With so many of us becoming more aware of the environment around us and the damage we are causing to the planet, there are more and more ways that we can be more sustainable in our day-to-day lives. Jewellery isn’t sustainable in the same way that crops may be. Sure, you can replant cotton, but you can’t replant diamonds or gold – they’ve taken millions of years to form and be produced and in today’s market, many people are unwilling to wait that long for the next lot.
However, what jewellery is primed for is recycling. Jewellery is, in fact, so recyclable that it often causes many headaches for collectors, auction houses and historians as so few pieces survive the change in the times. For example, many Georgian-era pieces, such as necklaces, tiaras and rings, had to be disassembled and sold in order to fund stately homes or pay off debts, such as King George IV’s crown.
But, you don’t need to be wealthy or royal to recycle your jewellery. Rather than taking an old piece to the pawnshop, there are now more contemporary jewellers who are encouraging people to bring in their old pieces of jewellery to be recast, reimagined or recycled in order to create something they will actually wear.
What Jewellery Can Be Recycled?
As long as the metal is hallmarked as gold, silver or palladium, then pretty much everything. Many of these jewellers will take in even the tiniest nugget of jewellery to be recycled, whereas pawn brokers insist on full and complete pieces only. If your old piece of jewellery is made up of multiple stones, varying hues or different sizes, then this lends itself perfectly to recycling a piece of jewellery.
Diamond Jewellery is something which is unlikely to ever go out of fashion and has many uses, from engagement rings to pendants. However, if you have inherited or found an older piece which could do with updating, then diamonds and the band they are set in are also popular recyclable pieces.
Creating A New Item
Many people feel immensely guilty when it comes to recycling or selling their old jewellery. Often, these pieces have been inherited, bought for a special occasion or are from a loved one, but so many pieces go unworn for years on end, whether it be because of the style, colour or metal. There are many jewellery recycling specialists out there, but one told of a story where they had taken a sapphire ring, diamond chips from a broken eternity band and an inherited ring. The result? A stylish jumble of all the pieces and any metal which wasn’t used was scrapped and the price taken off the final cost.
Another specialist created a dated Edwardian brooch into a stylish ear-climber and a mine-cut stone into a ball and chain pendant. Recycling jewellery is a great way to fashion a new piece of out of out-dated and unloved jewellery pieces. Many people who choose to recycle jewellery have been known to bring in entire jewellery boxes filed with once loved, but dated, pieces which haven’t been worn in over 20 years. Remember, diamonds and jewellery are to be worn, not locked away, so no matter what you do to make it fashionable, you should do so!