How to Recycled Sterling Silver by Cindy Liebel Jewelry

BEHIND THE SCENES | Recycling Sterling Silver

Ever wonder how sterling silver (and other precious metals) are recycled? Here's a snippet to give you an idea. The process is extremely tedious to the point where I have to block out a good amount of time dedicated to melting my silver, rolling it out to the thickness(es) I need to make components I regularly need to complete various pieces.

I usually buy sheets of silver or gold metal when necessary. But I have an abundance of scrap metal organized by type in bins. I often rummage through my piles when the time doesn't allow for online order and that's when the beauty of recycling comes into play.

Here's a visual to give you an idea of how I incorporate sustainability in all my jewelry...

One nice pile of sterling silver cut into pieces ready to for melting...
I keep my handy ingot by to pour the molten metal into and the result is a nice thick block of sterling metal. I forgot to measure and weight before rolling through my handy rolling mill. Basically, after a couple of rolls through the mill, the silver is continually heated to softened enough to flatten. This is the most tedious process and you must have a serious tolerance of patience... this will take a while.
FINALLY! Once rolled out to the desired thickness, I label each sheet. The same day (or next morning), I punch out or hand-cut the shapes I need to create jewelry. As satisfying as it may be, it's so wonderful to be done with a long, daunting task. A feeling of accomplishment is very rewarding. It makes my life that much easier when orders come in, all I have to do is grab the shape I need and viola!

Now, I can easily just order the sheets from my reputable sources, but when you don't have two days to wait for supplies to arrive or need to prepare for upcoming shows, you do what you've got to do and I enjoy every minute of it.

Next step, invest in a wire roller for rolling out wire... how crazy would that be?


Photo Credit: Cindy Liebel
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