How have you been influenced by the project?
Quantity, the shear volume of donated jewelry that people are willing to part with is shocking. I have been involved with three RJM events and seeing the amount of donated material is powerful. As a maker of one of a kind jewelry/objects time and value are poured into the pieces. But when you look at a mound of random unwanted jewelry it makes one think about the value; monetary, sentimental, or the fashionability of jewelry.
How do you weigh what techniques and materials you will use?
I’ve been given a wide range of materials and have grouped them according to their metal. The first step is to refine the various low karat gold I have been given to use. Some of the gold has already been melted and made into new material, but the resulting alloy is very difficult to work with. Melted and reclaimed 14k & 10k gold tends to result in a brassy colored gold instead of a bright buttery yellow of higher karat gold it’s also brittle and cracks, making it difficult to work with.
Precious metal, especially gold is such a great reusable material but when it’s alloyed down to a lower karat it becomes more difficult for a studio jeweler to reuse. I will refine the lower mixed karats back to an almost pure 24k gold, through a chemical refining process. I dislike the use of chemicals but unfortunately this is one of the only options I have to refine the gold on my own. The result will be 22.5g of 14k/10k, to 13g of 23k.
How do you anticipate future uses for the materials that you are using?
By raising the karat of the gold I hope to encourage future use of the material especially at a bench level, which will not require the assistance of a refinery, or additional fresh gold added.
Adam Whitney is an artist that has previously worked in retail jewelry in which he focused on repairs and custom, one of a kind jewelry utilizing precious stones, gold, and enamel. He recently spent two years teaching Jewelry Design at Raffles College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While living abroad Adam spent time traveling throughout South East Asia and India absorbing diverse cultures, customs, and designs. Currently his work focuses on silversmithing techniques and the design of functional objects such as silver drinking cups, tea infusers, and baby spoons.