Radical Jewelry Makeover

Exhibition  /  22 Oct 2008  -  09 Nov 2008
Published: 24.10.2008

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Don’t know what to do with your old, unwanted jewelry? How about Radical Jewelry Makeover!
Ethical Metalsmiths and Velvet da Vinci present: Radical Jewelry Makeover, San Francisco.  

Don’t know what to do with your old, unwanted jewelry? How about Radical Jewelry Makeover!
Those tangled chains, unmatched earrings and gold bands from past relationships sitting at the bottom of jewelry boxes around the Bay Area are exactly what jewelry artists participating in Radical Jewelry Makeover – San Francisco want to get their reative hands on. For the last month the non-profit, Ethical Metalsmiths has been accepting donations of old, unwanted jewelry at  everal Bay Area locations to be transformed by local artists and students and exhibited at Velvet da Vinci.

“American households are a clean and transparent source of precious metals and of jewelry that is waiting to be recycled. Ethical Metalsmiths is bringing together a skilled workforce of volunteer artists who will act as miners, smelters, refiners,  designers, silversmiths, goldsmiths, chainmakers and stonesetters to transform your hoard of old jewelry into unique and innovative hand-made items,” says Christina Miller, Project Director.

Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) offers its host communities a fun, informed and creative alternative to traditional mining practices and jewelry production. It is a traveling community mining and recycling project and a creative art and education project, teaching makers how to produce contemporary, innovative jewelry from recycled sources and proudly placing responsible jewelry in the hands of the consumers. The overall project is meant to raise awareness of the complicated connection between mining and metalsmithing as well as showcase innovative making.

This is how it works: The public is asked to "mine" their homes, "uncovering" gold, silver, and other jewelry, that is no longer used and deposit their "lode" at designated places in the Bay Area. Teams of volunteer jewelers and metalsmiths working at schools and studios in several different locations will reconstruct and transform the donations into exciting new jewelry designs. The resulting fresh, unique, handmade, 100% recycled jewelry will be exhibited and sold at San Francisco's renowned Velvet da Vinci gallery. Donors will receive discount coupons, which will be available and redeemable at the gallery during the exhibition. Sale of “makeover” jewelry will benefit Ethical Metalsmiths' efforts to educate and connect people with responsibly sourced materials.

San Francisco knows the results of mining. As a result of gold mining that took place more than a century ago, the San Francisco Bay is lined with several feet of sediment from hydraulic mining and its waters are contaminated with dangerous levels of mercury. Today, mining is this nation's most toxic industry according to the EPA. And Earthworks reports that an estimated 80% of the gold mined each year is used for jewelry, and a single gold ring leaves 20 tons of mine waste.

Ethical Metalsmiths, an artist run non-profit organization seeks to galvanize mining reform efforts by staging this "alternative supply chain." Participants from several organizations, studios and schools are lined up to transform donations into inspiring new work.