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02/04/2013

Testing Our “Metal” - Jewelry and Metal Students Want Your Old Jewelry

Quick Facts

 Those tangled chains, unmatched earrings and banged up bracelets sitting at the bottom of jewelry boxes around the Rock Hill/Charlotte area are exactly what jewelry artists participating in Radical Jewelry Makeover – Rock Hill want to get their creative hands on.
 Donations are being accepted now through Feb. 21. There are donation mail-in and drop-off sites at several Rock Hill area locations.

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - The Winthrop University Jewelry and Metals program is seeking donations of old unwanted jewelry for the community jewelry mining project happening in Rock Hill, S.C., this February.

Those tangled chains, unmatched earrings and banged up bracelets sitting at the bottom of jewelry boxes around the Rock Hill/Charlotte area are exactly what jewelry artists participating in Radical Jewelry Makeover – Rock Hill want to get their creative hands on. Donations of old silver or gold jewelry will provide special learning experiences for participating students.

Donations are being accepted now through Feb. 21. There are donation mail-in and drop-off sites at several Rock Hill area locations (see below).

Jewelry students at Winthrop University and The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, S.C., will be transforming donations into radically fresh and responsible jewelry. Winthrop University Jewelry and Metals program and Ethical Metalsmiths (EM) are hosting a Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) Feb. 22-24 to raise awareness about the ethical sourcing of materials in jewelry and the visual arts.

The Winthrop and Rock Hill communities are invited to learn more about mining issues, and the challenges to achieving an ethical jewelry industry through a variety of upcoming events. Two public lectures presented by Ethical Metalsmiths will take place Feb. 22 and 23.

The project will culminate in an exhibition of these wearable creations displayed at Winthrop University in the fall. Announcements will be made about these specific events.

Donors will have their name submitted to a drawing for a collaborative piece of jewelry created in the Radical Jewelry Makeover. Any unused donations will benefit the Guild of Emerging Metalsmiths, Winthrop University’s non-profit student organization.

RJM draws attention to the creativity and skills of local jewelry designers, reveals the stories behind personal collections and encourages re-consideration of society’s habits of consumption. Currently, materials used in jewelry production are sourced from some of the poorest countries in the world, sacred lands and disputed territories.

Often this sourcing comes at a great cost to the environment. In Rock Hill, RJM will bring together volunteer “miners,” who dig out and donate their old jewelry, with volunteer jewelers and students, working together as refiners and designers to collaborate on an exhibition of re-made jewelry. Radical Jewelry Makeover will offer an informed and creative alternative to traditional mining practices and jewelry production. You can help by donating some of the smallest items in your home, jewelry, for reuse and recycling.

Rock Hill is familiar with mining controversy as the historic Haile Gold Mine near Kershaw, S.C. The price of gold has been increasing since 2001 and now previously abandoned mines around the country are getting a second look.

The Haile Mine is part of this trend. The community is divided about the re-opening of the pit and operations in part because of well-documented environmental impacts at other gold mines internationally.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that hard rock mining is the most toxic industry in the United States. Today, according to quarterly reporting by GFMS, 50% of the gold mined each year is used for jewelry.

Earthworks has estimated that a single gold ring leaves 20 tons of mine waste. Ethical Metalsmiths, an artist run non-profit organization seeks to galvanize mining reform efforts by staging an "alternative supply chain" and is working with Winthrop University to bring their successful project, Radical Jewelry Makeover, to Rock Hill in February.

HOW TO DONATE YOUR JEWELRY:

To donate jewelry of any quality, quantity or material type please download and submit the official project donation form. It is available for download or in print at the various donation drop-off locations. Use this URL to download form: http://wujewelrymetals.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/winthrop_rjmdonationform.pdf

Considering giving gold or silver? If you get your jewelry appraised prior to donating, Winthrop University will recognize your gift with a description (not a dollar amount) to match the appraised note in a letter for you to submit together for your IRS tax deduction.

Drop-off Donations will be accepted now through Feb. 21.

DROP OFF LOCATIONS:

- Farrow Place (Rock Hill) 1098 Ebinport Road, 803/328-8955

- Sun City (Fort Mill/Indian Land) 5074 Grandview Drive

- McColl Center for Visual Art (Charlotte) 721 North Tyron Street
Thursday and Friday, 2 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

- Om Yoga (Baxter Village), 936 Market Street (Suite 203), hours vary, please check class schedule here: http://ombalayoga.com/schedule/

- Center for the Arts, Dalton Gallery (Rock Hill), 121 E. Main Street
Monday - Thursday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 2nd and 4th weekends of the month: Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sunday 2-4 p.m.

Winthrop University, College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean’s Office, 133 McLaurin
Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed during lunch 1-2 p.m.)

MAIL-IN DONATIONS CAN BE SENT ANYTIME:
• Mail to: Courtney Starrett, Jewelry & Metals
202 McLaurin | Dept. of Fine Arts
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC 29733
803/323-2673

For more information, e-mail Starrett at starrettc@winthrop.edu

About Ethical Metalsmiths

Ethical Metalsmiths is a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage social change that values jewelry made with ethically sourced materials. They do this by educating people about irresponsible mining, promoting transparency in jewelry supply chains and highlighting the collective efforts of jewelers actively changing their practices. Ethical Metalsmiths’ vision is a world in which people can create and enjoy jewelry made with materials from responsible sources that protect and sustain the earth, its peoples and cultures. www.EthicalMetalsmiths.org

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