Tag Archives: environment

Smog Diamonds – World Environment Day 5th June

How jewellery will save the planet!

What a relief. I was wondering who would do it. (All my hopes were on Leonardo Di Caprio)

Although jewellery is often inspired by the natural world there is often little opportunity to give back to mother earth. Last year Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde invented a way of creating jewellery whilst cleansing the skies. His towers in Beijing were designed to scoop up polluted air, filter out the filth and release it back into the city up to 75% cleaner. The carbon from the smog is then transformed by pressure into diamonds in under half an hour.

Roosegaarde doesn’t like waste, so fingers crossed for our portable diamond producing face masks to pound the London pavements in style, as I am fairly sure there might be some spare smog round these parts.

smog diamond

Ideas for saving the world with jewellery are always welcome. Or, for now, save your pocket in our Summer Sale with 25% off evening and day courses using code 04061701 when booking online or over the phone (0203 176 0546).

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

In the jewellery workshop: Going green at your workbench part 2

On Friday, Penny Akester suggested some easy changes you can make to make your jewellery hobby or business greener. Now she looks at items specifically used in the workshop…

jewellery workshop chemicals

Jewellery workshops can contain a lot of potentially harmful chemicals – make sure you know what is biodegradable and how to dispose of left over chemicals

Pickle

The pickle usually used to clean your metal is safety pickle, despite it’s name, it is still a polluting chemical and if you’ve ever got some on your clothes, you’ll have found the holes it creates. A safer and more environmentally friendly alternative is citric acid which you can get from a supermarket or pharmacy. Use it warm and it will do the same job as a standard pickle. Also think about what you do with your used pickle – whatever it’s made of, it should not be disposed of down the sink because it will contain residue of heavy metals – let it evaporate, then wipe out the residue with a tissue.

Resin

Standard resins are toxic and manufactured from potentially dangerous chemicals, bio-resin is a more ethical alternative, without the toxic fumes, formulated from sunflower oil, it is used in museum restoration because it will stay clear and not yellow with time as some other resins do, it is also non-toxic and food safe. It makes more bubbles than standard resin, which can be used for effect in your designs.

Enamel

Lead is often used in enamels, but is a poison and there is now regulation regarding lead content for consumer products – to avoid any risk to yourself or people wearing your jewellery, look for lead free enamels.

Scrap

Always make sure to save your offcuts, filing dust and any other metals – you can take them to a metal dealer to be recycled and you will be surprised how much money you get for them too!

If you’re interested in casting your own pieces, silver can usually be melted up to twice before the alloy degrades and it needs to be sent off to be re-processed.

Clean up

Use a separate hand vacuum to clean work areas and always use a bench skin to catch your waste, then re-claim the metal from the contents. Keep all your waste sandpaper, sweepings and other waste (if you work in silver clay – keep all those used baby wipes too) in a bag which you can then send away to reclaim the metal. Not only will you be recycling metal and getting some money back for new supplies, but keeping your work area clean will help you work more efficiently, there will be less dust that you could be breathing in and it will also prevent any contamination between different metals.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – look out for more articles here in the future, and in the meantime, for more information and links to lots of other useful sites – check out http://www.utedecker.com/ethical_jewellery.html#tips. Ute Decker is one of several jewellers leading the way in creating beautiful jewellery that is ethically produced and she has collected together a huge amount of information to help other jewellers looking for greener or more ethical options.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve made any changes or are interested in green or ethical jewellery issues – please leave a comment here.