Remember that broken necklace at the bottom of your jewelry box?
Those obsolete silver cufflinks in the back of a drawer?
The tacky, hand-me-down brooch that somehow you got stuck with?
They are all treasures in the eyes of “ethical metalsmiths,” people who use reclaimed materials and artistic imagination to create new jewelry from old.
For them, re-purposing materials is a creative challenge to take on — and, more importantly, an environmental statement to make. Rather than use newly mined materials stripped from the earth, ethical metalsmithing relies on sustainably sourced metals or the concept of recycling and re-use.
Graduate students at UW-Madison have joined the movement – and they want your cast-off baubles.
Radical Jewelry Makeover Wisconsin, billed as “a community jewelry mining and recycling project,” is looking for donations in drop-off locations around the state. In Madison, unwanted jewelry can be donated at the UW-Madison Art Lofts, 111 N. Frances St.; the Kohler Art Library inside the Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Ave.; room 6241 of the UW-Madison Humanities Buliding at 455 N. Park St.; or the HYART Gallery at 133 W. Johnson St.
The donations to RJM Wisconsin can be “anything and everything – whether it’s precious like gold, or it’s costume jewelry,” said Chloe Darke, a second-year graduate student in the metals and jewelry department at UW-Madison.