Upcycling takes an item that might be discarded and transforms it into something new. It’s an eco-friendly way to create jewelry while also reducing costs.
Upcycling is about giving items a second life, whether it’s a broken brooch or an old photo. Even old earrings — which are often lost or tossed when they break — can be repurposed into a charm bracelet. Keep reading the article below to learn more about Upcycled Jewelry.
Designer Octavia Elizabeth’s fine jewelry is inspired by everyday elegance, luxury, and sustainability. She sources her gems from conflict-free mines and partners with a 75% female-run lapidary, ensuring that women are paid fair wages and have great working conditions. She also does her part to minimize the impact of the fashion industry on the planet by consciously choosing not to overproduce or follow a fast-fashion schedule, instead launching collections whenever she feels inspired.
One of the more creative ways to upcycle jewelry involves using old and broken pieces to create one-of-a-kind, new designs. For example, Rhode Island-based jewelry brand Foundrae transforms recycled gold Egyptian scarab beetles and ouroboros into modern heirlooms to help people connect to nature and personal values. Its eponymous collection is meant to act as “a second skin, an expression of identity and personal values.”
In addition to upcycled jewelry, many brands are choosing to source their materials from ethical and sustainable sources. This includes sourcing their metals from recycled electronic waste and scrap gold, which has a lower carbon footprint than crafting new gold. And for those who aren’t ready to commit to the expense and durability of an upcycled piece, there’s always the option to buy pre-owned designer jewelry.
Another way to upcycle jewelry is to make bracelets from repurposed objects. This is popular among crafters and entrepreneurs, who turn thrifted leather jackets into unique bracelets or create rings from decorative steel tins, soda and beer cans, and even chicken feathers. This is a fun way to express your creativity and make one-of-a-kind jewelry with unique, personal meaning. Whether it’s a bracelet made from your grandfather’s lock pendant or a ring with the brand logo button of your favorite designer bag, the result is sure to be beautiful and unique.
Tesia Alexandra, the founder of Vena Amoris, has been designing jewelry since she was a young girl. Her love of history is evident in her ring collection, which features boldly oversize or free-form gemstones in medieval- or Renaissance-inspired settings. She also makes one-of-a-kind engagement rings that start at $4,800.
The brand’s name, which means “vein of love,” refers to the Roman belief that the fourth finger on the left hand contained a vein that led directly to the heart. This vein, known as the vena amoris, is believed to be why many cultures wear wedding or engagement rings on the ring finger.
This tradition has been around for a long time, dating back to ancient Egypt in fact. People would exchange rings of woven reeds and leather for their loved ones, showing they were committed to each other. The circular nature of these rings was thought to represent love’s infinite, eternal nature, and still stands as a beautiful symbol of love today.
Despite the romantic association of the left-hand ring finger and the heart, scientific evidence has shown that the vena amoris does not exist. In truth, all fingers have a similar pattern of circulation and the vasculature in our hands is bilaterally symmetrical.
Foundrae’s pieces are meant to act as modern heirlooms, and they are often adorned with meaningful symbols, like Egyptian scarab beetles for protection or ouroboros for rejuvenation. The brand uses recycled gold, as well as ethically-sourced gems and metals, so you can feel good about wearing their jewelry. And because the heirloom quality is so high, you’ll have no trouble passing these treasures down through generations to come. In this way, Foundrae is a true upcycler of jewelry.
Upcycle With Jing
Jing Wang is a jewelry designer who is taking things to the next level by turning PET plastic bottles into one-of-a-kind designs. Her collection is a tribute to flowers, and each piece is handmade to finessed perfection. The jewelry is a staple of many influencers, celebrities, and fashionistas. It is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to add a touch of elegance to their look without breaking the bank.
While living in China and India, Jing was appalled by the use of single-use plastic bags and bottles that littered streets, landfills, and even the oceans. So, she decided to start upcycling the pollutant material, which eventually transformed into Upcycle With Jing, a thriving upcycled jewellery brand that you can find online. Nothing gives Jing more joy than transforming an ordinary plastic bottle into a sustainable, unique, and beautiful art piece that she knows someone will enjoy wearing.
All pieces by Upcycle With Jing are made-to-order and can take between 5 and 7 days to make. You can choose from a variety of designs, including pendants, necklaces, and earrings. These eco-friendly jewels are also great for gifting!
The company ships their products worldwide. They can be delivered through Posti, Smartpost, or Matkahuolto. They will send you a tracking number once your order has been dispatched. They will also notify you via email if any unexpected delays occur. If you are not happy with your purchase, the company will offer a refund or exchange. However, you must inform them within 30 days of the original date of delivery to receive a refund or exchange. Otherwise, the return or exchange will not be accepted. For further information about their returns and exchange policy, please visit their website.
Hepburn & Hughes
A few weeks ago, an emerald and diamond engagement ring that eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes gave to Hollywood star Katharine Hepburn sold for $108,000 at Los Angeles auction house Profiles in History. It was well over the expected price of about $15,000. Also selling were 55 handwritten letters and notes Hepburn sent to Hughes during their 18-month romance in 1938, which was dramatized in Martin Scorsese’s 2004 film The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett.
Hepburn & Hughes is a family-run jewelry company that makes gorgeous offerings firmly set in the 1920s era. Sisters Zoe and Louise run the business, scouring antique shops and the internet for unusual products that they can use to create unique jewelry items. They’ve made cufflinks from genuine parts of WW2 spitfires and chinook helicopters, and pieces that feature ammonite fossils and semi precious stones.
Their designs range from earrings and necklaces to cufflinks, bracelets, and rings. One of their most popular pieces is the hammered gold bracelet, which can be worn with other rings for an eclectic look and can even be engraved to create a personal touch. Another option is the elegant double loop gold ring with an open center that’s perfect for adding a charm to symbolize a special event or memory.
Hepburn & Hughes also has a line of jewelry from the famous Minton pottery, which has been used to make small geometric shapes in retro colors that will appeal to fans of the famous ceramics. Other designers include Crash, a label that offers unisex accessories made from upcycled parts of prestige cars, so they’re the perfect gift for the petrol heads in your life.
Dana is a jewelry designer who upcycles vintage hardware and charms into a unique range of jewellery. Her brand is named Old Soul and has a collection of reimagined rings, earrings, necklaces and hairpins made from a mix of new (updated durable hardware) and old (dated detailing) elements. Whether it is a Louis Vuitton bag toggle turned into a necklace pendant or a bunch of old Chanel buttons used to make a bracelet, each piece from the Old Soul collection has its own story behind it.
Another upcycling jewelry maker is Amy Gates of Avian Designs, who creates boho-inspired jewellery from upcycled materials, including thrifted leather jackets, decorative steel tins, soda and beer cans, plus chicken feathers. She carefully scrutinises the source of each material, recycles all waste from her studio and tries to be fully transparent about her production process.
Finally, there’s Crash, a jewelry company that makes unisex accessories using upcycled car parts. Their pieces include Ferrari bumper cuffs, Mercedes logo pendants and Lamborghini door cufflinks, making them the perfect gift for the petrol head in your life.
A Masculine of Center Gender Non-binary Community Activist, Author, Documentary Filmmaker, DEI&B Specialist and Professional Development Trainer, Dana TherActivist Johnson, MSW (They/Them/Theirs) has 18 years experience counseling and servicing justice involved youth. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work, BA in Criminal Justice and several professional certifications.
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