Silver does not grow on trees and it is going to disappear as a mined resource. Rather than going into the details click this on the link for a comprehensive scientific study which attempts to predict its sustainability.
It is a bleak picture that is uncomfortable reading for both the jeweller/silversmith and the customer and wearer of silver jewellery that sends a clear message. We need to face facts that silver is not a sustainable resource. Mines will be depleted and nearly all silver mining will cease in approximately 50 years from now. The only option available will be recycling silver that is already in use.
As the designer/manufacturer, Silver Panic ‘s mission is first and foremost to be completely upfront and honest with our customers and not offer any slick slogans on sustainability as a substitute for not facing reality.
Given that recycling precious metals is already well established in the jewellery industry our promise to you is that all silver jewellery you buy from Silver Panic will be made from recycled sterling silver 925 silver grain that we purchase from our suppliers based in London’s Hatton Garden. We pride ourselves on our hallmark and assay stamp that is not put there by us, but by the legal authority, Goldsmiths Hall who independently assays the silver jewellery we make in our workshop and stamps it with our individual makers hallmark which they retain at Goldsmiths Hall. Alternatively they can laser our hallmark onto the piece. If it does not pass the test it is sent back to the maker unstamped or in the worst case destroyed.
Trying to achieve both a policy of ethically sourced jewellery, quality and sustainability is not easy. Some companies prefer to name a mined source in a particular country such as Peru as their sole supplier of silver. All makers and craftspeople have to obtain a constant source of supply. The reality is that shipment of raw materials from far off places can cause serious problems and delays and having to raise prices with increased shipping costs. However if you look at the overall picture it does not solve the problem as silver is mined throughout the world and also sourced from copper and lead mines. If you only buy silver from one source you are depriving the livelihood of miners who work in other mines and face being made redundant if there is a drop in sales. It may seem ethical but in reality it may be detrimental to many poor people in other places.
We are trying to look for a way of donating a percentage of our sales to miners health charities which we think would be the most ethical way of conducting our business. Looking at the situations faced by miners such as in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, Silver Panic would be proud to be the first to do so and will publish an update when we can find a suitable charity.
Addendum : Following the important statement issued on 30/10/2018 by the WWF, a donation of £2 will go to the World Wildlife Fund for each one of our animal pendants sold. A receipt of the amounts sent to the fund will be published on this page at regular intervals.
Minimalism and recycling as an answer
Our chosen path is one of handmade minimalism. By using recycled 925 silver grain, we make all the components ourselves. Wire, sheet, ingots, screws, pins and also recycle the casting sprue and our scrap. We recycle all that can be recycled by using this process and at the same time being able to guarantee the 925 quality of the silver. Since the refining of silver uses large quantities of sulphuric acid which is a serious pollutant if not disposed of properly, we avoid that process by upgrading our own scrap by adding fine silver to ensure 925 sterling quality. Many jewellery makers buy in ready-made components to save time, that have been through environmentally polluting processes as they were made in large quantities by machine. None of our components go anywhere near that process as they are all hand made. The wire is hand drawn, the sheet is hand rolled. It all takes place in our workshop. We collect the silver dust from our hand sawing and send it off to a special refiner so it can be made into silver ingots or grain and be reused. Here is a photo of one “sweepings” pot from our workshop.
The stones and other materials that we use in our jewellery will be accurately described in the description in our shop and the sources will also be included in that description. Sometimes a stone that we use cannot be sourced due to missing paperwork and we will state that in the description.
Our policy of minimalism includes reduced use of silver and not creating large pieces that increase the volume of silver used. If silver will be in short supply for future generations, it does not make sense wearing unusually large chunky pieces and showing off your ignorance of the situation. Our policy also includes the integration of silver with wood or other suitable materials. The contrasts of the materials can be quite stunning.
For us at Silver Panic, the key issue is using smaller quantity means leaving more available for future generations. It is not an excuse for giving less silver, it just means that we concentrate on making smaller items. Most jewellery production houses do not publish the weight of the piece on sale. You will notice that we usually do publish the precise weight and measurement of the jewellery on sale in our shop. However weight is not just a matter of sustainability it is also a matter of honesty and keeping the buyer informed. Our prices reflect the hours of work and unique design that is put into making the piece. Our silver jewellery is solid 925. It is not silver tube or rhodium plated so it will keep its appearance and structure for a lifetime and beyond.
Jewels as memory keepers
Silver possesses the special qualities of belonging to group 11 of noble metals listed in the Periodic Table. It’s appeal has been timeless throughout the centuries and it is still used to make jewellery and gifts that are handed down through families for generations. The fact that it is not as costly has made silver an important part of the life of those who could not afford to buy gold as a gift for their loved ones. The sharing and the passing down of the family silver and jewellery as an heirloom and remembrance of the giver, for future generations, is a common feature amongst ordinary families who do not have a lot of possessions. Sadly nowadays large quantities of fine silver jewellery and artefacts have been sold off as scrap. We are just not scrapping the jewellery but the memories and stories that are intrinsic to the piece will also disappear forever. The tradition of buying a piece of precious metal and it lasting for generations in a family will become extinct if the prices rise to a level where keeping it becomes a burden. So the links to our family ancestors, parents and grandparents become even more tenuous driven by economic necessities.
Our aim is to preserve the history that is contained within the precious metal so it can still be used for its intended purpose as a gift that can pass through the ages and tell a story. We believe that producing smaller scale jewellery would keep it affordable even in times when prices are high. It would also make it easier to hang on to as a forever family keepsake. They say that “small is beautiful”. Silver Panic aims to fullfil this adage with the unique jewellery that it crafts by hand.
Why should only the rich have the pleasure of possessing a treasure mined from the deep earth?