C. Hafner refinery

C. Hafner refinery

Meet the maker

Gold. A word that has always been fused with a strong longing. A longing for a better life, for wealth, carelessness and beauty. A word that leches for adventures. For paths through rocks, for new life, for love.


The red house

There is a red house in Pforzheim. And if this were a fairy tale, a magician would live in this house, a magician who would know how to breathe life into things, to give them a second, third and fourth chance. Because the red house in Pforzheim is the refinery C. Hafner. It belongs to the Hafner family and inside, acids bubble in glass flasks, so-called reactors. People wear protective goggles and mouth guards. Because there is something in the air here. Gold.


Gilded work

But this gold, which determines the everyday life of the workers, the chemists, the people, is a modern gold, which has only the immortal shine in common with the old stories. It is gold that does not have to be newly mined, that has left the awfulness of the mines behind and is instead processed in harmony with the environment. Here, old gold becomes new gold.


Complicated things made simple

How does that work? "Quite simply," says Dr. Michael Huber, chemist at C. Hafner. And then, with shining eyes, he explains processes that are anything but simple. In the beginning, there's the scrap. This is the name given to gold that has already had a life and has been processed with other materials. This includes gold and filing waste, scrap gold and worn-out dentures. And because gold has always been characterized by its purity, the precious metal content of the scrap must first be determined. To do this, it is weighed and then melted down so that the precious metal is homogenized. This is what we call it when like is added to like. In this case: gold to gold. Bars are cast from that which withstands the fire test, and samples are taken from them and weighed in for analysis. In the process, the samples are quaternized with lead. The lead absorbs the precious metals in the crucible and then dissipates in the heat. What remains is the precious metal grain.


The golden grain

The grain is hammered and rolled and: separated. In this way, the precious metal content of the sample can be determined. The customers of C. Hafner are then remunerated on the basis of the analysis of the purity of the gold. Only now does the actual separation process begin - the separation of the precious metals. The separating material dissolves in aqua regia. And as if by magic, the various precious metals contained in the separated material separate from one another and can be recovered in pure form: Palladium, platinum and even gold. Of course, professionals like Michael Huber are not talking about magic. But that's the way it is: For magicians, magic is a craft. Dr. Huber calls his magic: chemistry. At the end of the gold separation process is pure gold sponge. Dr. Huber and his colleagues melt it down, granulate it, and the result is impressive: Fine gold with 99.99 percent purity.

Family business

C. Hafner is a family business. And has been since 1850. 170 years of family with around 240 employees - how does that work? Mrs. Hafner says: "We are not only a family business that has grown, we think in generations." Together with her cousin Dr. Philipp Reisert, she is the fifth-generation managing director. That carries with it not only a desire to continue, but also a desire to move forward. And that's what C. Hafner does. Employees here are more than just colleagues. They are friends. They celebrate birthdays and weddings together. Colleagues become couples, couples become married couples. That's how you realize that sometimes a job is a vocation, and sometimes it's much more than that.

That is why we have chosen C. Hafner

And that's exactly why we chose gold from C. Hafner. Not only does the emotional setting fit our corporate concept, but also what the family-owned company is doing for our future, our earth: Because here, by tradition, they rely on recycled gold.

"By tradition: The processing of precious metals of all kinds in the expanding jewelry and watchmaking industry led to processes for reprocessing these valuable raw materials as early as the end of the 19th century. Carl Hafner recognized the potential early on and founded the company as a so-called "Kehretspräparation", i.e. the recovery of precious metals from processing waste.

In our 170-year company history, the focus has thus always been on the recycling of precious metals and has been constantly developed technologically. Thus, as early as the 1990s, we built a recycling plant that even then far exceeded the requirements for nature and the environment and which today is the basis for the CO2 neutrality of our processes."

This is where tradition meets expertise. And climate neutrality. Because C. Hafner's gold is produced in a climate-friendly way and the CO2 that is still emitted after extensive optimization in manufacturing processes is offset by the company. "The extraction of precious metals from mines has so far been accompanied by images of devastated landscapes, uncontrolled use of chemicals and poor working conditions. A study by the INEC Institute has now determined the carbon footprint of recycled gold for the first time. The result was impressive: the extraction of precious metals from secondary material emits up to 99.8% less CO2 than that from mine gold. This was the reason for us to also take the last step and make our recycling process CO2-neutral."

Maren Jewellery and C. Hafner - that fits together. Together we fight for jewelry and beauty in harmony with nature. Jewelry with a future. Or to put it in the words of C. Hafner: "Just as we are pioneers in the jewelry industry, we also see Maren Jewellery as one of the pioneers in the jewelry industry. Only together can we achieve something."


Written by: Moritz Hackl

Moritz is a copywriter, blogger and journalist living in Munich.
More than anything else, he likes to write about the beautiful things in life -
such as about sustainable jewellery.