Silver is a precious metal that has been used for millennia, but it comes with a heavy price: the mining and processing of silver can be devastating to both the environment and local communities. Historically, silver mining has posed major threats through acid mine drainage, cyanide spills, and heavy metal pollution that can contaminate groundwater and soil and result in significant detriment to the health of miners and their families. In addition, mining has been both directly and indirectly linked to making significant contributions to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. As the industry shifts towards a focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing, the recycled silver industry has seen a strong growth as an alternative way forward, placing us on a path to a better future.
At Vipa Designs, we are proud to be authorised suppliers of Fairtrade and Fairmined metals and a Single Mine Origin Partner & Supplier, committed to using only conflict-free, 100% recycled materials, which are fully traceable in their provenance. Today, we are proud to announce an addition to our range of metals, a fascinatingly innovative product created exclusively from recycled X-ray film. Independently audited by the Responsible Jewellery Council, AgAIN Silver is the latest offering from the Betts Group, the UK’s oldest surviving precious metal refining and dealing firm.
Every piece of jewellery you wear has a story. And every story has a beginning. The beginning of our story is one that began back in the early 1900s, when X-ray film was first invented. It was a medical revolution that changed the lives of millions of people – and it also created a by-product: used X-ray film. For decades, this by-product was simply thrown away, put into landfills, or stored at a high cost to hospitals. But this year, the Betts Group have developed an innovative way to turn this medical by-product into something both beautiful, sustainable, and traceable, providing peace of mind that your jewellery creations are as beautiful on the inside, as they are on the outside.
Working with hospitals throughout the UK and Ireland to collect 300 tonnes of used X-ray film so far, the Betts Group utilises a sustainable process to extract 2-5g of silver from every kilogram, smelting and refining the metal within their factory in Buxton separate from their other products. In doing so, AgAIN Silver has generated hundreds of thousands of pounds through rebates and savings on storage costs for hospitals, whilst helping the planet by recycling every element of the X-ray film and fostering a circular economy.
As we look to the future, we know that we have a responsibility to support ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship in our industry. With AgAIN silver, we can do just that. We first partnered with the Betts Group for their Single Mine Origin initiative in 2018, bringing accountability to every gram of gold through proven traceability, stringent health & safety adherence, environmental stewardship, community engagement and corporate governance. AgAIN Silver provides a brand new approach to recycled silver – and we’re thrilled to be taking the next step in making a meaningful impact to both the planet and the people within it.
Ben Crump, General Manager at Vipa Designs, said: “AgAIN Silver is the next step in ethical innovation for the jewellery industry, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of our public services, fund our vital healthcare organisations, and help protect our planet from harm. At Vipa Designs, we’re proud to partner with the Betts Group to help support an initiative that truly changes things for the better – one piece of X-ray film at a time!”
If you want to find out more about AgAIN Silver and its applications for your jewellery, get in touch with the friendly Vipa team today, and join us in making a difference!