According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mining precious metals is one of the biggest environmental nightmares. Tons of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury are used to produce and refine precious metals. It is estimated that about 2.9 pounds of mercury is released for every 2.2 pounds of gold produced.
And with that in mind, Dawanna of Peaces of Indigo recycles silver, gold, and bronze to make jewelry. Let’s find out how this eco-friendly metalsmith started her business.
1. How long have you been green crafting?
Three years ago, a friend took me to a bead shop while our kids were in an art class and I fell head over hills in love with [the] look of rustic gemstones and silver. Beading is fun, but I wanted to make my own pendants, charms and medallions. I read every book that the library and local bookstores had on making jewelry, researched starting a business and in October 2008 decided to go for it. I knew that I wanted to use fair trade stones and recycled metals. The internet was an invaluable source in finding materials and information on precious metal clay. To this day, I have no idea how I even found this miracle medium but I’m so glad that I did.
2. What are your favorite materials to recycle? What do you make with them?
My jewelry is created using recycled silver, bronze and gold. Creating my own designs out of recycled metal is total bliss for me. It just FEELS good. Every time I walk into my studio, I’m just in awe that I get to do something so fun for a living!
3. What is your best upcycled project reusing materials in the most creative and ingenious way?
My jewelry arrives in boxes that have a piece of an old Jane Austen or Shakespeare book page on the lid. I adore books, poetry and quotes, so it’s a way to give a discarded book a new life and add personality to my eco friendly boxes.
4. What is one resource you see being thrown away that you wish you could rescue to upcycle?
Glass! I keep trying to come up with fun ways to incorporate wine bottles into my designs.
5. What new crafting technique would you like to learn?
I’d love to learn wax carving. A two week artist retreat in the mountains would be heaven. My jewelry features hand cut gemstones almost exclusively, so maybe I’ll learn to cut stones someday.
6. What does the name of your shop mean?
I knew that I wanted something funky, that spoke [to] my heart to represent my designs. The entire name just popped into my head while sketching jewelry ideas and once I saw it on paper, I knew that it was exactly what I was looking for. The color indigo represents water, the third eye, clarity of purpose and intuition. The spelling change to Peaces (from pieces) was a glimpse into who I am. This business has been an amazing vehicle on the path of self discovery and my name reflects that.
Thank you, Dawanna, for keeping our environment safe, one ring at a time!
[Images courtesy of Peaces of Indigo and used with permission.]