Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reuse, Recycle, Renew!

I've been making things with metal clay for about 10 years now. And I've taken my share of metalsmithing classes too. Yet I'm still not a world class jewelry maker! Imagine that. In all of that making, experimenting, designing and fabricating there are also a lot of failures, scraps, uglies and bores. What to do with it all?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided to pack it all up and send it off to Rio Grande for refining. Rio will pay you good money for fine silver, sterling silver, argentium silver and gold "clean" scrap. "Dirty" scrap includes clay infused sanding sticks, baby wipes, stuff vacuumed up from the floor etc. There's a company called Hoover and Strong that will help you with that kind of refining. Don't turn your nose up like that! You can make a bundle from all those little "no see-um's" of precious metal. 

Want the dough? Okay, you'll get a pretty good price for it. But ask for goods instead and you get a credit worth more than the cash refund. For my baggie of junk I got a couple hundred dollars worth of wire, tools, supplies, to say nothing of the joy of not having to count every penny only to wind up having to put something back. Which is my usual modus operandi.

So look through your reject pile with a careful eye to see which pieces might be reused and repurposed into a different design than the one you originally had in mind. Then bite the bullet, fill out the proper forms and send off that forlorn silver to join the melting pot!


Lynne Glazzard said...

I love having my scrap recycled. I take it to a firm in Birmingham, UK and they ask me how I would like it back..... and then I get a strip of pristine silver (with the bill for processing of course) through the post ready to use all over again. It is the ultimate in recycling satisfaction.

I have just made a necklace in recycled plastic milk cartons as a demo at a recycling event and it is posted on my blog

Vickie Hallmark said...

Good idea! I have my own ugly collection, of course.

Susan Dilger said...

Congrats! I have done this so many times, including sending back scraps and "found" silver and gold jewelry bits my DH finds on his walks. It can EASILY be worth several hundred dollars! Glad you had a nice windfall!

Zoe Nelson said...

Oh yeah, isn't it wonderful? I love sending scrap back to Rio. I have a wish list of things that I only purchase with my credit that I otherwise wouldn't buy. It's my treat, and my quirky little way of accumulating new things to play with.