Julie- I’m guessing that pretty much most all of the silver and gold
that we use is recycled. That gold wedding band you see someone
wearing may have gold that was re-refined from any number of
original sources. I could have been part of an Aztec piece that was
melted hundreds of years ago, or a sniglet of metal from an
industrial use, a Roman hoard,or some body’s great great
grandmother’s rings, a piece of an old coin, etc. There is just no
way to really know.
When I buy metal from our local refiner and supplier AAA Precious
Metals, I may even be reusing the metal that I sent in earlier this
year. You never know. With metal prices so high they are having a
hard time keeping up with all that is brought in. I’ve witnessed any
number of silver flatware services, water pitchers, jewelry, teeth,
you name it melted down for further refinement in both trade shops
and at the refiners.
Although we try to keep things a clean and green as possible, metal
smithing is by nature a bit toxic. Wax burnout fumes, simmering
pickle,(acid), acetone, cyanide, melted pitch fumes, flying
abrasives from grinders and rubber wheels, and so on.
I applaud the efforts of folks to keep things “green” and safe,
however it’s still a business that relies on natural resources that
are torn from the earth and manipulated by some pretty violent and
rough means. “Let’s just melt this stuff, whup on it, and then grind
on it until it’s pretty.”
It might be in your best interest to learn how to cast yourself so
that you can control what metals and techniques are best for the
earth and your conscience. Have fun and make lots of jewelry.