Untreated gold nuggets are at the heart of your work, which you process and turn into unique pieces of jewellery. Naturalness and sustainability are particularly important to you. Tell us more about that.
Unlike the industrial gold mines has the traditional gold digging process no impact on the environment and supports at the same time the people who are living in the rainforest. First of all panning is done to locate the parent gold veins which are the source of placer deposits. Once the gold diggers found a gold vein the actually digging process can start. Our Gold diggers are using the dredge to dig gold. Although this method has largely been replaced by modern methods it is the most eﬃcient way to dig gold ecologically correct, because this method has no environmental impact, as no stripping on vegetation or overburden is necessary and all process water is fully recycled. The dredge is a small machine that ﬂoats on the water and is usually operated by one or two people. A suction dredge consists of a sluice box supported by pontoons, attached to a suction hose which is controlled by one or two worker beneath the water. When this process is done the gold panning starts. It is a manual technique of separating gold from other materials. The pan is submerged in water and shaken, sorting the gold from the gravel and other material. As gold is much denser than rock, it quickly settles to the bottom of the pan. During the gold digging process no chemicals like cyanide or other toxic substances are used.
What happens once the gold nuggets have made their long journey from the rainforest to you? In other words, what do you do to the untreated pieces of gold before they become part of the Golpira jewellery collection?
There are different degrees of purity in gold nuggets and we only use the highest quality for our jewelry. Once the nuggets have been sorted, we decide ones to use for which design. Sometimes we come up with new designs based on the shape of a particular nugget, and sometimes we even have to drop designs because we don’t have any nuggets to match that shape. We then process them by hand in Germany into precious pieces of jewellery. We don’t manipulate the gold nuggets, so we don’t hammer, shape or even polish them. We leave them in their original shape, just as the gold miners found them in the river. We use them as they are in designs that suit them. Each nugget looks different, and therein lies its beauty. Whether its angular or matt, elongated or rough, round or shiny – no two are alike. Each has its own structure, shape and especially its own energy. The fine gold that we use to realize the designs around the gold nuggets is coming from a german refinery that delivers us with fair trade gold.