March 10, 2009
Change is happening in the industry. The number of jewelers demanding recycled and ethically sourced materials is growing. Asking questions, voicing our concerns to suppliers and keeping the dialog open within our community are all crucial steps in bringing about these changes. Sharing ideas, sources and links is important too. So I'd like to share some links that have helped me along the way. They vary from material sources, ethical organizations and news, to eco-boutiques and magazines. The links are listed in the column on the right side of this page. I will continue to update it with current finds, so make sure you check back.
I'm often asked where I purchase my recycled silver from. I'd like to highlight my main source, Hoover & Strong and also share some recycling tips for jewelers.
I refine all my silver with Hoover & Strong. Their exclusive brand of 100% recycled precious metals is called HARMONY Metals and Gems™. They provide socially and environmentally-responsible products and services. They respect basic human rights around the world and protect the environment by conserving energy and recycling. All precious metals at Hoover & Strong are recycled from the Earth’s existing metal supply. They DO NOT buy metals from mining companies.
I recycle all of my scrap and have a very active recycling “program” which encourages family, friends and clients to donate old, unworn and unloved jewelry for me to refine. This can include jewelry, watches, coins, sterling silver flatware, candlesticks, etc. Almost anything with precious metal content can be refined. There is a lot of "old" metal out there! Recycling is not only an ethical choice but it makes financial sense.
Separate your scrap before sending it in. I have a different bag for metal scraps, filings, floor sweeps, polishings, buffs, sink sludge, emery and filters. I keep a large piece of heavy paper in the drop drawer of my bench, it collects metal dust while I work and I make a habit of emptying it into a bag every night. Also keep a small, separate vacuum to pick up any scrap/dust from the floor around your bench. Every particle counts, really.
The above image shows my latest batch of silver scrap headed to the refinery. As you can see it includes bags of dust, scrap metal, old jewelry, and some old decorative wire from a retired jeweler (not a style I would use in my own work) so it all gets sent off for refining. The total return on this batch was over $600. I requested half of my return in new sheet metal and wire, and the other half in cash. The image at the top of this post shows the materials I received from Hoover and Strong - a new piece of recycled sterling silver sheet (12"x6") and wire to start making new pieces with - very exciting!www.hooverandstrong.com