Using recycled silver and gold isn't just for creative designs. Mining silver and gold both have environmental costs, such as mercury pollution from gold mines. Silver that has been recycled cuts emissions from materials by two-thirds! And, rising costs of metals can be a challenge to create new work. Reclaiming heirloom gold and silver has an array of advantages, yet their are challenges for the metalsmith. I have a few simple tests to be sure that I have silver or gold. Heating mystery metals can release toxins, and are not easy to separate. Once I am certain of what my metals are, and have cleaned them, I can either melt pieces or cut and solder designs to create new pieces of jewelry. Using heirloom jewelry to create a new ring or pendant is also great for a customer who wants to remember a loved one, or to save costs because gold and silver are expensive to buy new! Knowing all these advantages make recycling an easy choice. Considering the environmental impact, makes this an important choice! Buy from real artists that are considerate of environment as well as good for the soul!