Most of the materials I use are recycled, some coming from industrial and construction waste.
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We use copper pipe and electrical wire for most of our designs. We source our pipe from plumbers and homeowners, our electrical wire from electricians and sometimes the scrap yard.
The process from scrap pipe to jewelry is a fun and labor intensive process. To begin, we measure and cut the pipes into six-inch lengths and crush them with a ten-ton press. That process makes two six-inch strips of copper sheet. We heat them with a torch because getting crushed hardens the metal, and it needs to be soft to work it. At this point the copper sheet is dirty and the inside is full of minerals from the drinking water, so a good soak in vinegar is needed to dissolve some of that calcium. After it dries, it's ready.
Electrical wire is an easier process. We use a handy crank wire stripper to remove any insulation around the wire, then we use a thick polishing cloth to remove any tarnish and straighten the wire at the same time. Sometimes it may need an additional vinegar soak depending on how dirty it is.
The brass we use comes from broken drum cymbals. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. More copper in the alloy produces a metal with more red, called red brass. More zinc than copper results in a more yellow metal called yellow brass. We use both metals depending on what kind of cymbals we are able to source from drummers. To use the cymbals, The process from scrap to jewelry begins with cleaning and polishing the cymbal, then measuring and drawing the bracelet design or shape we want right onto the cymbal.
We buy our recycled .925 Sterling silver in wire form from Rio Grande. Buying it in wire form gives us the freedom to make our own ear wires from scratch and ensure all items are nickel free.