How to care for your Thicket jewelry

Jewelry care depends some on the metal the jewelry is made from 

Thicket jewelry is meant to be worn and loved but it's always advisable to remove jewelry before exercising, swimming and using harsh chemicals such as cleaning solutions. If you use your hands for work or for other pursuits like gardening or cooking it's also a good idea to remove rings and bracelets.

You can clean your jewelry with a soft jewelry cloth or with a gentle soap and soft toothbrush. If your piece includes oxidized sterling silver avoid polishing to preserve the darkened finish.

Thicket will clean and repair your jewelry.  Email rebecca@shopthicket.com if you have a piece in need of some love or if you have any questions about the care of your jewelry.

Why recycled + Fairmined gold

The jewelry industry is wrought with problematic paradigms - beautiful things are often created at a high human and environmental cost. It does not have to be this way. If we educate ourselves as consumers we can support a transition to practices that are safer for both humans and our environment.

Gold mining, as it is typically practiced, has deadly consequences on the environment and the health and rights of individuals and communities. Illegal mining activities have been tied to child labor, human trafficking and violence by mine operators against miners. Mining is destroying huge swaths of some of the most biodiverse areas on our planet – awful in and of itself, but protected forest and jungle flora is also one of our best assets in off-setting carbon emissions. And we’re talking really, truly decimating. To obtain enough gold to make a single wedding ring (a single one!) 20 tons of soil and rock are displaced - and for illegal mining, done unsystematically, estimates can be much higher. Mercury and cyanide are often poured over the piles as cheap and expedient aids to extract the gold, leaving behind a heap of toxic sludge.  These chemical laced piles are typically abandoned, leaving dangerous consequences for groundwater and the health of local communities.

It’s easy to wash over numbers - even statistics as mind-blowing and disproportionate as that. Imagine if upon purchasing gold we had to look at the remnants of the land that it came from. “There have long been ‘inconsistencies’ between the traditional perceived value of gold as a romantic symbol and the realities of extracting raw gold from the Earth,” Beth Gerstein, co-founder of Brilliant Earth, said in an article in Smithsonian Magazine. But as with so many things, we see only the finished product, and the human and environmental cost remain far in the distance.

Here’s the thing. Most of the gold being mined goes toward the jewelry industry. If we purchased less gold it would directly translate into less mining. If consumers decided to rethink their purchasing patterns to prioritize more ethically mined gold and recycled gold the industry would have to shift.

 

Greenwashing + Gold Terminology

It’s worth noting that with the rise of consumer awareness and increasing demand for gold that is not tied to human suffering and environmental destruction there is greenwashing occuring. The Responsible Jewelry Council’s standards and their verification procedures have been called into question as “more shine than substance.”

But there are some better options. Here are some words to know:

Fairmined: a certification through the Alliance for Responsible Mining that assures that gold marked with the Fairmined label comes only from small scale mines that are responsibly managed and meet requirements for work conditions, environmental protection, and organizational and social development.

Fairtrade: similar to Fairmined, Fairtrade certification means that the gold has come from mines that meet environmental and safety standards and pay their workers a living wage as well as a ‘premium’ to spend on community projects such as education and healthcare. At this point Fairtrade gold is labeled only in the UK but that may expand soon.

IRMA: Still in the final phases of development the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance is seeking to create a set of standards that will provide independent auditors the ability to grade large industrial mines and certify mines that meet their expectations.

Recycled: recycled gold is gold that has been previously mined, refined and made into jewelry before being melted down to be made into something new. Recycled gold is, from my perspective, the best way to go as new mining does not occur. I also just love the idea of wearing jewelry that had a previous life in another form.