1. Is buying recycled jewelry just the same as buying second hand jewelry?
No. Recycled jewelry is made from precious metals that have been recycled from various sources such as scrap from jewelry manufacturing, unwanted jewelry, electronics, dental crowns etc. A lot of scrap is created in the process of making jewelry and, Ellen Lyons Jewelry Designs, recycles it in the studio to make wire, ring stock and other new work.
2. Are recycled metals as good as new metals from a mine?
Absolutely! When a metal is mined from the ground, the ore is chemically processed to purify the metal content to very high levels – typically 99.99%. Instead of digging the earth for ore, recycled metals are generated using scrap precious metals from various sources which are purified, through a refining process, to the same high level as mined gold. The “refined” pure metals from both the mine and the recycled source are of identical purity!
3. Where do new metals come from?
New or virgin metals are typically mined from the earth. It takes literally tons of rock to yield just a few grams of pure gold.
4. How does one tell if a metal is recycled?
You can only tell if a metal is recycled if the supplier of the metal has supplied recognized independent certification stating this fact. All fair-mined metal purchased by Ellen Lyons Jewelry Designs comes from wholesalers who have obtained and verified this certification.
5. How to trust a retailer who claims that their jewelry is made from recycled metals?
Ask the retailer to show you proof of third party certification for recycling which verifies that the metals supplier has been audited by a recognized certification company. Anyone can say they are using recycled metals, but few can prove it.
6. Does it matter what type of process is used to refine and recycle metals?
Yes. You need to be safe and secure in the knowledge that the metal that makes up your jewelry has been refined using environmentally safe practices. This will be part of the third party certification.
7. Why bother with recycled metals? What good will it do?
Recycled metals are very important. If we continue to use fresh mined metals, we are paying a huge environmental price. By using recycled metals, the “environmental bill” has already been paid.
8. Is precious metal mining always bad for the environment?
Precious metal mining requires digging up to mile wide holes in the earth, which displace animals and plants. Most mines use deadly chemicals in the mining process which impact animals, humans and plant life. There are a few mines that have made strides on some levels but only certified “recycled precious metal” can be guaranteed not to have any negative impact on the earth.