Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Friendly All Around

No one likes change, jewelers least of all, who have been using many of the same tools and techniques for thousands of years. Even so, many chemicals and compounds used in a jewelry shop are toxic, if not downright fatal, such as cyanide-based electroplating solutions. The danger is not only to the jeweler but, if disposed of improperly, these solutions and compounds can contaminate soil and waterways, killing plants and poisoning animals and humans.

Jewelers today don’t have to literally risk life and limb to do their work. Making your shop safer for you, your family, and your community is possible. Many jewelers have already begun detoxifying their shops by replacing hazardous materials with substances that have no or little environmental penalty. You can, too, and it’s easier than you might think.

Eco Friendly Start

“We’re really fortunate in our industry,” says Joe Silvera, co-owner of Silvera Jewelry School in Berkeley, California. “We’ve eliminated a lot of the really bad stuff,” such as asbestos and cadmium, to name two.

While there are still books on the shelves that talk about using an asbestos pad for soldering or wetting torn sheets of asbestos to protect stones while soldering, those techniques are discouraged today and there are other, safer products to use instead. “Cadmium has been removed from most solders,” says Silvera. “You can assume that when you buy from a reliable supplier there

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