Goldsmiths Invented Recycling

photo of goldsmith surrounded by the green recycling symbol

Goldsmith’s Invented Recycling

Everybody knows that “green” means environmentally savvy and we like to practice those behaviors in our Studio. In our modern age we like to think we invented all the really good things of the world.  We have plastics, cars, airplanes, computers, and all kinds of modern marvels that make our life easier and/or better.  We can generate electricity from falling water, wind or the sun, and use it to light and heat our homes and to do our work.  We can send messages over the internet around the world at the speed of light.  We are pretty smart because we have also learned to reuse a lot of these things so we won’t run out of them.  When did you first hear the word “recycle”?  If you are young you may have had to take the recycling to the curb along with the garbage, if you are older you may have learned about it in school, and if you are really ancient you may have heard about recycling in the 1980’s or even the 1970’s.

I first began to recycle as an apprentice goldsmith in the early 1980’s.  I learned the history of my art as I learned the techniques of a goldsmith.  One system of behavior I had to perfect is how to recycle even the smallest particle of gold.  I think you would be amazed at the things we keep in our studio.  Do you keep the dirt that you vacuum up off your floor?  What happens to the water that you wash your hands with?  In Faberge’s workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia all the workers were required to wash their hands in a barrel of water and to comb out their hair and beards before they went home!  We really do keep the dirt off our floor!  Last time I sent it to the refiners I got back about 22 ounces of silver and 1.4 ounces of gold.  Today’s price makes that worth $776.38 and $2,440.09 respectively!  When you come to our booth at the Seattle Gift Show look for our sign; Goldsmiths invented Recycling 10,000 years ago! How green can you be?


About Owen Walker

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