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Silver recycling: all you need to know

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Nowadays, we’re all well acquainted with the concept of recycling. It’s a process that’s become second nature with regards to paper, plastics, and other materials we use in our everyday lives. But what about the finer things in life - like precious metals and more specifically, items such as recycled silver rings, chains, earrings, and bracelets?

Here, we explore whether silver can be recycled and repurposed, including whether this has an effect on quality and why someone might opt for recycled silver jewellery.

Can silver be recycled?

So, is silver recyclable? The short answer is: yes! Recycled silver is made from old jewellery, medical equipment, electronics, giftware and more. It’s melted down and reformed into workable wire, sheet, grain and solder. Although the focus on recycling silver has gained huge momentum in more recent years, the idea is not a new one. In fact, silver remelting was the norm in Viking Age Scandinavia (c.800–1050 ce). 

 

What is recycled silver?

Sterling silver recycling is a greener alternative to newly mined silver, expending far less energy. 

The recycling of precious metals involves seven main steps:

  1. Collection - Metals are collected, including scrapped metal from the jewellery industry, and sold to scrap yards.

  2. Sorting - The metals are sorted, either using magnets and sensors or by sight.

  3. Processing - The metals are shredded to enhance the melting process and as a result, use less energy.

  4. Melting - The metals are melted in large furnaces designed for each specific metal.

  5. Purification - The metals are purified to ensure that the final product is free from contaminants and is of high quality.

  6. Solidifying - Once the metals are cooled and solidified, they’re then formed into shapes such as bars.

  7. Transportation - The metals are transported to places where they can be turned into new products.

Can you recycle silver more than once?

Silver is non-ferrous, meaning it does not lose any purity in the recycling process. As a result, recycled silver is of the same quality as newly mined silver - but more sustainable. This means that it can be recycled endlessly, allowing it to live countless lives across generations. 

It’s fascinating to think that recycled jewellery pieces already have history and a story behind them. Who knows - a set of treasured recycled silver rings could have lived a former life as something completely different, like the inner workings of electrical equipment!

Our eco silver range

From recycled silver hoop earrings and recycled silver bracelets to beads, charms and recycled silver chains, our range of eco silver jewellery is made using a sustainable and ecological bullion source, resulting in a mix of 95% recycled and 5% ethically sourced silver. 

Our eco silver is produced using ethical bullion sources, including Chimet. While there’s currently no external certification available in the country of origin regarding the composition of the material, Chimet is a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (member number: 0000 3591) and is audited as such. It is also certified by LBMA under The London Good Delivery List of Acceptable Refiners as a responsible source. 

With pieces also available in yellow and rose gold plated vermeil, our range of eco silver jewellery provides a more sustainable way to create high quality recycled silver rings, bracelets, and more.