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Earth Tones: Metal Jewelry with a Conscience

Apr 16, 2009

by elisasherejewelry

I’m the kind of person that avoids those pesky, ever-present disposable plastic shopping bags like the plague. I eat organic, recycle everything, use cloth napkins (some found right here on Etsy!) and in general try to stick to the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle. I am also a metalsmith, which is not always the most eco-friendly profession.

While I’ve always used vintage and recycled elements in my jewelry, it occurred to me recently that the metal I use is mined and mining is bad – both for the environment and people. Here are some quick facts on the environmental impact of mining:

  • Mining one ounce of gold can require the removal of more than 100 tons of rock.
  • 96% of U.S. arsenic emissions come from mining.
  • Up to 10% of the world’s energy consumption comes from the mining of precious metals.
  • Most mining these days takes place in giant open pit mines where chemicals such as cyanide are used to extract the metals. These pits are often created by blasting naturally protected areas.

Photo courtesy of matt.hinsta on Flickr.

Once I realized the impact that mining has on our planet, I immediately investigated sources for recycled precious metals. Luckily, I found a great metals refiner that only sells recycled and reclaimed metals and practices the three R’s in their refining process. The only refiner/seller of raw materials that sells 100% certified recycled metals, to my knowledge, is Hoover and Strong. Hoover and Strong also use earth-friendly practices while refining and they reduce, reuse and recycle – not just the metals, but as a general business practive. They are my recommended source for eco silver and gold. The most surprising thing is that these recycled metals are priced about the same as their mined counterpart.

Thankfully, I’m not alone in my quest to create environmentally sound metal jewelry. There are many talented metalsmiths on Etsy that make beautifully crafted work from recycled and reclaimed metals. Most of them were living green in one part of their life, and wanted to bring their ethics into their jewelry making. Here’s why these crafters have chosen to use recycled metals in their own words:

 Eco-Silver and 22k Ring by jessedanger.

jessedanger: “I really enjoy metalwork and making jewelry, yet I’m very conscious of the impact that procuring it has on the environment, either through mining or the refining process. Before I began creating jewelry professionally, I searched many different suppliers to find the one I felt was the most responsible and I was the most comfortable supporting. Because new metal is still being mined every day, I donate a portion of my profits each year to organizations that ensure that metal is mined responsibly and fairly.”

Lava Necklace by AntiGenre.

AntiGenre: “I’m a bit of a recycling freak and worry about every scrap of paper and plastic that might be recyclable. I tried to instigate recycling programs at a couple of jobs over the years and occasionally resorted to lugging the recyclables to my own home when I couldn’t get them taken care of at the office. I wasn’t actually aware that recycled metals are available until recently. When I discovered that they are, I began reading up on standard mining processes and started feeling bad for generating an income off of materials that damage the environment. I decided to try reclaimed, eco-friendly metals in my jewelry, and I am now committed to using as much of them as possible.”

 Sterling Bird Necklace by figsandginger.

figsandginger: “We use earth-friendly practices for Figs & Ginger because we consider our environmental impact in any decision that we make. We want to be able to look back at our lives and business and be proud that we worked to make the world a little bit healthier, happier, and greener.”

Simple Leaf Sterling Silver Cuff by Ashhilton.

Ashhilton: “Well, my decision to use ethical metals just kinda hit me one day. I’ve always been pretty environmentally aware, and then I suddenly had the realization that the materials I was using were potentially really, really bad for the world-at-large. I was scared that I might have to make some sacrifices to reconcile my ethical needs and my artistic (and business) needs. Fortunately, after a lot of research and creative thinking (and asking my suppliers to work with me) I was able to come up with some really good solutions that not only helped soothe my social conscience, but expanded my technical skills as well.”

Post in the comments below if you’re a shopper looking for eco-friendly metal jewelry. If you’re a jeweler using reclaimed metals, link us to your items!

Shop for Reclaimed Metal Items | Environmentally Friendly Gift Guide | Earth Tones

Flower Bangle Bracelet - Recycled Silver
Flower Bangle Bracelet - Recycled Silver
Smoke Stack Rings - Set of Three
Smoke Stack Rings - Set of Three
Faceted Turquoise and Recycled Sterling Silver Ring, size 7.5
Faceted Turquoise and Recycled Sterling Silver Ring, size 7.5
frances posts in cheater quilt
frances posts in cheater quilt
White Sapphire Recycled Silver Pebble Ring
White Sapphire Recycled Silver Pebble Ring
Forest Fawn Lapel Pin
Forest Fawn Lapel Pin
Sterling Silver Twig Necklace with Buds
Sterling Silver Twig Necklace with Buds
Sapphire Wave Band
Sapphire Wave Band
Dandelion Ring in Sterling Silver
Dandelion Ring in Sterling Silver
Heavy Weight Twig Bangle Bracelet
Heavy Weight Twig Bangle Bracelet
Fine Silver Flower Pattern Wide Ring custom made to size
Fine Silver Flower Pattern Wide Ring custom made to size
SALE - Beach Balls - Genuine Sea Glass Cage Earrings
SALE - Beach Balls - Genuine Sea Glass Cage Earrings


  • SteppingStones

    SteppingStones said 8 years ago

    Love this post!! All my flava!!!

  • gloilocksandbody

    gloilocksandbody said 8 years ago

    Fantastic post, and some amazing jewelry!

  • GypsyRabbit

    GypsyRabbit said 8 years ago

    What a great topic! It's definitely one that I think about, I'm always looking for greener supplies. Thanks for the article!

  • hollysej

    hollysej said 8 years ago

    Thanks for opening my eyes to this issue!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 8 years ago

    Great post. I would love to see a list of companies that sell reclaimed/recycled metals.

  • StaceyGynn

    StaceyGynn said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this article!

  • kristincoffin

    kristincoffin said 8 years ago

    wonderful topic. I'm so glad others jewelers here on Etsy are conscious of the social and environmental impact of our desire for metals. Our society got so caught up in the issues of blood diamonds and gemstone mining, that we forgot about all the horrific repercussions of metal mining. I'm honored to have my work shown here with so many other wonderfully aware (and talented!) artists. Thank you!

  • TheCraftyRagamuffin

    TheCraftyRagamuffin said 8 years ago

    This is wonderful. It is so easy to turn a blind eye, these artisans have true courage. Thank you for this story.

  • twigsandheather

    twigsandheather said 8 years ago

    Being environmentally friendly is so important to us not only in our business but also in our lives. We love this big green earth! Good job all you awesome metalsmiths, and thank you for including us.

  • tangerinetreehouse

    tangerinetreehouse said 8 years ago

    Lovely story - thanks! I use all recycled metals in my jewelry for exactly these same reasons - and it's really wonderful to see that doing so is becoming more of a desired action in jewelry-making.

  • IceCreamCandy

    IceCreamCandy said 8 years ago

    beautiful rings:) so pretty!!

  • VanVans

    VanVans said 8 years ago

    Bravo, mining is terrible. But then, so is electricity. Wait... food production. Hmm, it's hard to find anything that is safe! Good idea though, might as well recycle. I knew some people in the mercury recycling business, though, and they ended up getting poisoned and feel a bit fruity these days. I wonder if gold, silver, etc. recycling itself is safe?

  • freeforged

    freeforged said 8 years ago

    Both of the suppliers I purchase silver from have refining services for this exact reason. Recycling metals is not only important for the environment, but also allows the jeweler to save money in purchasing new materials, which helps reduce costs for the customers.

  • NinaGibsonDesigns

    NinaGibsonDesigns said 8 years ago

    I get the question from potential buyers about where my materials come from often. It's so important to know, and using reclaimed metals is a fantastic way to be conscientious. Thank you for the article.

  • elizandaxel

    elizandaxel said 8 years ago

    This is my absolute favorite kind of jewelry! Thank you for such a wonderful and informative article.

  • Below14th

    Below14th said 8 years ago

    Well, nice to see this post, but would love to see a list of these green suppliers even more. From experience, I know that there's a very short list of suppliers who offer recycled metal -Hoover and Strong being one of them. Another option is, of course, to buy old jewelry and remake it, or have it melted and remade into sheet - an expensive process for a small studio jeweler. So, my question is: what are your sources for recycled, green, clean metals - specifically? Thank you!

  • AutumnLeavesJewelry

    AutumnLeavesJewelry said 8 years ago

    wow these are all so so pretty!!!

  • novadesigns

    novadesigns said 8 years ago

    Great article on an important topic!

  • dorijenn

    dorijenn said 8 years ago

    Great report! I admire all the metalsmiths quoted here for their initiative to protect the environment and still make gorgeous jewelry!

  • LaveMeSoapCo

    LaveMeSoapCo said 8 years ago

    i loooooooove turquoise!

  • wiredoriginals

    wiredoriginals said 8 years ago

    I just found out that the silver wire I use on ALL my jewelry is indeed recycled. I contacted my supplier to inquire....and yep! No silver from mines here. Please add me to the list!

  • wiredoriginals

    wiredoriginals said 8 years ago

    Below14th--my supplier is Monsterslayer, fyi.

  • allthingswhite

    allthingswhite said 8 years ago

    I want it all!

  • mylittlesister

    mylittlesister said 8 years ago

    Nothing better than the three R's. I find it so gratifying to do whatever I can to Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Great Article! I love that the word is spreading to protect our beautiful earth & all the gifts it offers us. Beautiful Jewelry.

  • TSmithDesigns

    TSmithDesigns said 8 years ago

    A very important topic and one worth making a decision to help our precious earth.

  • wireddesign

    wireddesign said 8 years ago

    Elisa - thanks for the great info! We could all stand to remember the 3 "R"s a little more often!

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware said 8 years ago

    Thank you for this story.

  • EvesArt

    EvesArt said 8 years ago

    I sell jewelry made from found items-so much fun being creative in this way!

  • visionquest

    visionquest said 8 years ago

    great topic - well done! as i help "clean up" some of the mining "mess" as my day job, i also use "earth silver" from Thunderbird supply from my jewelry. but my favorite thing to do is to re-use old (thrift store) jewelry and make something new from it. carry on!

  • loopityloopglam

    loopityloopglam said 8 years ago


  • missbmckay

    missbmckay said 8 years ago

    Awesome article! I love to re-salvage everything! I think by being concerned about this issue is how we will leave a better legacy to other generations to preserve this beautiful planet.

  • MintyFreshFusions

    MintyFreshFusions said 8 years ago

    Awesome article, thanks!

  • quenchmetalworks

    quenchmetalworks said 8 years ago

    Excellent article! I'm always looking for ways to cut down on the amount of toxins and chemicals I use. And metal...I recycle all of my metal by casting ingots and rolling out sheet. Labor intensive? Yes. But the reward is great!

  • craftivista

    craftivista said 8 years ago

    How great that you: 1) decided to see if there were any other sustainable options, 2) researched what was going on and 3) shared it with us! Thanks so much! Job well done! x

  • MetalheartDesign

    MetalheartDesign said 8 years ago

    thanks so much for this article--i've been saving all my metal bits to recycle but in the meantime would love to hear about resources for purchasing recycled metals!

  • sherrytruitt

    sherrytruitt said 8 years ago

    This is a great article. I'm using more and more recylced non mined silver in my work. I'm glad so many other artists are. Plus, it supports local businesses who recylce the silver.

  • greenearthjewelry

    greenearthjewelry said 8 years ago

    I only use recycled silver in my jewelry designs, check out my shop!

  • jenglo

    jenglo said 8 years ago

    Wonderful ideas - thank you so much for this. I am going to start looking for places to find environmentally-friendly supplies! :)

  • WoollyWonka

    WoollyWonka said 8 years ago

    I love the dandelion ring!

  • awakenjewelry

    awakenjewelry said 8 years ago

    I'm really excited for eco-friendly products to become more readily available as demand and consciousness increases!

  • visionquest

    visionquest said 8 years ago

    just confirmed.. Thunderbird ( uses ONLY recycled silver in the materials they sell (i.e., sterling silver wire, sheets, tubing, and discs) (and their SuperSale is coming up at the end of the month!) woot!

  • ASADesigns

    ASADesigns said 8 years ago

    This is a wonderful article! I'm just starting out and never realized what metals I use will damage the earth. I am definitely going to look into using recycled materials! Thanks for this new awareness!!!

  • jennifermorrisbeads

    jennifermorrisbeads said 8 years ago

    thunderbird is an excellent source for recycled silver. thank you so much for this's so important that we're all more aware. xo

  • westcoastseaglass

    westcoastseaglass said 8 years ago

    From someone who is always recycling each scrap of metal in our studios, I highly appreciate this article. Thanks for the research and tips. -Mary Beth

  • ShesFancy

    ShesFancy said 8 years ago

    Interesting thread from the forums on the subject:

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 8 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry and good for the environment too...what more could a girl ask for?

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 8 years ago

    thanks! I hope that all you lovely jewelers out there switch to sustainable silver! Hoover and Strong is an excellent supplier, if you are looking for one.

  • asapdesigns

    asapdesigns said 8 years ago

    I grew up less than 25 miles from a surface gold mine. It was amazing watching "the pit" grow every year and evnetually eat up the entire hill. Now I work with metal, I can't help but remember what the search for gold did to a beautiful mountian top. Lately I've been working almost exclusively in recycled or reclaimed base metals. I even have pulled copper out of a landfill dumpster because I couldn't stand to see it go to so much waste! Thanks for the article pointing out how much bad we have done, and how much good we can do.

  • sucree

    sucree said 8 years ago

    Thanks for writing this article. I feel it addresses an important issue that metalsmiths (and jewelry buyers) need to consider in pursuing this art. I strive to use recycled metals as much as possible in my creations as well as reuse gems, stones, and findings. I don't want to destroy the very thing that inspires my art.

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 8 years ago

    mmmm wonderful finds and great article.

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 8 years ago

    Excellent article and with great ethically minded jewellery makers. I really like AntiGenre talking about taking the recycling home from work - I've had to do that too! (shaln't mention apathetic colleagues!) (oops! I did!)

  • sandali

    sandali said 8 years ago

    Hoera for the 3 R's -- Reduce, Re-use & Recycle -- great topic to focus on !! Happy Days ;)

  • themefragrance

    themefragrance said 8 years ago

    beautiful pieces ...all of them. i have two sets of twig bracelets from stratussilver and they remind me that there is nature out there, even though i am sequestered in my studio in bkyln!

  • metalicious

    metalicious said 8 years ago

    Great finds!!

  • asundrynotion

    asundrynotion said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this timely topic! Lovely picks all and made with awareness of the greater scheme of things.

  • clevergirl

    clevergirl said 8 years ago

    All of the raw materials used in my work (sterling silver wire and sheet metal) is from reclaimed/recycled sources and not newly mined. Since I joined Etsy a few years ago, I was entranced by the idea of making something from scratch-not only from a crafts-person perspective, but from an environmental one- as it was simpler to buy ethically sourced raw materials (eventually the manufactured components will catch up as far as sourcing and disclosure, I hope). Basically- if I knew the wire was made from reclaimed/recycled sterling silver- then the headpins, clasps, settings, chain I made form that wire was also ethically produced. It simplified things. I declared that I would learn to make all of the components I use regularly- not always practical from a business or logistical sense, but most definitely an important part of my personal journey. By doing this, staying closer to the raw product, I am continually reducing my reliance on outsourced components and constantly learning. I am more connected to my art than I ever would have guessed at the beginning, and the process has left me feeling incredibly connected and with a greater sense of responsibility in supporting ethical suppliers and craftspeople. In all instances I do my best to purchase from reliable, ethically mindful companies when there is a component I cannot make myself (arthritis and hand tremor are not effective tools in making 10mm lobster clasps and fine chain). It does seem that supply companies are more mindful in their purchasing habits and realize that the benefit of knowing where the raw materials and components come from in all aspects, and associated pricing differences are frequently offset by the additional selling point of offering reclaimed/recycled/ethically sourced materials. I do think that the spike in silver prices last year definitely nudged more companies (supply companies and individual silversmiths/metalsmiths/jewelers) into looking deeper at other sourcing options to mining, but many precious metals suppliers have been doing that for ages- not necessarily because of environmental protection, but because they have the facilities to refine scrap. Can you tell I'm fascinated by this stuff? Great article! p.s. when I first learned to make my own headpins (from reclaimed/recycled silver wire) I gathered the remaining purchased headpins in my stash and made a final pair of purchased pin earrings...very therapeutic...Spring cleaning in a way...

  • ScottieinaCanoe

    ScottieinaCanoe said 8 years ago

    Awesome stuff!

  • TheBearAffair

    TheBearAffair said 8 years ago

    Great information. I think Academy Silver out of Gallup, NM is also a great source.

  • OceanGrrl

    OceanGrrl said 8 years ago

    If there is one thing I want to learn in my life it would have to be the art of metal manipulation. Great article :)

  • Waterrose

    Waterrose said 8 years ago

    Beautiful work with reclaimed materials. I think many of us can reuse and reclaim. I do so in many of my pieces and sell those locally.

  • tracyleedesigns

    tracyleedesigns said 8 years ago

    Great topic - I would love to have a list of sources to make finding recycled metal easier.

  • noela

    noela said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this article, it was very well written! :) I also use natural earth-friendly products for all my soldering and metalsmithing. (I use natural, non-toxic flux and pickle and oxidizers, etc.) The sterling silver I use is also reclaimed/recycled. I also use a fair amount of vintage pieces, usually from new, unused stock, but I also purchase vintage jewelry and clean and re-use pieces. I also make 99% of all my ear wires, clasps, and head pins, as that way I can be assured of the least amount of environmental impact as possible. (Plus my work is better quality than commercially made products! :) )

  • SpaTherapy

    SpaTherapy said 8 years ago

    wonderful article!!!

  • neawear

    neawear said 8 years ago

    Niiiiice post! Love to know this ;)

  • followtheredbrickrd

    followtheredbrickrd said 8 years ago

    Does anyone know if Rio Grande is 100% recycled? If not, I'll contact them and find out. Just curious. If they aren't, I will probably switch to someone who does.

  • nectorgirl

    nectorgirl said 8 years ago

    Lovely article, and great jewelry, I'll have to do some shopping! I have been buying my eco jewelry from, she has made some beautiful custom pieces for me! Cheers for no mining! (and if you need any fabric napkins, I got 'em!)

  • SASessories

    SASessories said 8 years ago

    i'm from a mining town! Butte, the copper city, richest hill on the earth!! check out my oxidized copper/brass/sterling line...

  • SASessories

    SASessories said 8 years ago if it weren't for mining, nobody would be using a computer right now!!!! (i'm all for re-using/re-purposing etc. & although i do recycle metals myself, sometimes the reality of it all is that some things do need to be mined, like gemstones!)

  • undertheroot

    undertheroot said 8 years ago

    i do not wear much jewelry, and still, love every piece in your finds. i would wear every pieces. simply splendid!!

  • littlebrownsparrow

    littlebrownsparrow said 8 years ago

    What a fantastic article! I had no idea there were metal recyclers, I'm really impressed that so many Etsy sellers have made the effort to seek them out. I've been green-minded for well over 10 years now and do my best to source out second-hand materials when I need something. I often think about the poisons and chemicals needed to make all those pretty little things we buy. I am so glad Etsy allows me to buy beautiful things all over the world with eco principles!

  • KatieFlack

    KatieFlack said 8 years ago

    Wow great article I never thought about that aspect of my art thanks for the enlightenment! I m going to be looking into it!!

  • sage12888

    sage12888 said 8 years ago

    Great work!

  • Bopper

    Bopper said 8 years ago

    I am fairly new to Etsy (1 year in June)and sell metal tags and cuffs for jewelry making. Thank you for the article, information and making me more aware of the available products. I will look into including reclaimed metal products in my listings. Thanks again, Beverly

  • AliBaliJewellery

    AliBaliJewellery said 8 years ago

    what a lovely surprise to see my silver flower ring included here. Thank you Etsy!!

  • blackmustard

    blackmustard said 8 years ago

    Great article, and some gorgeous jewelry! Thanks!

  • pocketcarnival

    pocketcarnival said 8 years ago

    Awesome article!

  • principessaemicranie

    principessaemicranie said 8 years ago

    let's be recycle freak. it's a good thing, and a FUN thing.

  • esmeraldadesigns

    esmeraldadesigns said 8 years ago

    Awesome article!!! For me, using reclaimed metals is the only way to go, thank you so much to my favorite eco-artist nectorgirl for the mentioning of my designs

  • BayMoonDesign

    BayMoonDesign said 8 years ago

    Great article to help us celebrate Earth Day!

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 8 years ago

    Again, the only refiner/seller of raw materials that sells 100% certified recycled metals that I know of is Hoover and Strong. The other refiners (Monsterslayer, Thunderbird) of course use some reclaimed metals in their refining process. Silver is a precious metal, after all! Hoover and Strong also uses earth-friendly practices while refining and they reduce, reuse and recycle - not just the metals, but as a general business practive. They are my recommended source for eco silver and gold.

  • Jiaccessory

    Jiaccessory said 8 years ago

    Great to know this!

  • BloomStudios

    BloomStudios said 8 years ago

    Although this is something I have done, it's been a quiet practice. I am so glad to see the interest from so many wonderful jewelers!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 8 years ago

    Interesting article. I love the picture of the ring on the leaves!

  • PowderMillStudio

    PowderMillStudio said 8 years ago

    I am also a jeweler using recycled and reclaimed metals, mostly from Hoover and Strong. I'm glad others are too! Feel free to check out mys hop...

  • PowderMillStudio

    PowderMillStudio said 8 years ago

    Let me try again with no typos, geez..."check out my shop"

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 8 years ago

    Thanks Etsy! I feel proud saying almost EVERYTHING in my shop is recycled, reclaimed, repurposed. reeverything! It's a good thing!

  • cindyforrester

    cindyforrester said 8 years ago

    Thanks Etsy! I am a metalsmith who has started using recycled metal in my designs. I have also always used reclaimed and recycled vintage items.

  • thestapeliacompany

    thestapeliacompany said 8 years ago

    There are some seriously beautiful pieces up there. It's great that they're also environmentally friendly.

  • Snowberrylime

    Snowberrylime said 8 years ago

    Great information, especially since I wasn't really aware of these issues!

  • LeatherwoodDesigns

    LeatherwoodDesigns said 8 years ago

    Great article. I am trying very hard to use recalimed silver is my designs too. Thanks for bringing this topic into the spotlight!

  • TreeHuggerStudio

    TreeHuggerStudio said 8 years ago

    Beautiful jewerly, that's great that your aware of your impact and make a effort to reduce your "footprint".

  • LittleCritters00

    LittleCritters00 said 8 years ago


  • LittleCritters00

    LittleCritters00 said 8 years ago

    I don't were much jewerly I mostly like stones if I do, so these are healthy alternatives

  • mossyrockpottery

    mossyrockpottery said 8 years ago

    Us humans are scratching around in the dirt and if we all died out, the earth would cover our roads and swallow our cities with vegetation. It would recycle us into fertilizer and forget that we ever caused greenhouse gasses. We are less significant to the environment than we think.

  • EpicBones

    EpicBones said 8 years ago

    beautiful work and a great message. i'm currently researching this as well for a place in my area. but i always keep my scraps at least, and use every single little piece of everything.

  • circlesareforever

    circlesareforever said 8 years ago

    metal is better with rock. :)

  • kathryncole

    kathryncole said 8 years ago

    Great Article! Thank you.

  • sugarpaperie

    sugarpaperie said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful article, Elisa! I adore the jewelry I purchased from you and wear it nearly everyday!

  • ovgilliesdesigns

    ovgilliesdesigns said 8 years ago

    I'm very eco-conscious in all my practices. With jewellery I found that unless you're a big company or live in the US finding recycled precious metals is almost impossible. I do however use only biodegradable, recycled and easily recycled back packaging and make full use of any metal I do have. Nothing is getting wasted. I do hope the situation changes soon with this demand growing and such materials get to be accessible for small buyers. Great article!

  • mythunderstood

    mythunderstood said 8 years ago

    So spare and clean, totally the opposite of my stuff but I love it!!!!!!. KristenCoffin's work is amazing!

  • risabeads

    risabeads said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the great article! I also use recycled and reclaimed silver in my jewelry as much as possible. If anyone knows of a company that makes high quality silver accent beads from recycled and reclaimed silver I would love to know about them.

  • jorgensenstudio

    jorgensenstudio said 8 years ago

    Great article! We should also look into the eco & ethical ramifications of gemstone mining as well. Making sure diamonds come from a Kimberly certified source and requiring to see that certification is very important in today's world because of the devastation caused by diamond mining. Also lab-created stones are a great alternative. They have the same chemical/mineral composition as real gemstones but they are grown so no harm has come to the land to mine them. I personally am looking to more ethically and ecologically sound resources for gemstones as well as my recycled metals.

  • redyellowandblueink

    redyellowandblueink said 8 years ago

    Excellent article-awesome makers! Thanks for sharing your stories and discoveries.

  • ModernMetalJewelry

    ModernMetalJewelry said 8 years ago

    This is wonderful and very timely article! Thanks for the the mention of Hoover and Strong.

  • vivilian

    vivilian said 8 years ago

    SO Lovely ! very good Article !

  • sarahnorth

    sarahnorth said 8 years ago

    Am I right in thinking that all PMC is recycled?

  • windfall

    windfall said 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for this article. I've had this topic in my brain for a while now, and am encouraged to read about other jewelers who find mining an important issue. It's encouraged me to delve much deeper into sourcing my silver.

  • stratussilver

    stratussilver said 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for including our Twig Bangles in this article and for promoting environmentally friendly practices! It's heart warming to see that so many other, talented, Etsy artists are green conscious. Berta and I live on the doorstep of The Wayne National Forest, which is an awesome sight and inspiration to us. Preserving and respecting our Earth is why we use Hoover and Strong as our casting grain supplier and use the greenest practices we can in our business. We like to think we are contributing to the preservation of the Earth's natural cycles and beauty. It's our hope that our Nature Jewelry line will inspire an attitude of conservation in others.

  • kategabrielle

    kategabrielle said 8 years ago

    what a great idea! i love earth-friendly finds on etsy :) my mom does jewelry, too, made out of coffee beans, and she makes sure she buys organic, fair trade coffee beans. I think it's such a good idea to have art that doesn't hurt the environment!

  • SeventhCloudStudio

    SeventhCloudStudio said 8 years ago

    This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately--trying to be as green in my jewelry business as I try to be in other aspects of my life. Thanks so much for the info! Anyone have any info on how to get eco-friendly/fair trade semi-precious stones and gems? If so, please convo me!

  • Allida

    Allida said 8 years ago

    i grew up not too far from that huge hole in the ground. its bigger than the picture suggests. I grew up with mining so I know how bad weird and dangerous it is. I use ethical metals and all my rocks were collected and hand polished 25 years ago by some hippy guys who got old and gave me their left over stones, bless their hearts. mining kills people too not just the environment.

  • worksandfinds

    worksandfinds said 8 years ago

    3 R's are the way to go. Thank you for this article.

  • clevergirl

    clevergirl said 8 years ago

    Here is Thunderbird's statement on their "Earth Silver" "The forged sterling silver metals we sell come from pre-produced sources that have been refined down to their purest forms and forged into new clean metal.....Thunderbird Supply uses 100% pre-produced sources so that we can help to minimize our effect on the environment and promote a healthier world." Hoover & Strong's "Harmony Metals and Gems": I remember getting something in the mail or reading Rio's environmental statement somewhere with lots of info about how green their HQ (down to the towels they use and the ventilation system) is and their plans for the products but can't locate it now. This article mentions that in 2008 (at the time the article was published) Rio had some products that were 100% recycled/reclaimed... There was a supplier list somewhere... I must have it bookmarked on the other computer. I'll post it when I find it...

  • clevergirl

    clevergirl said 8 years ago

    Some more reading: Green supplier tips from Alan Revere: Safer and less toxic supply (pickle, etc) from Society of American Silversmiths: Another great resource: Revere offers a class on Green Jewelry: An article from Modern Jeweler:

  • Copperheart

    Copperheart said 8 years ago

    Great post- I use Hoover and Strong too and I highly recommend them.

  • wearthou

    wearthou said 8 years ago

    Great article! We're defintely on our way to becoming more conscience of the way we purchase our supplies and ensuring that we preserve our precious planet. Kudos to elisasherejewelry for bringing this topic to the forefront of people's awareness especially those of us as jewelers. Thanks to those who provided these great resources as well.

  • akane

    akane said 8 years ago

    thanks for the information! I didn't even think about how metals could have an affect on the earth! Thanks for opening up my eyes:)

  • bbel

    bbel said 8 years ago

    Great article - and beautiful designs! This is a really important topic - thanks for writing such an interesting article. A US based organisation which is worth knowing about is the Ethical Metalsmiths. You can sign up for their newsletter and they have lots of info on mining legilsation, lobbying etc. The website is

  • nanouke

    nanouke said 8 years ago

    As a future Mining Engineer, this article was very useful. Well done, and beautiful findings as well.

  • simplymega

    simplymega said 8 years ago

    In my general life I think of myself as a green person: engaging in lots of recycling and reusing of materials. In my jewelry business I am dilligent in recycling and reusing shipping materials. This article has gotten me thinking about being green at the next level, about being green with my metal as well. Thank you!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the info elisasherejewelry and clevergirl! :)

  • BlueberryCream

    BlueberryCream said 8 years ago

    Hmm... I grew up near a silver mine where my parents worked at the time. It wasn't terribly polluted, although it was in the middle of nowhere. And it was a hard and dangerous work, most of the mining was done underground. But i do recycle and consider myself a green person :)

  • LunasaDesigns

    LunasaDesigns said 8 years ago

    Awesome article Elisa!

  • luxe

    luxe said 8 years ago

    wowza! gorgeous!

  • mojospastyle

    mojospastyle said 8 years ago

    Great Article! I learned once again how it is important to recycle. I starting making and selling bring along bags at my store two years ago but only now have they been selling. It is nice to see more people being green!

  • soulyyours

    soulyyours said 8 years ago

    My media of choice for my business & is Art Clay Silver, 99.9% fine silver when fired, comprised of recycled silver from photo film/organic binder/water. Barbe :)

  • soulyyours

    soulyyours said 8 years ago

    P.S. Fabulous article :)

  • sorellina

    sorellina said 8 years ago

    Very interesting article, thanks for bringing it to people's attention!

  • masaoms

    masaoms said 8 years ago

    Interesting!! Great!!

  • RubyStudios

    RubyStudios said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this! Just found Ash Hilton's art recently--he's a favorite now!

  • Angelicgems

    Angelicgems said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for this post! I wasn't aware that environmentally friendly metal was available and now that I know I'll certainly seek it out from now on.

  • southpawstudios

    southpawstudios said 8 years ago

    what an awesome article and how nice for some artists to share their sources. I forwards this to some of my metalsmithing girls friends. this needs to be read by more people!

  • CutieDynamite

    CutieDynamite said 8 years ago

    Great article!

  • LastChantsStudio

    LastChantsStudio said 8 years ago

    what an amazing group of Etsians! I checked out a bunch of the shops who posted and isn't it great that it's a. o.k. to respect the Earth these days...30 years ago we recyclers were in "the sky is going to fall" catagory.

  • Scampsville

    Scampsville said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article Elisha! I studied silver smithing a few years ago but left it behind because I was worried about where all the materials and stones came from. I had horrible images of children down DeBeers mines in my nightmares! It's so great to see there is an ethical choice and rad etsy sellers who are taking it!

  • BluCille

    BluCille said 8 years ago

    Neat beach ball earrings!

  • scavengerhunt

    scavengerhunt said 8 years ago

    Love this article these things are really good to know.

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 8 years ago

    I've been lookig fro a refiner! Thank you so much for the article. Very eye opening!!!

  • eRosasjewelry

    eRosasjewelry said 8 years ago

    I studied in Mexico and we used silver that was recycled from the silver from film. Now, I reuse all my scrap and order my silver from Rio and Thunderbird. I only use recycled/melted down gold. The next step is order from Hoover and strong. Great article, Thanks for the resources thanks Clever girl

  • michon

    michon said 8 years ago

    one of the beautiful things about metal is that it's so easy to recyle! you found some gorgeous jewelry pieces to showcase.

  • pixiejewelry

    pixiejewelry said 8 years ago

    Great article! There are so many ways we can be more environmentally friendly metalsmiths, from metal to the pickle we use. Check out the latest issue of Art Jewelry magazine, which features green artists, jewelry and information. The beautiful work of Etsy's own FrucciDesign is featured. Have a great day.

  • LeastLikely2Breed

    LeastLikely2Breed said 8 years ago

    great story and very informative !

  • dzinesbydanielle

    dzinesbydanielle said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this article! I am very interested in making my line more sustainable:)

  • StayConnected

    StayConnected said 8 years ago

    Great article! You might say I've been in the "green" biz for over 20 years, selling old china, silverware etc. to replacement services and on Ebay. Now I am "repurposing" many leftovers into dessert trays, jewelry, bird feeders, etc. I am new to Etsy and would love to convo with other metalsmiths. So many questions. Do you metalsmiths have a special chat room or board here? I am so glad to know of companies that you can buy the other items from out of recycled metals! I'll definitely check them out. As you can see, I haven't put anything up for sale yet, but soon. I think I'm gonna like it here!

  • brownbunnybyiris

    brownbunnybyiris said 8 years ago

    Wonderful report!

  • RenJewels

    RenJewels said 8 years ago

    This is great. Some beautiful pieces here/

  • sleepymoondesign

    sleepymoondesign said 8 years ago

    great post! I would really be into using recycled metals and I always question the process that is used to take gems from the earth and stuff like that.

  • AngelaMonaco

    AngelaMonaco said 8 years ago

    Wow, this was a great article. I too have been searching for an eco-friendly supplier. I found hoover and strong, but they are only wholesale. I don't have a tax I.D. number yet. Are there any other solutions. Also, the chemicals really worry me. Using an acid pickle, and flux are very harmful for your body and atmosphere. Working with metals is my passion, but I'm afraid it is not the wisest choice for my health. It sure does make me feel good though. Thanks for the article!

  • foreverandaday

    foreverandaday said 8 years ago

    Great article!

  • appletreejewelry

    appletreejewelry said 8 years ago

    Wow, great article. I like to be as green as I can. Thanks for the great sites for reclaimed metals.

  • MichelleStudio

    MichelleStudio said 8 years ago

    Beautiful selections. Very pretty.

  • violetbella

    violetbella said 8 years ago

    i am so happy and fascinated to see the community here on etsy becoming enviromentally aware in the metal department, i really had no idea, and i am just wowed by the above article. thanks for getting it out there and sharing to all who make jewelry from metals. i am constantly picking up peices of scrap off the ground to make things will, not nessecarily jewelry, but art projects. thanks!

  • go2girl

    go2girl said 8 years ago

    Wow. This is interesting information. I will have to start looking into more eco friendly supplies. Thank you!

  • JazzGreen

    JazzGreen said 8 years ago

    some really lovely eco pieces here - thank you for sharing..

  • CatiferThreads

    CatiferThreads said 8 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry. I especially love those little frances post earrings. So colorful and charming.

  • janeeroberti

    janeeroberti said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this great article. I am new to metalsmithing and also concerned about making jewelry as ecologically and sustainably as possible. I just read Jared Diamond's "Collapse" and learned a lot about the severe environmental damage of mining, and realized that I as a metalsmith was part of that chain of pain! I will definitely use your recommendations of certified precious metal recyclers. A good thing about aluminum is that most of it is recycled, not mined. I also love copper (and it's alloy brass), much of which is recycled now, since copper is on the brink of being mined out. But the remaining copper mines are increasingly, like you mentioned about gold and silver mines, open pits that use poisonous chemicals to extract ore, and are very L-O-N-G-term damaging. Go to any old copper mining towns in the US West and you'll see. I am going to actively try to source certified recycled copper. Etching is another environmentally hazardous metalsmithing process, and not just because of the dangerous acids used. Etching baths dissolve metals into solution, and if those heavy metals get into water supplies they are toxic to all lifeforms. I am currently exploring non-polluting etching methods & recipes. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

  • MarKhed

    MarKhed said 8 years ago

    This is wonderful, as a jeweler I am always plagued with this. what is your opinion on the potential hazardous chemicals that we use for pickling, etching, & oxidizing? any eco friendlt versions of these processes?

  • MeAndBoo

    MeAndBoo said 8 years ago

    I also do some metalsmithing and have wondered about ethical metal. Knowing now that it is available, I will have to do some research and find some Aussie suppliers. Like janeeroberti, I looked into a friendlier etching method but found it did not give good enough results as good old toxic nitric!

  • mmemagpie

    mmemagpie said 8 years ago

    I've just made the move to Argentium which requires fewer and less nasty chemicals (and Hoover alloys it. I love Hoover & Strong!)

  • rosycloudfairyland

    rosycloudfairyland said 8 years ago

    'I’m the kind of person that avoids those pesky, ever-present disposable plastic shopping bags like the plague. I eat organic, recycle everything, use cloth napkins' Very funny! This's a good post. So are your wonderful jewelry. Scientifically speaking, some chemicals have slight potential hazard to human, others have severe potential hazard (including mutagenic hazards). Everyone should get current and update knowledge in this field to avoid the risk before use.

  • jmbauer78

    jmbauer78 said 8 years ago

    Very interesting. I'm definitely going to look into using recycled metal for my jewelry.

  • sistersheba

    sistersheba said 8 years ago

    Thank you so very much for this article. The subject has been number one on my mind this week. I have an article that I think compliments your point of view, "Ten Thousand Cowries for Claudia". The short version is on my site here.

  • kareys

    kareys said 8 years ago

    Way to be resourceful and think through all ways to be environmentally sensitive! You do amazing work!

  • ladylotus

    ladylotus said 8 years ago

    great information. thanks for sharing!

  • nicanica

    nicanica said 8 years ago

    nice jewelry!!

  • BirdAndMoonStudio

    BirdAndMoonStudio said 8 years ago

    this is a great article

  • DestinysCreations

    DestinysCreations said 8 years ago

    So well written! I am happy to say that I also use eco-friendly metals in my store. My jewelry is created with Art Clay Silver, which consists of recycled fine silver. My shop is:

  • jacksforge

    jacksforge said 8 years ago

    Not jewellery in my shop but the products are made from recycled steel. Lol ,All steel contains recycled content but some is saved from the long journey to the smelter and also saved from the long journey back by being , Reused. The scrap heap in other words. A dying feature these days as all the steel scrap (useful bar etc) is being "reprocessed" in order to make a few quick dollars and give the industry chances to advertise "we recycle". I use scrap before it heads to the smelter. Most Blacksmiths do, but many are using fresh bar stock . The fact that steel is "recycled" is a big misnomer. There is a LOT of energy used and though better than mining ore it is not all that green. Beware of sheet metal work claiming "recycled " status. Not saying they are all fibbing but most are. The Sheet that is going to the "recycle" pile is only not good when used with laser cutting equipment. There is little wrong with it and could be used for water tanks for Africa tomorrow if it were not being cut into garden art.

  • TheDancersSpirit

    TheDancersSpirit said 8 years ago

    I LOVE rings, especially when they are made of reycled materials. I was eco-concious before I joined Etsy, but this community makes it a lot easier to be eco! Being a part of Etsy makes being eco fun!

  • mydearthing

    mydearthing said 8 years ago

    Hi, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article! It was really informative. I am always trying to improve the ways I work (fashion design) ethically, environmentally, etc and it is really good to know that others are doing so as well. You have a gorgeous, unique aesthetic yourself and picked some beautiful items to feature as well! Thank you. Lauren

  • Tina669

    Tina669 said 8 years ago

    wow these are all so so pretty!!!

  • Gwendolynsdesign

    Gwendolynsdesign said 8 years ago

    Great post... we have a tendance to think of the simple things when looking at the envoirnment impact... ie plastic vs using totes. It is good to be reminded of the larger eco-recourses also! Thanks, Now if we could all practice a little bit at a time, and each day a little bit further.. just think of the world our kids can have! LOVE the jewelry! very cool!!!

  • riorita

    riorita said 8 years ago

    Wonderful mind opening article. Now whenever I will handcraft a jewelry object, I'll keep the mining issue in my mind!

  • BrassIvyDesign

    BrassIvyDesign said 8 years ago

    Metals are my favorite but it is such a shame that it takes such a tole on the environment to get them to us. I hope that there will always be people like the ones above that are so conscientious with the things that they create. Love this post ;)

  • hildysheartbeads

    hildysheartbeads said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for writing this artcle. What an eye-opener. I have had an active approach to doing what I can to lessen the stresses on our environment, by doing a lot of recycling and composting, avoiding products that are petroleum based, etc., but I didn't even know that precious metal mining took such a tole on our environment. Duh, do I feel stupid. Thanks to all your research on finding a reliable supplier, Hoover and Strong, you have made it easier for me to just jump in and transition to reclaimed/recycled metals in my jewelry making.

  • fiorelladesigns

    fiorelladesigns said 8 years ago

    This was some great info. and very interesting. I love the look of all this recycled jewelry. I also use recycled materials and think it gives designs a nice edge.

  • hairsewvintage

    hairsewvintage said 8 years ago

    Glad to see everyone is green conscious

  • icanspellit

    icanspellit said 8 years ago

    So much CREATIVITY. I love it!!

  • jenhough

    jenhough said 8 years ago

    I recycle my sterling as well as scrap metal from the shop I work at. It is really a creative push, not a hinderance to me to fit or change my designs to the size of the "scrap" metal. way to go!

  • StygianChains

    StygianChains said 8 years ago

    I'm one of those people that hesitates to throw anything away. Packrat is an understatement. But with all that comes my inherent drive to use every usable bit of metal in my work, and I store the unusable little scraps for future use when I obtain a rolling press, or to be taken to the scrapper. Much of my copper jewellery started off as salvaged wire, otherwise destined for a dump somewhere.

  • fasola

    fasola said 8 years ago

    very nice work.

  • CarinaRossner

    CarinaRossner said 8 years ago

    Hi, I am new to Etsy and only have my "Story Necklaces" on this site. However, on my "regular" site at I show my "Organic Silver" and "Organic Gold" lines. These use reclaimed/recycled precious metals and mineral specimens in as natural a form as I can (eg I trim for weight, but try to leave the crystal structure the focus of the piece.) Another part of my "Organic" lines is that I free-form melt the metal, letting the shapes that it takes be driven by the physical properties of the metal and how it reacts to that day's environment. Nature is amazing in what it creates -- why try to one up her? :) Thanks Carina Rossner

  • vivi8

    vivi8 said 7 years ago

    very interesting!

  • heycaryann

    heycaryann said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring! I also am interested in jewelry AND recycling. All of my vintage buttons are repurposed and reborn in a new, fresh way!

  • janewearjewelry

    janewearjewelry said 7 years ago

    Wonderful! I'm diving into more and more metal work, and I'm hunting for the best recyclables possible!

  • SurrenderDorothy

    SurrenderDorothy said 7 years ago

    This seems like a million years ago.

  • jammerjewelry

    jammerjewelry said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article about metal jewelry making.

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