Birmingham manufacturer moves to responsibly sourced gold

Betts Group celebrates 260th anniversary with ethical decision.

One of the UK’s oldest family-run businesses has marked its 260th anniversary by announcing the use of responsibly sourced gold in all of its manufactured gold products.

The Betts Group, which was formed in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter at the dawn of the industrial revolution, has revealed that it is now using Single Mine Origin gold to manufacture all of its gold products.

The move is part of the Betts Group’s industry-leading commitment to supply responsibly mined gold to investors and the jewellery trade, including renowned names such as Boodles, Sheila Fleet and G. Collins & Sons.

The company first began offering SMO gold in 2018 as part of its complete service proposition to jewellers, including refining services and a wide range of products and sundries such as grain, sheet, wire, bullion, wedding rings, jewellers’ tools and bespoke investment products.

Sourced from the Yanfolila gold mine in Mali, SMO certified gold provides an auditable chain of custody for the entire supply chain, with full segregation from mine to finished product. SMO gold must adhere to a number of strict CSR guidelines and be mined in accordance with the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

Batch codes and QR codes offer consumers a direct link to the source of the metal used in their purchase, as well as giving an insight into the impact each purchase has helped to create through community and environmental projects.

The Betts name has been inextricably linked with precious metals for over a quarter of a millennium. The business was founded by Alexander Betts in 1760, who came from Battle in Sussex to the village of Birmingham to establish a smelting and refining business in the newly formed Jewellery Quarter.

The family enjoyed local and national success, being represented on the first elected council of the city of Birmingham and making a significant contribution to Britain’s war effort. They also played an influential role in expanding the geological knowledge that led to the discovery of gold in Australia.

Betts Group has survived through two world wars, under nine different monarchs and more than 50 prime ministers and is now in the ninth consecutive generation of family management. It has been based in Birmingham’s Spencer Street since 1992.

Betts Group’s managing director, Charlie Betts, said: “This is a very special milestone in our history. We’re incredibly proud to be the oldest surviving precious metal refining and dealing business in the UK. Although we have evolved into a much more diverse business with interests in investments and waste management, our core ethos of integrity and quality of service, and our focus on precious metal expertise remain the cornerstones of the Betts Group.

“The knowledge and skill we have developed over 260 years is unrivalled and we are continually exploring innovative and pioneering approaches to enhance our proposition to our customers. It’s hugely exciting to be at the forefront of creating fully traceable, responsibly-sourced gold and we believe it is a real game changer for the trade.

“As consumers, we are increasingly concerned about the provenance of the products we buy but the vast majority of the gold used in the jewellery industry cannot be traced to a known source and consequently any potentially negative impacts of that metal cannot be known. We manufacture all our in-house gold products using SMO gold, giving customers peace of mind that their metal is from a known, responsible source with a proven track record of committed social and environmental responsibility. There are no administrative barriers to entry for jewellers or investors and with a plentiful supply, there is no pricing premium either.”