Mention recycling and an image of differently coloured containers and bin bags springs to mind. Of course, nowadays the fashion world launches own re-sell platforms, brings specially priced collections of in-house mended garments that came out in some ways faulty in the production process, recycles damaged things to create new fabrics and donates fabric leftovers to fashion schools. And this is great news.
The concept of circular economy implies reusing, repurposing and recycling: in design and production it means that both waste and new inputs can be minimised. It is a self-reliant, sustainable system that allows reuse, as opposed to the throw-away culture.
In this day and age, while it is our duty to learn the art of use and incorporate the practices of repairing, repurposing and recycling in our daily lives, couldn’t it be literally rewarding when it comes to our existing jewellery?
At first glance, jewellery is all about shine and sparkle, so the concept of recycling does not seem to be that relevant. But come to think of it, there will always be inherited earrings that feel old-fashioned or a favourite but irrevocably damaged ring, so the principles of circular economy can be applied: you can make a new pendant, necklace or a ring from your own old or unused jewellery pieces by making use of the precious materials they are made from.
What you need to do first is to go find yourself something that is asking for a makeover, a new lease on life. Then you’ll need a jeweller, whose style speaks to you — so that you get the jewellery design outcome you are after. An experienced craftsman or a craftswoman will be able to resize, restore your piece or create a totally new jewellery item which, now, you will enjoy for a very long time. You’ll just need a little imagination or an experienced advice and inspiration — and the possibilities of repurposing or recycling your existing jewellery can be endless!
Every piece of existing jewellery has its sunk cost — be it the cost of man labour, getting raw materials out of the ground, or the cost to the nature. You would agree it is just irresponsible to not use these precious materials again.
The good news is, most of the time, recycling can be part of the process in the fine jewellery world.
For example, YU STEPANEL, as a responsible brand, works towards creating most of its pieces from recycled and repurposed materials. Recycled gold and Ecosilver are used whenever and wherever possible. (Ecosilver is an eco-friendly alternative to sterling silver made of 100% recycled silver products — using jewellery, medical equipment, electronics and giftware. It comes to the workbench with a certificate of authenticity and possesses the same quality as new silver.)
I’ll talk more about the ways old earrings can find a new life in artisan hands and how jewellers can reuse precious materials at the workbench — in the articles to follow, so look out for new stuff in the coming days or sign up for the Ю newsletter and be notified of the new content, new jewellery to fall in love with and special offers for the Ю family members.