So what exactly is upcycling? I set out to see how a product qualifies as being upcycled.
The concept was first talked about in 1994 by Reiner Pilz, a German who was upset that local demolition teams were not using reclaimed materials, but were instead smashing them for someone else to use in recycled products. He called recycling 'downcycling' because the materials are reprocessed, use a lot of energy to create and add to pollution. He noted that we should be 'upcycling' which reclaims existing materials in their current form - no manufacturing or process needed.
I went back through my items to see what I might classify as 'upcycling,' and found that I was upcycling some of my pieces. I save earrings when I've lost one of the pair, I reuse charms from other pieces and I've recently starting including sea glass in settings. One of my best tools is a silver polishing cloth. Mine is black from use, but I have 'reclaimed' many a silver chain and pile of charms with this handy cloth.
1. Reclaimed silver chain, reclaimed silver cross in heart charm
2. Sea Glass with silver wire wrap on reclaimed silver chain
3. Reclaimed cat's eye earring, filigree, silver chain and clasp