450 Years

GOLD STANDARD

British jewellery house Boodles has committed to use only Single Mine Origin gold in all of its future designs

21 April, 2021

The ethical sourcing of diamonds is a well-documented subject, but what about the provenance of precious metals in jewellery? As British jewellery house Boodles announces that it will only use Single Mine Origin (SMO) gold in all its designs going forwards, we take a closer look at this enduringly popular precious metal, and where it comes from.

Gold was discovered thousands of years ago and is the earliest recorded metal used by humans. Despite being relatively common and accessible, it has an out-of-this-world origin story – quite literally. Gold is derived in the cosmic fire of stellar explosions millions of years ago before fragments fell to earth via asteroids. Today, gold is found in the earth’s crust, embedded in rocks and streams, and is mined in various countries worldwide, primarily America, Australia and South Africa.

Workers at the Yanfolila Mine in Mali, where all of Boodles’ gold is now sourced from, allowing for full traceability

While gold technically comes from outer space, when we talk about provenance, it’s a lot closer to home, and essentially means being safe in the knowledge that the gold in your jewellery comes from an ethical source and can be traced throughout the entire supply chain.

Boodles has recently announced that it will now only be using SMO gold in all its designs. For consumers who are increasingly sustainably minded and eager to make more eco-conscious choices, it’s exactly the kind of commitment they want to see their favourite brands making.

Boodles jewellery crafted from SMO gold
Knot bangle featuring white diamonds set in 18 carat SMO gold, £9,300; Circus pendant featuring Ashoka diamonds set in 18 carat SMO gold, POA, Boodles

The vast majority of gold used in the jewellery industry cannot be traced to a known source, meaning that any negative implications of the metal remain unknown. By sourcing all its gold from the Yanfolila mine in Mali, Boodles can adhere to strict Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) regulations and monitor every stage of the process — from production at the mine to smelting and delivery to Boodles’ workshops.

It also means that the company can have a positive impact on the local community. Boodles has pledged to make improvements to Yanfolila’s water towers, schools, hospitals and market garden infrastructure. Boodles has also partnered with Betts Metals, another British family business, to supply the SMO gold, thereby working towards traceability throughout the whole supply chain.

Education is just one of the areas Boodles has committed to to help improve in the local community, as part of its partnership with the Yanfolila mine

A piece of jewellery, especially one of such exquisite craftsmanship as the pieces designed by Boodles, is always an investment piece. This is important for customers who wish to make better choices when it comes to shopping, and this recent development will allow customers to continue to buy from Boodles with confidence.

‘This is a very important step forward, both for Boodles and for our clients,’ says Jody Wainwright, Boodles Director. ‘We are delighted to be one of the pioneers in the jewellery industry, using SMO gold for all of our jewellery designs.’

Discover Boodles’ ethical gold jewellery creations at The Royal Exchange Boodles boutique

The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. We look forward to welcoming you for a considered shopping and dining experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.

Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange, and keep an eye on our specially created 450 Years site, journal and Instagram for more fascinating facts and insights about The Royal Exchange’s past and present as we commemorate this special milestone throughout the year.