FAQs

What is SMO?

SMO stands for Single Mine Origin. This is an initiative to bring fully traceable, responsibly sourced metal to the jewellery and investment markets in a way that is both affordable and scalable. Single Mine Origin gold is kept segregated from any other material throughout the supply chain and is sourced from independently audited mines which operate to international best practice.

Does SMO cost more to buy?

There are costs associated with keeping SMO metal segregated throughout the supply chain and independently auditing this segregation to ensure the chain of custody is robust. However, by working with corporate mines, SMO is able to achieve economies of scale and keep these costs to an absolute minimum. For most jewellery and investment products, there is no extra cost to jewellers or investors. Where consumers are buying gold in very large volumes in its rawest form, there will be a very small additional cost, because in those circumstances the additional costs in the supply chain cannot be fully absorbed by the manufacturer. 

Why should I consider buying SMO above Fairtrade and Fairmined or recycled?

SMO is not designed to compete with Fairtrade or Fairmined gold, both of which are fantastic initiatives working withing the artisanal sector. Similarly, recycled metal forms an important part of the supply chain and can offer a responsible alternative. SMO simply provides additional choice for consumers. The majority of gold consumption is derived from large-scale corporate mining rather than artisanal mining or recycling. SMO targets this sector and ensures metals are sourced from the best and most progressive mines. Individual consumers should make informed choices about their supply of metal. For some, the limited supply and substantial premiums mean that Fairtrade or Fairmined metal is not viable. With recycled metal, the original provenance of the metal is often unknown and you cannot make claims about beneficial impacts achieved in mining communities. We believe the important thing is for consumers to actively engage with responsible sourcing in whatever form is most appropriate to them.

Can I buy findings or chain in SMO?

The range of products available in SMO is constantly developing. There are already limited ranges of findings and chain available, and these are evolving all the time. 

Does SMO gold come in all alloys and colours?

We offer a comprehensive range of SMO gold alloys. We can also manufacture custom alloys in line with customers' specific requirements.

I work in Europe - can I get European standard alloys and colours in SMO?

Yes, all European alloys are available and alloys can be made up to customers’ precise requirements.

Can I see where my SMO gold comes from?

Yes; simply scan the QR code or visit the website for full details. SMO gold is sold with a batch code and associated QR code. Because all SMO gold can be traced to a single, responsibly operated mine, consumers can see exactly where their gold came from and learn more about the social and environmental initiatives taking place around the mine.

How is SMO traceable?

SMO is kept separate from all other material through the supply chain from mine to finished product. We work with world-class logistics partners and LBMA refiners to ensure the integrity of this chain of custody. Unlike most metal, which is comingled with material from multiple sources at the point of refinery, SMO is refined in segregated batches in a process independently overseen by Bureau Veritas. 

Can I return my scrap SMO and have it recycled?

SMO scrap can of course be recycled. However, because SMO does not control or audit jewellery partners beyond the point of supplying metal, once the metal is scrapped, it will no longer be designated as SMO because we cannot guarantee the integrity of the segregation at the jeweller. As there is little or no premium associated with SMO gold, jewellers do not lose out from this process. 

Do you manufacture investment products in SMO?

Yes. A comprehensive range of SMO investment coins and bars are available on the SMO website. As with all SMO products, these investment products can be traced to a single, responsibly operated mine, and are still sold at highly competitive prices. If you are a company or larger investor, we also offer a bespoke service in which SMO coins and bars are custom-manufactured, featuring your own design.

How do I get involved with SMO?

Just call the number on our contact page here or email us with your enquiry and one of our team will be happy to discuss how to get involved.

Do you offer any promotional products?

Because our aim is to make SMO affordable and competitive, despite the additional costs associated with a segregated chain of custody we do not provide a wide range of promotional or point of sale materials. However, a selection of collateral; from images and material to point of sale information including your specific QR code, can be obtained from the SMO team. Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss how we can help you to promote SMO. 

We are a jewellery college. Is there anyone who could come and talk to us about SMO?

Of course. Please contact us and we will happily arrange a talk. We have a technical team available to explain our offerings and their uses.

Do I have to sign up to anything to use SMO?

No. We aim to make using SMO as easy as possible and do not wish to impose any administrative burden on our partners. If you wish to use the SMO hallmark, you will need to be registered on the approved list with your assay office and agree to mass balance checks to ensure your output of SMO gold does not exceed your supply. This is a very simple process. 

Can SMO be hallmarked?

It can. All the UK assay offices can apply the SMO hallmark to registered users. 

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