We all have one of those drawers…the one containing odd bits of jewellery that have been inherited and earrings rendered superfluous by losing the other half on a camping trip.
Despite being a jeweller all of my life, and making sure my earring backs are only capable of being undone with the force of an elephant and a pair of pliers, I still managed to lose the odd one during parties and concerts. However there is still hope for all those singletons; gold is easily recyclable and gemstones easily reset!
Once a piece has been chosen to be recycled it is checked for quality as to not melt a rare collectable and then, if hollow, perforated to prevent an explosion in the melting pot – gold is a lovely material but not at 1000 degrees down the back of your neck!
Gold can be melted and made into an ingot in the workshop. An oxy/propane gas flame, crucible and cast iron ingot-mould are used. Pouring is always slightly nerve-wracking: it requires a careful judgement of temperature and a steady hand. Once the gold has cooled, the ingot can be shaped
to create the piece of jewellery. This is done by rolling it though a series of polished steel mills to get the desired shape of decreasing sized holes in a steel plate, this takes a lot of strength, especially with thicker gauge wire. After being worked, the dull brown colour as a result of oxidation is removed with weak acid to restore the attractive yellow glow.
One of my favourite types of re-cycling is using the materials that have an interesting story or sentiment. It is really rewarding to create something to suit an individual from jewellery that has a special meaning to them. This ring for example was made from the customers Grandmother’s diamond.
Reshaping history into a form that gives joy every time its worn, maintains or increase the value, and its environmentally friendly, is a very rewarding part of the recycle story!