Have you ever wondered where silver comes from? Many of us are looking more carefully at the backstory behind the things we buy, like how our food is grown and transported, or who makes our clothes. Here at Jordan Lily HQ, I am always exploring ways to reduce waste and improve the environmental impact of my business, so sourcing silver is something I’ve given a lot of thought to!
Where does silver come from?
If you guessed that silver comes from deep underground, you’re right – it’s been found in deposits all over the world, from Peru to China to Australia to the USA (back in Roman times, it was even mined in Britain.) Mining systems extract it from the ground and bring it up the surface, but silver has to jump through a few hoops to become the lovely stuff we wear. It tends to form mixed up with other metals and elements (like lead, copper, zinc, sulphur and arsenic) so it goes through a whole load of processes like crushing, roasting, smelting, electrolysis or oxidisation. Basically, there’s a LOT of effort and energy needed to get hold of brand-new shiny silver, and the effects on people and ecosystems can be wide and long-lasting.
So I was really pleased to come across Eco Silver, an eco-friendly alternative made from 100% recycled silver products. Here are 3 interesting things you might not know about recycled silver:
1. All kinds of silver items can be recycled
It isn’t just made out of old jewellery – it can also come from medical equipment, machinery, kitchenware, and electronics! You’ll be making use of silver right now in your smartphone or computer to read this blog. There’s something like 0.35g of silver in a smartphone, so perhaps in the future, a tiny part of your old phone could end up in a piece of Jordan Lily jewellery!
2. It looks and works just like new silver
There’s no loss of quality or purity in the recycling process. Back in 2020, I decided to switch to using Eco Silver in as many of my designs as possible and it was a really easy choice because it works just as beautifully. I can follow exactly the same design processes, with less environmental impact, so it’s win-win.
These are a few of the designs I’ve created with recycled silver:
Heart Pebble Necklace
Skinny Bar Ring
3. How do you know it's recycled silver?
OK, so if it looks and feels exactly the same as newly produced silver, how can we be clear about which type we’re buying? The Eco Silver I buy comes with a certificate of authenticity so that I can be sure of my supply chain, and in turn, my lovely customers can be sure too. If you have any questions about what goes into my pieces, just drop me a message.
Is recycled silver better for the environment?
Of course recycling itself isn’t a neutral process: it also uses energy and creates emissions. Overall though, recycled silver uses less water, less energy and produces less waste and mining impact (you can read more here).
Ultimately, knowing how my silver is produced is just one more reason I put thought and care into all my designs, as I always want to use this material well and create something that can be treasured and enjoyed for a really long time.
Want to look after your silver jewellery for the long-term? Check out my guide to cleaning here: Top Tips for Making your Jewellery Sparkle Again