A young German named Lilian von Trapp melted down some of her inherited jewellery a few years ago.
They didn’t suit her, but she didn’t want to get rid of them.
I think the word for this might be “upcycling”.
She found a goldsmith who would recast the glittering metal for her, and gave him a few designs she had sketched out herself.
Now her designs adorn huge Hollywood names like Emma Watson, under the eponymous brand name LVT.
All from recycled gold. This is one sign of a shift which could have huge ramifications for gold and silver investors going forwards.
A return to more inflationary times looms.
One of the key assets for investors going into this new era is going to be gold. Silver too, as well as other precious metals, and the companies which mine and refine them.
But alongside a regime change towards higher or more volatile inflation, there is a social and environmental revolution around sustainability, and the gold sector will not be immune.
LVT’s success in recent years reflects a new mindset among businesses and consumers. That sustainable and ethical practices are worth paying up for.
And gold is ripe for this kind of disruption.
As von Trapp put it in an interview with Vogue in 2018,
“In the gold pits of Uganda, there isn’t only the danger of dying by being crushed,” she says, “the other horrible situation is – and this is why people in Uganda have a low life expectancy – they are handling mercury and cyanide with their bare hands. I’ve seen mothers my own age or even younger burning mercury without any protection while they have babies on their backs. Of course, those toxins go into your organs and they destroy everything from within, and they also go into the groundwater, which contaminates the soil.”
in 2018 there were 81 fatalities linked to the mining industry, according to Mining Weekly.
LVT’s sustainable gold offering has chimed with consumer demands for a product which is more closely aligned with their ethical preferences – which is a vague term meaning that people don’t want to worry that they’re wearing the equivalent of blood diamonds.
It matters where the gold came from, and it matters that people weren’t exploited during the process.
This change, as with many of the more environmental or socially conscious consumer trends, is being driven by the young.
According to the Financial Times, “Twenty-seven per cent of visitors to the website of London-based jeweller Emefa Cole which uses 100% recycled gold, are aged 18 to 24, and a third are aged 25 to 34, the company says”.
(Hopefully the same kind of conscious consumerism takes hold among drug users in developed nations soon – the annual death toll involved in sourcing that particular luxury good will be a damn sight higher than 81.)
It’s not just recycling though.
The use of cyanide in the gold mining industry is definitely coming under pressure, for example.
The environmental impact of mining is also leading to pressure from the investment community.
Heavy haul trucks and power supplies (from fossil fuels) are major sources of emissions. Also, deteriorating gold ore grades have forced miners to dig more rock to extract each ounce of gold in an increasingly energy-intensive process.
As reported by Reuters, “The World Gold Council estimates the sector emitted 32,689 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of gold produced in 2018, up 12% from the 2017 total”.
So recycling gold is one option – but there are also ways to reduce the carbon intensity and social/environmental impacts of the work. By using renewable energy for example, or ensuring fair wages and no child labour.
Miners, and now it turns out jewellers, are looking for ways to meet the higher standards of consumers.
As investors, this is something we should keep an eye on as there are companies out there helping the gold sector to clean up its act, and we could also see the safest, cleanest and best miners delivering some kind of premium over competitors going forwards.
I’m going to stop there though, because I have something else, something exciting, to share with you.
The Gold Summit
I’d like to formally invite you to our latest free online investor conference.
I won’t go through it all again here, but for many reasons the conditions for long-term gold investors have rarely seemed better.
Extreme monetary expansion, increased government spending, commodity prices already soaring…
The Gold Summit is an online gathering of the best minds in investment, dedicated to a single theme – gold. This brings in silver and other precious metals, no doubt bitcoin will get a mention too, along with the nature of money and the future of our currencies.
I’ve seen the guestlist and it’s set to be a brilliant event, for well-versed gold bugs or new investors alike.
For your ticket, click this link now.
For absolutely no cost, I can assure you this will be fantastic value – an investment in your own financial future.
I highly recommend you sign up and tune in to our 2021 Gold Summit.
Very best wishes,
Editor, UK Uncensored