Jewelry and Conservation

Concern for the environment has always been a part of my life. Ten years ago a huge tree (over 140ft tall) fell on our house during a storm. We were faced with a major remodel of our 1927 home. Our goal was to use materials and upgrade systems in a way that would help us conserve resources and make lasting changes to reduce our impact on the environment we live in. We installed a rainwater collection system that is plumbed through our house for washing laundry, flushing toilets, and connected to all outdoor faucets for watering the garden. We have wet winters in Seattle, also some very dry summer months when my vegetable garden is growing at its peak. We chose to install a roof made from recycled tires that will not need replacing in our lifetime.

Recycled Precious Metal Custom 18k Rose Gold Engagement Rings

This photo shows a custom 18k rose gold alloy created using a clients gold jewelry. Pictured right to left are my metal rolling mill, an ingot of gold, the beginning of hand pulled wire and a sheet of gold. 

In my jewelry business I recycle and reuse metals and gems whenever possible. Learning to recycle and refine gold and silver was part of my core education. As a student I collected sterling silver flatware, and gold jewelry from estate sales and thrift shops to use in my work. The metals a jeweler works with are limited resources. I save every shaving and dust particle and refine it. In my studio I melt down my own scrap metal to create wire and sheet metal. When additional sterling silver and gold are needed I buy from suppliers who can certify their metals to be 100% recycled. Taking these steps helps to curb consumption and reduce environmental impact through the supply chain. 

Sterling Silver is saved for recycling in my studio

This picture shows a collection tray with sterling silver at one of my work benches.

Learning to conserve, reuse and restore is a process. I believe that every individual can take small steps that will lead to significant change. Your choices can be as simple as taking your own cup for your morning coffee stop. And supporting businesses in your community, large and small, that take steps to reduce their environmental impact and initiate change.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. 

Gina Pankowski

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