[caption id="attachment_485" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="A river transport in the Choco bioregion of Colombia."][/caption]
By Margaret Hedderman
These days "green" and "eco-friendly" are just about the trendiest terms you could call something. But in the case of the Oro Verde gold mine in Columbia, "green" and "eco-friendly" are more than adjectives - they're a way of life.
Set in the lush Chocó bioregion of Colombia, Oro Verde literally means "green gold." An alliance of Afro-Colombian miners, Oro Verde has, since its inception, sought to not only utilize the best, sustainable mining practices and limit damage to the environment but to also reverse much of the destruction that has taken place in the Chocó bioregion.
Oro Verde will soon be a registered Fairtrade and Fairmined operation.
[caption id="attachment_487" align="alignright" width="288" caption="46mm EcoGold Eclipse Earrings by Toby Pomeroy"][/caption]
It is only fitting that Toby Pomeroy would find Oro Verde. For years, Toby has been at the forefront of raising awareness about the destructiveness of traditional gold and silver mining practices and has lead the way in creating a market for reclaimed and recycled precious metals. His EcoGold and EcoSilver jewelry line rings true for those with discerning taste and high standards for environmental protection.
[caption id="attachment_489" align="alignleft" width="199" caption="Oraria by Toby Pomeroy"][/caption]
Toby has now paired with Oro Verde to create his new line of engagement rings and wedding bands. Available in 18K white and yellow gold, and platinum, Toby's engagement rings are named after the orchids of Colombia. Tigrina, Elata, Oraria... each ring is as beautiful as its namesake. The new engagement rings also source conflict-free diamonds from Canada.
Toby knew he was onto something when he discovered Oro Verde. While traditional mining displaces homes and families, tears apart the natural landscape, and quite frequently ruins an ecosystem for centuries, the alliance behind Oro Verde realizes that the Chocó bioregion is a home - it's a place where people live, not a factory.
[caption id="attachment_492" align="aligncenter" width="442" caption="Oro Verde mines use terraces to help prevent erosion. These can later be replanted with trees or banana plants."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_494" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Gold and platinum discovered while panning."][/caption]
Using ancient mining practices, the Oro Verde gold mines can actually be replanted with native plant life after mining is complete because of the minimal impact of the operation. These are the only gold mines in the world that do not use chemicals in the extraction process.
Owning a piece of jewelry that is created from Oro Verde gold is a genuine investment in a tide change. It supports Fairtrade and Fairmining practices. It directly benefits the miners who live and work in the Chocó bioregion. And it says you care.