Daily Planet

Jewellery made of gold salvaged from computers promotes shift towards circular economy

Did you know your electronics can contain bits of gold? Jewellery brand BaYou with Love has partnered with Dell to create a run of rings, earrings, and cufflinks—the Circular Collection—made of 14 to 18-carat gold recycled from computer parts.

The world may generate nearly 50 million tonnes of electronic waste this year and only around 12.5 per cent of devices will be recycled responsibly. A 2015 study estimated that people were throwing out over €1.6 billion worth of materials inside electronics each year in Europe alone.

Dell wanted to address the issue of e-waste and encourage circular supply chains by making something beautiful. So, it approached Nikki Reed, Co-founder of BaYou with Love, and the aptly-named Circular Collection was created.

The limited-edition line features delicate gold jewellery boasting circular silhouettes. All of BaYou with Love’s products are made-to-last with sustainably-sourced and recycled materials.

Why is gold used in electronics?

Gold is the most flexible metal and the second-best conductor of electricity, which makes it ideal for circuit boards.

On average, Dell uses over three tonnes of gold in its products every year. That’s why it and its partners have created a process to extract gold from old computer motherboards that is 99 per cent more environmentally-friendly than extracting gold from the earth. And, a tonne of used motherboards has up to 800 times more gold than a tonne of gold ore. Additionally, this process involves ethical labour practices, a departure from the often harsh conditions that come with gold mining.

How does Dell extract gold?

The gold is extracted from motherboards electro-chemically and then melted into bars for easy transport. A “gold salt bath” is created from the bars and the components for new motherboards are dipped in this bath to coat them. Dell is the first PC manufacturer to use recycled gold from e-waste in its products.