The British Royal Mint has unveiled a new jewellery division, “886 by the Royal Mint,” which combines its 1,100 years of experience with the latest technology to re-use gold recovered from electronic waste.
The jewellery and homeware division takes its name from the period in which the Royal Mint was founded – circa 886 – and the inaugural collection features hoop earrings, T-bar chains, studs and cuffs. Each piece is crafted from solid gold or silver using ancient techniques more commonly seen in coin and medal-making; the precious metals are struck and pulled rather than cast to increase their density. The mint’s expansion into luxury jewellery and homeware will help preserve its employees’ rare skills while promoting sustainable design and manufacturing, according to the company, which added about 70 per cent of the collection is currently produced at its headquarters.
“This is an exciting time for the Royal Mint as we reinvent the business for the future,” said Anne Jessopp, the mint’s chief executive. “We are pioneering new ways to source sustainable precious metals and champion British craftsmanship. Our new jewellery division ‘886 by the Royal Mint’ combines our unique heritage and skills, with a focus on cutting edge design and sustainability.”
With seven per cent of the world’s gold estimated to be contained in electronic waste, the mint has announced plans to build a plant in South Wales to recover precious metals from mobile phones and laptops. It is using patented new chemistry – created by Canadian clean tech start-up Excir – to recover over 99 per cent of the precious metals contained within circuit boards.
“Working with our partners Excir, we have introduced world-first technology to the U.K. capable of recovering precious metals from electronic waste in minutes,” said Sean Millard, the mint’s chief growth officer. “We estimate that 99 per cent of the U.K.’s circuit boards are currently shipped overseas to be processed at high temperatures. When fully operational our plant will process tonnes of electronic waste each week, providing a new source of high-quality gold direct to the Royal Mint.”
The construction of the South Wales plant is underway and will be located within the Royal Mint’s secure area to provide a stream of precious metals directly into the business. When fully operational in 2023, the mint expects to process up to 90 tons of U.K.-sourced circuit boards per week, generating hundreds of kilograms of gold a year.