From the inception of the fine jewelry trade, going back literally thousands of years, jewelers recycled EVERYTHING. In fact, your life depended on it. A jeweler in the ancient world, through the renaissance and Mid-Evil times never actually owned the material they worked with and if it didn’t all get back to its rightful owner, well you know…
Nobility, Royalty, and rich merchants brought precious metals and gemstones to the jeweler, who then crafted a piece on commission and returned everything to the client (EVERYTHING.) Only in modern times have jewelers actually had the resources to craft objects in precious materials on speculation to sell to the public.
Although jewelry has been found to date back over 75,000 years to Africa, precious jewelry containing metals and gemstones became a symbol of status in wealth and in many cultures and only the elite were allowed to wear it. Jewelry took on significance as both a form of wealth and a symbol of power, and in many cases even religious power.
In today’s world, precious jewelry has a range of symbolic meaning and can indeed still communicate wealth and power. Fine jewelry is now more often a reflection of a relationship (in the case of bridal lines) and/or personal style. Though the world has evolved and fine jewelry is widely available, it is still considered a “precious” commodity and value is inherent in design and material.
That very preciousness translates to rarity. Rarity infers limited qualities, which means that recycling is just as relevant and more important than ever. Every scrap of metal and the tiniest gemstones are reused in the jeweler’s workshop. Gold in particular can be melted and refined almost infinitely. Nearly all the world’s gold supply is “old gold” and newly mined material represents a very small percentage of the world’s supply.
Don’t be hesitant to recycle your old or outdated jewelry. You can breathe new life into and create anything you can imagine from pieces you imagine would be forever gathering dust in an old drawer. We’ve been doing this a long time and if you own anything that looks like it could use a little help, there’s only one thing we can say: restyle, re-purpose, and recycle!