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Wal-Mart greening its jewelry?

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(Read caption) A lake of cyanide at a gold mine in Khakassia, Russia. Cyanide is widely used to extract gold from low-grade ore.

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Wal-Mart is rolling out a new line of gold and silver jewelry that they say can can be traced from the mine to the store.

The company's Love, Earth line of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings will be sold in the discount megastores, Sam's Club warehouses, and online. Customers will be able to log onto the store's website and see where their piece of jewelry was mined and learn about the environmental and social practices of the miners, refineries, factories, and distributors.

To develop its new jewelry line, Wal-Mart partnered with Conservation International. In a press release, a spokesman for the biodiversity advocacy group spoke of the advantages of teaming up with the world's largest retailer of jewelry (and just about ever other product).

"With its considerable influence, market reach and commitment to sustainability, Wal-Mart has brought together like-minded suppliers, mining companies and conservation partners to work together to build a traceable jewelry supply chain at an impressive scale," said Dr. Assheton Stewart Carter, Senior Director of Business Policies and Practices at Conservation International. "We hope others in the jewelry industry will follow this leadership example and thus enable consumers to make simple choices that benefit the environment and mining communities when shopping for jewelry."

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