• Scottish charity and art colleges launch ethical recycling scheme
  • Mine your jewellery box and donate broken and unwanted pieces
  • Exhibition planned of new jewellery created from donations

A drive has been launched to rescue those tangled chains, unmatched earrings and banged up bracelets sitting at the bottom of jewellery boxes around Scotland and give them a glittering new future.

The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust (SGT) and Ethical Metalsmiths have teamed up with art colleges to bring the Radical Jewellery Makeover (RJM) – a community jewellery mining project which started in the USA – to the UK for the first time.

It’s a fun and faced-paced initiative that helps reduce the environmental impact, and other harms, associated with the sourcing of the materials often used in commercial jewellery.

Between now until 7 January the RJM Scotland team is asking people to “mine” their jewellery boxes for unwanted items and either pop them in the post or leave them at a drop-off point. 

They will then be transformed by jewellery and silversmithing students and tutors into fresh, responsible and beautiful designer items. The pieces they create will go on show in an exhibition and sale in Glasgow at the end of March, with proceeds funding further efforts to educate and connect people with responsibly sourced materials.

As a “thank you” donors will receive a discount coupon to put towards something new.

Karen Westland, SGT’s Ethical Making Programme Manager, said: “RJM is a great way to recover all the unworn, unloved, unfashionable and broken jewellery – or pieces that are no longer your style – that are lurking at the bottom of boxes, bags and drawers and give it a fresh chance to glitter. 

“At the same time we want to highlight the creativity of Scotland’s makers and designers, while raising awareness and inspiring action around climate change, fast fashion and sustainability.

“Much of a product’s social and environmental impact is down to the materials that are used. Choosing materials that are ethically and sustainably sourced is critical to reducing our impact on the environment. 

“Combining responsible material sourcing with innovative design transforms how and why we make and creates a sustainable, stronger legacy of making for the future – a future of making that can help fight climate change and inequality.” 

The idea of bringing RJM to Scotland came from SGT’s student ambassadors who were keen to build on the outcomes of COP26 by developing a circular economy initiative that would turn waste and unwanted materials into useful and desirable new pieces.

The students and staff taking part come from The Glasgow School of Art, City of Glasgow College, Edinburgh College of Art, Fife College, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and Glasgow Kelvin College.

Among them are Honor Dodd and Ramsay Pagett from ECA. 

Honor said: “The Radical Jewellery Makeover is a really exciting and refreshing way to upcycle jewellery and get students involved in taking direct action to counter the effects of fast fashion and accessories. 

“As someone who cares passionately about climate change and the human impact on our earth, I’m glad programmes like this are taking the initiative to get students involved in a hands-on manner in ways to reduce our impact on the earth and do what we can for future generations. This begins to set a precedent and show what can be done.”

RJM has been working with communities since 2007, educating jewellers of all levels about mining and material sourcing issues involved. It draws attention to local designers, reveals the stories behind our personal collections and encourages people to rethink their habits of consumption. 

Materials used in jewellery production are often sourced from some of the poorest countries in the world, from sacred lands and disputed territories – often at great cost to the environment. 

RJM offers an informed and creative alternative and donating even the smallest items for reuse and recycling can help.

The project is a practical outcome of  SGT’s Ethical Making Pledge which was launched in 2018. Signed by the seven Scottish art colleges teaching jewellery and silversmithing at HND level and above, it signifies their commitment to integrating ethical making into their courses. 

The pledge’s success led to a parliamentary motion of support from the Scottish Government and interest from other institutions internationally. A key factor of the pledge is that each educational institution appoints student ambassadors to promote ethical making.

The Ethical Making Programme also includes an open access resource, www.ethicalmaking.org, for jewellers and silversmiths and consumers wanting information about what ethical making means, why it is important and ways to adopt an ethical approach in their creative practice. 

– Ends –

  • For media information contact Matthew Shelley on 07786704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org
  • Picture by Colin Hattersley.

How to get involved

  • Drop-off and mailed donations will be accepted from now until 7 January (drop-off locations listed below).
  • Jewellery students and their tutors will transform the donations in February 2022
  • The exhibition will be held in Glasgow (location tbc) at the end of March and will also be available online.

How to donate jewellery

To donate jewellery of any quality, quantity or material type please go to the SGT website where you can fill out an online form, no printing required. Once you have filled out the short online form you can either drop off your donation at one of the locations below or post directly to us. Jewellery donations can either be mailed to the below address of the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, or dropped off at any of the available locations. Please visit www.scottishgoldsmithstrust.org/radical-jewellery-makeover for all the details on how to donate.

Website https://scottishgoldsmithstrust.org

Please clearly mark your name on your donation packet so we can pair it with the form.

Mailed donations

Clockwise Offices, FAO The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, Commercial Quay, 84 Commercial Street

Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX.

Public drop-offs 

  • Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), C/O Radical Jewellery Makeover, Evolution House Reception, Central Campus, 78 West Port, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF
  • Fife College, C/O Radical Jewellery Makeover, Jewellery Department, Glenrothes Campus, Stenton Road, Glenrothes, KY6 2RA.

About The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust (SGT)

SGT was founded by The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh in 2000. The SGT has a dynamic programme of opportunities, exhibitions and educational resources. The SGT curates the Millennium Silver Collection, Silver of the Stars and the historical archives of The Incorporation. It aims to promote and support the education, art and craft of Scotland’s gold and silversmithing heritage and trade. In recent years, their work has expanded with the creation of the Ethical Making Programme to support the adoption of responsible and sustainable practices in Jewellery and Silversmithing.

  • Website https://scottishgoldsmithstrust.org
  • Twitter: @scotgoldsmiths  
  • Instagram: @scottishgoldsmithstrust  
  • Facebook: @scottishgoldsmithstrust  
  • Hashtag: #scottishgoldsmithstrust #RJMScotland #radicaljewellerymakeover

For information about SGT contact Ebba Goring Chief Executive on 0131 322 3868 or 07881 623 826 or ebba@scottishgoldsmithstrust.org. For media information contact Matthew Shelley at SFPR on 07786704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org.

About Ethical Metalsmiths

Ethical Metalsmiths is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to encourage social change that values jewellery made with ethically sourced materials. They do this by educating people about irresponsible mining, promoting transparency in jewellery supply chains and highlighting the collective efforts of jewellers actively changing their practices. Ethical Metalsmiths’ vision is a world in which people can create and enjoy jewellery made with materials from responsible sources that protect and sustain the earth, its peoples and cultures. www.EthicalMetalsmiths.org

RJM Scotland supporters 

Jamieson & Carry is an independent, family-owned and run jewellers which was established in 1733 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Jamieson & Carry offers imaginative fine jewellery, Swiss Watches and luxury gifts both online and at their store on Union Street. The store offers two large floors of carefully curated everyday and luxury items from around the world, including jewellery, individually-designed and handmade at their in-house workshop.

The Culture & Business Fund Scotland enables businesses and arts or heritage organisations to come together and build effective, sustainable partnerships, bringing creative projects – large and small – vividly to life. Funded by the Scottish Government via Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, and managed by Arts & Business Scotland, the CBFS provides critical £ for £ match funding – making the journey from a great idea, to a great project, possible.

The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, Clockwise Offices, FAO The Scottish Goldsmiths TrustCommercial Quay, 84 Commercial St, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX. The trust is a Registered Scottish Charity no. SC028384