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What is Eco-Silver?

Wondering what 'eco-silver' is and what makes it different from 'recycled silver'? Find out more about these two terms used to describe silver jewellery.

Have you heard of eco silver before? Are you unsure what you’d be getting when making that special jewellery purchase?

There’s no sugar coating the fact that there are some damaging processes used within the jewellery industry.

Mining is one of the most destructive processes. If responsible practises are not in place and regulated, the livelihoods of the people that work there and the affect on the environment is at risk.

One of the ways to reduce the impact of mining is by using materials which are sourced from small scale artisanal mines. By sourcing metal from mines that are regulated by organisations this can ensure social development and environmental protection. Another way to help reduce the impact caused by mining is to use recycled metals such as ‘eco silver’.

Recycling Practise

Silver has a history of being recycled, it is a precious metal, and within the industries that use it any scrap will naturally be recycled. From my experience in the jewellery industry, it is common practise to recycle. By sweeping up precious metal particles, along with any disposable tools/equipment that we use in the making process, we can send these to be re-used in a process called ‘refining’.

By using the refining process to melt down the metals to be purified, this ensures the product is of high quality and uncontaminated. After these metals are refined, this results in recycled silver which is ready to be re-used.

The recycled silver is shaped into bullion which can take the form of grain, sheet, wire or rod. By re-working and using these raw materials, jewellers can craft a new piece of jewellery.

What exactly is ‘eco silver’?

‘Eco silver’ is another term used to describe recycled silver.

‘Eco silver’ usually comes with a certificate of authenticity from suppliers. Essentially eco silver and recycled silver are the same.

Both of these metals have been made from silver that has already been mined. These metals have been made using scrap jewellery and recycled materials from the medical, electronic and giftware industries.

Is eco silver different from sterling silver?

Sterling silver and eco silver have the same purity as each other, there is no difference in the quality of the metals themselves. Both comprise of silver that has been alloyed with another metal, usually copper, to make it more durable. There is no difference in the way these have been made, only the origin source from which they came from. You will find both these metals hallmarked as ‘925’. 

Should we be buying it instead of sterling silver?

Eco silver is not mined from the ground, which makes it a sustainable alternative. It has less impact on the environment, allowing jewellers to create jewellery that doesn’t cost the Earth.

Ideally, jewellers would be able to purchase silver that is fair trade and fair-mined benefitting the small scale artisanal miners. This would be ideal but there is less demand therefore making it harder to come by. But I remain hopeful that more jewellers in the industry will look to develop mindful practises.

For the time being, by choosing to use recycled metals and opting for fairmined/fairtrade metals, we can reduce our impact on the environment and livelihoods of others. As it stands, this seems to be the way ahead that allows jewellers to create jewellery that is responsibly made. 

Is ‘eco silver’ used in all Laconic jewellery?

Not yet! It can be extremely difficult to source eco friendly materials for use in jewellery (and don’t get me started on 100% eco friendly packaging!).

There may be less demand for these, when I’m looking for components that are already manufactured, such as chains, clasps, earrings posts and scrolls, it is hard to find them.

This results in using what is readily available from my suppliers, relying on them to disclose the source of the materials. If there’s no clear indication or information from suppliers that these materials are eco-friendly or recycled, this results in having to work with the materials available at the time and I can’t say my work is made from 100% recycled or eco materials.

I won’t give up the search for eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives! This is something I am working towards changing at Laconic as I’m always researching the best ways to improve. I use recycled silver in the majority of jewellery I make.

In my designs, I use 100% recycled silver for the main cast components. I source certified eco silver wire and sheet to craft any elements of my design that need to be hand fabricated.


Cast silver pieces


Shop recycled silver jewellery.



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