The Royal Mint, the producer of coins in the UK has announced that it plans to create luxury jewellery made from electronic waste.
The somewhat unexpected move for the coinmaker was announced in a press release and is led by creative director Dominic Jones.
The collection, called 886 in commemoration of the founding of the Royal Mint itself, is following several brands such as Fope Jewellery by focusing on sustainability and ethics with the precious materials it uses, but with a more precise focus on recycling.
The Royal Mint plans to build a recycling plant for electronic waste where gold and other precious metals can be recovered from printed circuit boards, and use that recovered gold in combination with precision engineering and traditional medal-making techniques to make their range.
The initial collection of pieces includes many jewellery box standards, including studs, T-bar chains, hoop earrings and cufflinks, each made with solid gold or silver using striking and pulling techniques more commonly seen in medal making.
This makes the metals denser, heavier and more robust than more traditional cast jewellery.
The focus on preservation and sustainability spreads beyond the provenance of the precious metals themselves and into the unique and traditional skill sets that have been put at risk by the transition to a coinless society.
Roughly 70 per cent of the collection is being produced by The Royal Mint themselves using coinmaking techniques, and construction of the plant to recover the gold from e-waste is underway, with a launch date of 2023 announced.
The factory uses chemical technology innovated by Excir, a clean-technology startup based in Canada, and is claimed to recover over 99 per cent of the precious metals in the circuit boards that power electronic devices both current and obsolete.
This factory will be owned by and based within The Royal Mint’s site to ensure a regular, secure stream of precious metals.