Community members within High Country have been donating their jewelry to the 7th Radical Jewelry Makeover project which seeks to promote ethical mining practices all over the world. This project is an international one, which is being hosted by Caterhine J. Smith Gallery, as well as the Art Department within the Appalachian State University and it plans to change the way that people think about purchasing jewelry in the long run.
What is the Project all about?
The project is being introduced by the project direction, Susie Ganch, and the aim is to get the community to donate old and broken jewelry pieces to the project so that these items can be recycled. Once the jewelry is fixed up, it will then be resold on the 23rd October at the Plemmons Student Union’s Solarium between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. This project is one that was begun by the Ethical Metalsmiths organization, which aims at raising awareness between artisans of ethical and sustainable mines. Transparency is also extremely important to ensure that materials are collected from the appropriate sources; this helps the metals to be traced back to the mines from which they were taken. Individuals can then conduct their research to determine whether these sources are run ethically.
Teaching Communities about Ethical Mining
Radical Jewelry Makeover intends to tackle two different aims during this new project; firstly, they will educate the community on the topic of ethical mining, and secondly, they will promote the sale and purchase of second hand or renewable pieces, instead of jewelry that might have been mined through unethical practices.
The Negative Effects of Unethical Mining Practices
Ganch and many others who have been involved in the artisan industry have come to understand the negative effects that unethical mining practices have on health and the environment, and this initiative is set to change all of that. Ethical Metalsmith’s site has displayed shocking statistics, stating that metal mining is responsible for about 96% of the arsenic emissions in the U.S, and about 76% of the lead emissions. Ganch has stated that 95% of the total amount of mercury which is released into the environment comes from small scale mining. Gold is apparently the biggest contributor of the problem, but Ganch believes that if the awareness campaign can “clean up gold mining”. It remains to be seen what effect this initiative will have on the mining industry, but one thing is for sure; it is an exciting venture that has many within this industry talking.