Reclaimed Vs. Recycled Jewellery

The terms reclaimed and recycled are often used interchangeably when it comes to jewellery. There is really any major difference between the two as both indicate that the jewellery is made from reclaimed materials which are then recycled. But the term recycled is often used for jewellery that is made from everyday products that typically end up in trash bin, while the term reclaimed is reserved for jewellery that is made from reclaimed precious metals such as gold and silver. Examples include old gold or silver jewellery that is separated from alloys and then made into brand new jewellery.

Which is More Environmentally Friendly? Reclaimed or Recycled Jewellery?

Both reclaimed and recycled jewellery are an environmentally friendly choice and put minimal pressure on the environment. It is difficult to say which of the two types of art jewellery is more environmentally friendly. But given that mining for precious metals dramatically alters the landscape, often involving permanent destruction at the mining area and that in many cases involves far reaching social and economic changes for the local population (typically for worse), reclaimed jewellery may slightly be more environmentally friendly.

Materials that are used to make recycled jewellery are mainly man-made and are typically recycled anyway. This means that they don’t involve as dramatic intervention into the environment. In addition, jewellery that is made from plastic bottles, recycled fabric, etc. is not as desirable as that made from precious metals and gemstones which is why their reclamation is of vital importance. But as much as the end result is concerned, both reclaimed and recycled jewellery are a much greener choice than the pieces that are made from virgin materials.

What are Other Notable Differences between Reclaimed and Recycled Jewellery

Both reclaimed and recycled jewellery are art jewellery and many pieces that are made from what we normally perceive as junk are outstanding art pieces. But while everyone including children can make recycled jewellery, reclaimed jewellery requires a substantial knowledge of working with metals and gemstones. As a result, reclaimed jewellery artists also need to master the basic techniques and methods of jewellery making.

Reclaimed jewellery is typically made from precious metals with or without gemstones that may or may not be reclaimed as well (environmentally friendly ones are sourced from non-conflict areas). As a result, it is typically more expensive than recycled jewellery. But if made by a reputable artist, pieces of jewellery that are made from recycled everyday products can be quite expensive as well.