Middle Easterners blessed with oil wealth love to flaunt their gold. Don’t be surprised to find gold bars sold at dispensing machine in Dubai or driving around Abu Dhabi as white gold Mercedes. But there are ways to green your gold. Read on for more.
Gold is not just a stable element on the periodic table, it is also used as “savings” in times of financial instability. While financial markets around the world fluctuate, gold pretty much remains stable. See the price of gold in this feed for the Middle East market).
Gold is a a thing of beauty that like other resources on this planet can be ecologically mined and recycled.
Historically there were ancient mines in the Middle East along the Mesopotamian river. In today’s times, there are few known sources of gold in the Middle East except for Iran and the new Alsukari mine Egypt on the Red Sea.
With gold mines operating throughout the world in developed and non-developed nations alike, there is hidden environmental damage that goes along with the gold mining industry. Industrial gold mining usually emits contaminants to rivers, lakes and seas. In order to maximize gold extraction, mercury and cyanide is often used to amalgamate with the metal. See this report on No Dirty Gold to be more informed on what companies are polluting, and how bad the situation is for the planet.
Gold that is mined using unfair labor is also ungreen, because this kind of gold takes advantage of people, and doesn’t give back to the local community. People who don’t demand proper protection and work conditions are prone to die from faulty mine construction if the mines collapse.
Like Blood Diamonds, there can be dirty gold.
If you are in the market for gold, whether for investment purposes or for small items like a wedding band, try and make your purchase a little greener.
1. Choose mines that use greener methods for gold extraction. A mining group in Colombia, for instance, are using natural plant-based materials from the leaves of balsa trees instead of mercury to separate their gold. It is being dubbed as “organic gold” and can fetch premium prices.
2. Buy gold where fair trade practices are being practised. The Fairtrade Foundation in the UK provides information on how to buy the most ethically produced gold. According to the organization, “buying Fairtrade gold makes a real difference to the lives of miners, their families and communities.
“Jewellery with the Fairtrade gold stamp is extra special. Buying it means you know the small-scale and artisanal miners were paid a fair price, giving them financial security. They also receive an extra amount of money to invest in building the future of their families and their communities, through education, medical care or environmental projects.”
3. Regift or recycle heirloom gold items. Ask your loved one or family members if there is any old gold in the family that could be used as an engagement ring or wedding band. (Or to pimp your ride). If you don’t like the style, ask a jeweller to update the fashion, or get your old gold remelted into something more your taste.
Some women in the Middle East still wear their gold instead of putting money in the bank. This can be a smart and sustainable way of saving. But when you are buying new gold, know: you can’t take it with you, but you can buy gold that leaves our planet a little greener, and better. If you have the money and resources to find it, then why not?
Strangely, Muslim men according to their practice level, may not be permitted to wear gold. This could explain the love of gold and gold leaf on objects of desire around the Middle East.