It’s something we’re all concerned with nowadays. If you’re like me, you may have thought it was a city in Rhode Island, but no. It means where things come from. What their origin is.
At my local butcher, there’s a sign up that tells you where today’s meat came from – the exact farm, and how far away it is. The fruit we buy at the supermarket has a little sticker telling you where it was grown and harvested. So, I guess it shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise that we occasionally (and getting less occasionally and more routinely) are asked where our gold comes from.
People are increasingly aware of the choices they make, and how those choices influence the world around us. Gold mining can be bad for the environment, bad for the workers, and bad for the economies around the mines. ‘Blood Gold’ is a term used to describe gold that’s mined outside safety or environmental rules and contributes to such crimes as child labour, slavery and funding illegal arms.
So, the short answer is that almost all of our gold comes from a single supplier that only sells recycled precious metals. This means there’s no additional mining needed to stock our shelves. There’s no child labour, no slavery, and no exploitation associated with any of our fine jewellery.
But, that’s kind of a dull story.
So, let me tell you another one. Every piece of gold you have ever worn, ever touched, ever seen, was born in the heart of an exploding star.
Gold is formed in the last seconds of a Star’s life, just before it goes Supernova. All the elements that once made up the Star are pushed across the universe in an expanding swirl of gas and stardust.
This stardust goes on to form new Stars and Solar Systems.
And around 5 billion years ago, it made our Sun, our Earth, our Moon, and all the planets and moons in-between.
That’s not where the story ends.
Most of this gold sank to the core of our planet. There is a rolling molten river of gold, miles beneath our feet that we can never get to. Some of this has been pushed out to the Earth’s crust by geological events, but not a lot.
So, where does the gold we wear today come from?
Around 3.8-4.1 billion years ago, the Earth was in a stage known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. This was a period where Asteroids, Comets, and other space debris smashed into our planet, over and over, leaving parts of themselves driven deep into the Earths’s crust. Undoubtedly, many of these fallen celestial objects were heavy with Water, Iron, and sometimes Gold.
Where does our gold come from?
The short, boring answer is that it’s provided by an ethical supplier. That it doesn’t add to any of the world’s problems, and doesn’t increase the suffering of another human soul.
But, before that, it was dug from the Earth, from a residue left by an Asteroid, billions of years ago, after travelling possibly the length of our Galaxy to get here. And before that, it was a cloud of golden dust, scattered free in space, travelling at incredible speeds. And before that, it was the heart of a Star!
No wonder we use this incredible material to make such beautiful things.