SUSTAINABILITY IS DEFINED BY OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY AS:
The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
"the sustainability of economic growth"
Hmmm.. that's not quite what I mean.
The definition goes on to include this example:
avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
"THE PURSUIT OF GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY."
That's more like it.
Sustainability in our jewelry-making process
In my art jewelry, sustainability is very present.
All of the silver I use has been recycled.
In Precious Metal Clay (the material used in many of my pieces), the silver shows up in a powdered form and is combined with other organic materials to create the clay. In firing, the organic binders burn off, leaving the silver metal behind in beautiful, created forms. The sterling silver rings and wire I use to connect things were also created from recycled silver.
Silver mining has had severe environmental impact since its first use in the 5th century BC. While mining practices have changed over the years (mercury is no longer used, ‘scrap silver’ is), only 17% of the world’s silver is still mined today, and it is often a by-product of the mining of copper and other precious metals. I save every tiny piece of silver leftover in my making process - tiny snippets of silver wire go into a container for future recycling, I even save the PMC ‘dust’ leftover from sanding greenware for use in my slip pot.