The Royal Mint is the government-owned mint that has been producing coins for the United Kingdom ever since 886 AD. They have now released a sustainable jewelry line made from gold recovered from electronic waste. The sleek unisex collection was designed by Dominic Jones, an award-winning British designer. Each piece has a visual indicator of its gram weight along with the hallmark. This is a fresh take on the idea of wearable assets.
The Royal Mint 886 includes cuffs, rings, and earrings in solid 18 and 9 Karat gold, Britannia and sterling silver. Excir, a Canadian clean tech company, is working with the Royal Mint to recover gold from old smartphones and laptops. This will ensure that all yellowgold used in this collection was recovered from e-waste at Excir’s manufacturing plant in Wales. According to Sean Millard, Chief Growth Officer, the team is now working to extract more silver from used electronics. This will help the company position itself as a leader for sustainable precious metals.
He says, “An emphasis on sustainability is at the core of our business.” We invest in people, communities, supply chains, and operations with our customers in the forefront. The Royal Mint currently works towards Net Zero goals, uses 100% renewable electricity, and is building its Local Energy Centre to increase its renewable energy production. The Royal Mint is well-known for its illustrated commemorative coins that mark milestones in British History. It is also known for coinage for circulation in Britain. Most recently, it has a collection featuring coins and gold bullion for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. They are committed to responsible packaging and responsibly sourced metals.
Since Alfred the Great’s time, the Royal Mint has produced coins. Each coin bears his portrait and is stamped with ‘Londonia to indicate where it was made. Dominic Jones, the newly appointed Creative Director of Royal Mint Collections felt the weight and history when he was asked for help in creating a lifestyle brand. I spent a lot time trying to understand and distill why The Royal Mint exists in the first instance and then turning these into core design codes that I could launch from. It was a trusted supplier for precious metals and a storyteller through portraiture [on coin] that I took as my inception point.”
The result is modern and fresh. It’s a beautiful, minimalist tribute to history that highlights the high-polished beauty of metals. There are many options for ring and bracelet thickness, but the best pieces have a lot of volume and can be worn with everything. You’ll find simple studs or simple cufflinks in solid gold, and also squared hoop earrings. These pieces are made for someone who is passionate about design and has a keen eye for detail. Dominic says that this jewelry is for the wearer and not the viewer.
This collection is also an investment in British craftsmanship, at the Royal Mint’s manufacturing centre in Llantrisant, Wales. Here craftsmen use ancient coin-making techniques in order to create jewelry of pleasing weight and luster. The UK is currently undergoing a recruitment and training drive to ensure that 75% of its production will be done in-house by 2023. This is a welcome investment in British manufacturing, which comes at a time when it has been facing many challenges due to its exit from the EU.
This new consumer business is key to appealing to a modern luxury consumer. It also requires British skills. The Royal Mint has seen its currency diversification and return to profit. Sean says that the UK’s jewelry manufacturing industry has been experiencing steady decline for the past 30 years. Royal Mint Collections will be the largest jewelry manufacturer in the country by headcount, employing 121 full-time employees within five years. It is also creating a program for jewelry training and apprenticeship that will allow other brands to enjoy the benefits of provenance, sustainability, and the increased importance of these factors to their customers. This is a fitting goal for the new division, which represents a step towards the future for the oldest luxury brand worldwide.