We encourage DIY in all things—after all, stitching something together rather than buying it oftentimes will cut your carbon footprint down a size (or two). But if you’ve found yourself strapped for time and craving good drop earrings or a set of beads, we’d recommend upcycled jewelry. Why? In many cases, the mining of precious metals and gems inherently harms the earth. On the more industrial end of the spectrum, it can generate harmful waste, dumping a toxic cocktail of cyanide and heavy metals right into Mother Nature’s lap. Sound like bad news? Then here’s a few of our favorite upcycled pieces. Each one utilizes pre-existing materials in order to cut down their environmental impact. Plus, they look pretty good while doing it.
For the record
Put your records on if you must, but consider what will happen after you’re through taking them for a spin. The term vinyl is actually short for polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a plastic made from crude oil—both harmful to make, and almost impossible to recycle. Thankfully, this necklace works to remedy the conundrum, while still showing off your love for all things analog.
Plastic, it’s fantastic
At first glance, this cuff could easily be mistaken for a strip of lapis. In reality, it’s composed of recycled plastics found on the beach, made to shimmer like a precious gem with bio resin. Who would’ve thought salvaged plastic could look so beautiful?
Piece by piece
It goes without saying that you should recycle paper at home. What might not be as obvious is that you can also reuse it—for earrings. These come in a fun puzzle piece shape, and are available in gold, black, green, and purple, as well as the pink iteration shown here.
Tire inner tubes are typically made of rubber or latex, both of which, in most cases, are synthetic, resulting in a negative environmental impact. Thankfully, many manufacturers have introduced recycling programs to remedy this, breaking down the materials and incorporating them into basketball courts, shoes, and other items. In this cuff, the inner tube is cut, and holes are punched into it to create a fun, wearable design that’s also quite sustainable.
Through the glass
Handmade in Ghana, these recycled glass beads are striking in their white opacity and are made by crushing previously used glass into tiny bits, placing the dust into a mold, and firing it. The materials can be from anywhere—be it old-school cola bottles or broken window panes.