What's Not In a Pair of Earrings
by Tawny Reynolds on Mar 08, 2010
So far, we’ve concentrated on the impact of making a pair of Simple Earrings and getting them to the final customer – hopefully you! ;) That’s reasonable, given that these earrings are by far our most popular items. However, other pieces of jewelry contain some additional materials we haven’t yet discussed.
Given that we know the silver in our earrings is more wasteful than any other component (paper, glass, printing or rubber), necklace chains are the elephant in the room. There are 0.54 grams of silver in a pair of Simple Earrings, but the 18″ (un-recycled) silver chain we used to use for pendants weighs just over 3 grams – that’s a lot of emissions and energy use from silver! That silver chain was also our most expensive material, forcing us to price our pendants higher than many people were willing to pay.
For all these reasons, we decided to switch away from sterling silver chains to silver colored Beadalon® cable.
Coming soon: what I can find out about the environmental impact of Beadalon® cable.
Base MetalThe other additional materials in our pendants are the clasp, crimp bead, and crimp cover, all of which are made of ‘silver-plated base metal’. I couldn’t find exact information about the base metal, but it is either brass, tin or copper. We’ll get into this in a later post as well.
Memory Wire & BeadsThe last materials in our products are the memory wire and hematite beads used in our wine glass identifying charms. I’m going to have to do some research and get back to you on these two materials as well in future posts.
Surgical Stainless SteelOur body jewelry uses surgical stainless steel findings. Stainless steel (even surgical stainless steel) contains 60-100% recycled content and is infinitely recyclable. The entire stainless steel industry emits 6.12 million tons CO2 per year while producing 25.9 million tons of stainless steel. Our stainless steel body jewelry findings weigh 0.95 grams per item. This means that for every 1000 pieces of body jewelry we make, roughly 0.52 lbs of CO2 are produced in making the stainless steel findings.
It looks like I’ve got lots of research to do.