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Gardens of the Sun sets up traceable supply chain for ethical gold

Traceable gold supply chain - indigenous gold miner

One of the women gold miners panning for gold

Traceable gold supply chain - female gold miner

Ibu Leni showing off the gold she mined today.

Traceable gold supply chain - Female gold miner showing finished gold jewelry

Ibu Gineng, Pendulang Pamuan Jaya’s Secretary, showing off a Gardens of the Sun Hidden Gems ring made with gold she mined.

Bali-based jewelry brand establishes a fully traceable supply chain for mercury-free gold mined by indigenous women.

DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA, July 19, 2022 / -- Gardens of the Sun is a small jewelry business based in Bali, Indonesia, raising the bar on supply chain transparency. It’s founded by former sustainability consultant Meri Geraldine.

Meri explains her desire to connect directly with the people in her supply chain: “I want to work with indigenous people, with women, and make sure we don’t contribute to the mercury problem.”

The ethical jewelry brand now works with a group of indigenous Dayak miners in Gunung Mas district, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

Mercury free
“Most artisanal gold miners in Indonesia use mercury”, says Evi, Sourcing and Sustainability Manager at Gardens of the Sun. The women miners participating in this partnership have signed a pledge to not use mercury. “A single gold engagement ring made with our traceable gold avoids 15 to 22 grams of mercury pollution. To date, our partnership has avoided the release of an estimated 44 kg of mercury pollution.”

Fully traceable supply chain
So what does a fully traceable, single mine origin gold supply chain look like? The gold is panned by hand by a closed group of miners, all indigenous Dayak women. The raw gold is then sent to Bali to be tested for gold quality. Based on the weight of the gold, the current gold price and the gold content, Gardens of the Sun pays a premium price to the women miners. On top of that, Gardens of the Sun offers a quarterly bonus incentive system and annual scholarships.

Once the gold arrives in Bali, Gardens of the Sun collects the gold until they reach a quantity of 500 grams. That is the minimum amount required by the Jakarta-based refinery Bukitmas to refine the gold in isolation from other gold.

Meri explains why isolation matters: “If we supply a smaller amount of gold, the gold will be mixed with gold from other sources. The gold returned to us now is exactly the same gold as the gold we send them. So our clients can be assured the gold used in their jewelry does not contain gold from other, dubious sources.”

After the gold is refined, it is mixed with other metals into 18 karat yellow gold, rose gold and white gold. Then the gold is ready to be paired with gemstones and diamonds from known, conflict-free sources, and turned into ethical jewelry.

What makes this gold so ethical?
Fully traceable supply chain
Processed and refined separately from other gold
Purchased directly from artisanal miners who receive fair pay
Empowers indigenous Dayak women
Gardens of the Sun offsets carbon emissions associated with mining this gold
No mercury pollution
No deforestation
Legal mining site

Plenty of benefits for the miners
The NGO Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta acted as an intermediate to connect the miners and Gardens of the Sun. They provided technical capacity building and training to the women miners, and helped the miners set up a formal entity.

The gold miners are pleased with the partnership and the benefits it brings them and their families. Priskila: “I’m happy I don't have to use mercury, which is dangerous to our health. So it's great to partner with Gardens of the Sun. Although we both earn an income, I'm no longer dependent on my husband. We’ve built a house from the money we’ve earned from panning for gold.”

She’s not the only one who used the additional income for larger expenses. “The premium paid for our gold is great. I managed to save enough capital to open a small food stall I run from my house.” Mini Maung, one of the gold miners, shares proudly.

Traceability is a two-way street
Traceability goes two ways. It’s not only Gardens of the Sun’s clients that are thrilled to know where the gold used in their engagement ring or wedding band comes from. The women miners equally love seeing the finished jewelry and knowing where their gold ends up.

Gardens of the Sun is now offering this gold to other jewelers in Indonesia.

Meri Geraldine
Gardens of the Sun
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Ethical gold - how is it mined?