Hello and happy Monday my friends. As you know sustainability is a big part of my business, I love learning new ways on how to be more sustainable and I love to share that with all of you. Today I would like to share the different types of recycled silver that is used in the jewellery industry today.
For those of you that are a little unsure about buying recycled silver I hope I can help convince you that recycled silver is physically just as good as newly mined silver, but it is better environmentally so to me that is a win win. You see, recycled silver or any precious metal doesn’t lose any of its chemical or physical properties during the recycling process no matter how many times it is recycled meaning it can be recycled an infinite number of times and still be as strong as a newly made silver. You have the added bonus that recycled silver doesn’t involve mining which can be unsafe to the miners and it means it doesn’t involve harmful chemicals which escape into the atmosphere/surrounding water supply/soil.
So, are you convinced? If so read on to see what you should be looking for when trying to source jewellery made from recycled materials.
I discovered recycled silver over 10 years ago now in the form of silver clay also known as fine silver. This is silver that has been collected from photographic films and cleverly been mixed with water and a chemical so it comes in clay form. Normally when you see fine silver mentioned you can assume it is recycled. The clever creators of this also developed a sterling silver form as well. Today you will also see silver being recycled from the tech industry as silver is used in phones, tablets etc.
Next is scrap silver. Every jeweller has little bits of scrap silver, from the silver dust collected when sawing to scraps from off-cuts and of course those little bits that just didn’t work out (I have more of these than I care to admit lol). All these bits can be collected in a tub and sent off to silver suppliers that will melt them down and compensate you, or you can keep these scraps and melt yourself for your own designs etc.
Jewellers can buy recycled silver. This is harder to find therefore it’s expensive to buy. But slowly we are seeing it come on the market a little more and hopefully it will reduce in price over time. Recycled silver can be bought in sheet form, wire, jump rings and chain.
As consumers we don’t have to buy newly made jewellery either. There is something very romantic about buying pre-loved jewellery, I like to imagine what the previous owners life would have been like and what type of person they were/are – you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their jewellery you know! I love going into antique shops or looking at online auctions to see what is available to buy. These are great not only for jewellers that would like to use the jewellery in their designs as it is a great way of obtaining precious stones without buying new making it more sustainable. It is also great for the consumer knowing that the jewellery is living on and not being wasted.
Precious metal isn’t the only jewellery out there, you have jewellery made from beads, resins, plastic etc. I’m starting to see more sustainable businesses which sell jewellery made from such materials. They have been bought from the likes of charity shops, ebay etc and given a new lease of life, been spruced up to suit today’s styles!
This brings me onto how the consumer can recycle jewellery……
A great way to recycle your precious metal jewellery is to get your old pieces that you no longer love or wear and get them melted down by a specialist jeweller then design a new piece of jewellery all for yourself that you know you will like, an added bonus of this is that you are not restricted to just your old jewellery but you can add to it using precious stones or more precious metal. This gives a new lease of life to your old jewellery and there is no wastage plus all memories that the jewellery hold will still be there for you every time you wear it. Were as before, if you weren’t wearing the pieces you didn’t get to enjoy those memories to the fullest!
Have you got lots of fashion jewellery just sitting in your jewellery box? You don’t want to give them to the charity shop as they hold lots of memories and they have sentimental value? Well, why not consider going on a beaded jewellery course and learning how to take them apart and mix them up…making fresh new jewellery? This would make great Christmas gifts (yes it may be September, but It will fly in) or new jewellery for yourself. I am very passionate about this so if you live in the Belfast area and you think it is something you might like to do please get in touch, I would love to help you out!
I use a lot of fine silver in my designs, but I also buy sterling silver and when I do I buy it I buy from a reputable business that sells recycled sterling silver. Just recently I have found recycled silver chain which I have added to my recent designs. One of the major downsides is that the price for recycled silver is higher which means my price has had to increase. But I am confident that you my customers would rather pay that little bit extra for a sustainable piece of jewellery. Am I right?
So next time you buy a piece of jewellery, have a look to see what it is made from. If you can’t find what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to ask. Us jewellers just love a chance to talk about our jewellery especially what materials we use and why.
Well that’s all for this week folks, I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and will tune in again next week.
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Until next week, stay safe, keep communicating and always sparkle.