Recycled Gold & Platinum
As part of our comprehensive commitment to environmental responsibility, Brilliant Earth uses recycled precious metals in all of our fine jewelry, guaranteeing our customers an eco-friendly jewelry product of the highest quality.
Metal mining – and gold mining in particular – is one of the most environmentally destructive types of mining, with 20 tons of ore required to produce enough gold for a single ring. Many gold mines also release cyanide and mercury into nearby water sources and are associated with poor safety standards, inhumane labor practices, and disregard for the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.
By using recycled metals, we decrease the global demand for newly mined gold and diminish the environmentally and socially destructive effects of dirty gold and other metal mining practices. Because precious metals can be recycled repeatedly with no degradation in quality, they are a naturally renewable resource.
Brilliant Earth's reclaimed metals come from numerous post-consumer sources, including existing jewelry, industrial-use metals, and electronics components. Every piece we cast is made with 100% recycled and re-refined precious metals. Because our reclaimed gold, silver, and platinum are re-refined back into their pure elements, they are of identical quality to newly mined metals. Whenever possible, we select findings (pre-fabricated sub-components found in certain pieces of jewelry) made of 100% recycled metals or we cast findings ourselves with recycled precious metals.
Brilliant Earth also encourages our customers to recycle their own gold and platinum jewelry that they no longer wear. We will gladly accept and recycle any gold or platinum jewelry, and will offer a credit towards any Brilliant Earth purchase of equal or greater value based on current metal prices. Please contact us for more information.
Brilliant Earth is also offering a limited edition gold pendant made from one of the first sources of independently certified fair trade gold. For this pendant, we have partnered with Oro Verde, which specializes in gold responsibly harvested from cooperatives in the Chocó region in Colombia, South America. In addition to paying a fair wage, the fair trade gold cooperatives ensure the use of environmentally responsible practices. The cooperatives do not use harmful chemicals, they restore ecosystems damaged by other mining companies, and they work to promote the well-being of local communities.
Recycled metals are an important component of Brilliant Earth's commitment to the environment, but we also practice environmental responsibility throughout the jewelry production process. For example, we employ a vapor emissions cleaning system and a rigorous process of cleaning liquid emissions to prevent contaminants from being released into the environment.
Additionally, we are committed to responsible labor practices. Many jewelers outsource their production to countries where labor and environmental standards are weak or poorly enforced. While this may reduce cost, it often comes at the expense of product quality as well as worker health and safety. All Brilliant Earth jewelry is crafted in the United States with the strictest labor and safety practices.
Brilliant Earth's recycled gold, silver, and platinum are re-refined back into pure elements before being remixed into alloys and cast into our own unique pieces.
A pure metal that has been combined with another metal for structural or aesthetic purposes is called an “alloy.” 18K and 14K gold are alloys of pure 24K gold and other metals, such as silver, copper or nickel. Alloyed gold is stronger and less susceptible to scratching or denting than pure gold. 24K gold would make a poor setting for a precious engagement diamond, for example, since it is relatively soft and flexible.
All Brilliant Earth recycled yellow and white gold jewelry is made from 18K gold, which is composed of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. Standard white gold typically contains nickel, to which some people have allergies. Upon request, Brilliant Earth offers a hypoallergenic white gold alloy for a small price premium. Rather than nickel, our hypoallergenic 18K white gold contains palladium, a naturally white member of the platinum family of metals. Browse our recycled yellow gold engagement rings and white gold engagement rings.
Whenever possible, Brilliant Earth uses 14K gold die-struck heads for setting center gemstones in our 18K gold rings. The added toughness that is achieved by alloying gold to 14K is ideal for setting precious gemstones safely and securely. Upon request, Brilliant Earth offers a platinum head for 18K gold settings for a small price premium.
Brilliant Earth's recycled platinum is naturally hypoallergenic. Our platinum alloy has been carefully selected to balance hardness and durability with workability for repair and maintenance. All platinum engagement rings are set with platinum heads and prongs.
For a beautiful pure-white finish, it is general industry practice to plate white gold with rhodium. While white gold combines yellow gold with other metals to make it appear white, it still tends to retain a slight yellow cast before rhodium plating. Rhodium is a member of the platinum family of metals and has a bright-white appearance that gives Brilliant Earth's recycled white gold jewelry a beautiful white shine. Rhodium plating does wear off over time through contact with other surfaces and the effects of the body's natural oils and therefore does require some easy maintenance. White gold pieces that have lost their outer coating may be re-plated with rhodium for a nominal fee to restore the original bright-white luster.
Upon request, Brilliant Earth eco-friendly jewelry is also available in alternative metals such as 14K yellow, 14K white gold, 14K rose gold, and 950 palladium. Rose gold is a beautiful choice, composed of yellow gold with the addition of copper for a rose-pink tone. It is only available in 14K to ensure its strength and prevent brittleness. Another precious metal option is 950 palladium. 950 palladium contains 95% pure palladium, which is a member of the platinum family of metals. It has platinum's pure-white color and is less expensive, though somewhat softer and less durable than platinum. Browse our recycled rose gold engagement rings and palladium engagement rings.