re often snowed in during the winter (we have lots of snow, and it
snowed day before yesterday), sometimes up to 5-1/2 months per year.
We do hunt. Remember the part about being snowed in for 5-1/2 months
at a time? You can’t survive on snow and being vegan is not
practical. There are no nice little organic vegan stores down the
block from us.

We have also improved the wildlife habitat by planting trees, grass,
shrubs, flowers, and providing water to the wildlife. As a result,
we have a healthy population of the indigenous wildlife, as well as
other things which should not be out in a alpine desert environment.
It is a healthy microecology. Biologists, zoologists, mammologists,
ranchers, hikers and casual visitors cannot believe it when they see
our place. The grass is lush, the trees are green, the wildlife
abounds, while all around our property everything else is seared and
barren because of the long drought we’ve had for the past six years.

OK, so my lifestyle is not going to appeal to everyone else,
especially those that are vegan or vegitarian (and btw, we have
vegetarians in our family, but they live in cities). But, I do feel
we have been as responsible as we can, to do our part in being
stewards of the land. We are slowly winning over a few converts. It
may be just a small drop in the bucket, but if there are enough
drops, it will eventually fill the bucket. In the future, we may not
even need the bucket because we’ve found even better alternatives.

If you are truly bothered by the lack of eco-friendly practices,
start in your own back yard.


#18
had a question for those of you who accuse the dirty gold campaign
of basing its facts on faulty or outdated 

I actually accused the conflict diamond campaigners on being
outdated. I have no doubt that there is a certain amount of
environmental damage being done due to gold mining. My contention is
that you really need to put your money where your mouth is. If you
don’t like what’s being done to the environment because of gold
mining, or you don’t like the human toll from conflict diamonds then
stop everything else in your life that screws up the environment or
takes a human toll. Stop using your computers for one thing because
they contribute dramatically to environmental issues and developing
nations human lives (in other words stop using Orchid–and do you
really want to do that???). Stop using your cars. Hello??? Gasoline
and our thirst for it create more environmental damage (and take more
of a toll on human lives) than the desire for gold ever will. Stop
buying food that is shipped to you from overseas where the people
farming it don’t have enough money to eat it themselves. Stop using
electricity, which is generated from the burning of fossil fuels
(have you read up on how much damage the burning of coal does to our
air quality—oh and don’t forget all those people who have died
underground mining that black stuff for you–so that you can have
heat in the winter and light when there is none). Stop buying houses
that use lumber so that you aren’t having any extra trees chopped
down. There is reality and then there is reality. Sure everyone out
there should do their personal best to take care of the earth we live
on. And sure, in an ideal world, no one would ever suffer but we
haven’t been able to achieve that yet and to focus on one particular
group of business people and point a finger at them and say “YOU are
all bad because you use this product” is just a bunch of you know
what.

And Katherine Palochak, good for you, and I have absolutely NO
problem with you owning an SUV where you live. It’s the idiots who
live in my city, and in the suburbs around me who wouldn’t know what
"off road" looks like, no matter actually drive there, that get my
personal ire up. People who live in the boonies (no offense intended)
absolutely have a need for larger, more durable vehicles. People,
however, who live in a suburb and drive their two kids to school
every morning have absolutely no need to have one of those monsters.
And people who live in cities and drive them should be arrested (well
occasionally I think they should face the death penalty but that is
usually when they are talking on the phone, yelling at the kids,
have a dog jumping around, a movie on in the VCR and are trying to
shove a donut in their mouth all at the same time).

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#19
It seems to me that if we are horrified at what's happening to the
people who do the work that we as goldsmiths benefit from, then
it's up to us to do something. 

OK, we close down all the bad dirty gold mines in China, then the
children will be nice and healthy when they and their parents starve
to death. These people live and work there because it is better than
anything else that they can find.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#20
I'm not sure what mysterious "groups" are involved here, but
here's a wrenching account from National Geographic - hardly a
coven of radical flakery - about _a_ gold mine in China and the
horrendous effect it had: 

What do you mean, not a coven of radical flakery? I’ve been reading
National Geographic since the 1960’s and EVERY ISSUE is dedicated to
exposing mankinds ruination of the environment and the destruction
of so-called ‘primitive’ cultures and cultural artifacts by the
encroachment of western civilization. Hardly an unbiased source!

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers