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Proper Green: Silver, Gold, and Broken

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When a necklace chain breaks, don’t toss it in the trash! Proper Green is here with a few alternative options.

Dear Proper Green,

What can I do with broken gold or silver necklace chains?

-Janet



Dear Janet,

I bet you thought this would be an easy question! You can try to fix the chain yourself (you'll need some needle nose pliers and steady hands), or by taking it to a jeweler — but if a gold or silver chain is beyond repair, it becomes a question of proper disposal.

Gold, silver, and other precious metals are routinely extracted from e-waste for reuse, and it's becoming easier and easier to find a place where you can recycle cell phones, computers, and the like, so jewelry should be just as easy, right?

Like the precious metals from e-waste, gold and silver jewelry need to be melted down and refined in order to be reused. Refineries do just this, but you might consider introducing a middle-man if you want to sell the gold/silver or have it remade into something else. Your best bet is to contact local jewelers, and see if they will buy and recycle your jewelry for you. Many national brands also offer to purchase jewelry so they can recycle it; a quick search for "recycle gold jewelry" will return plenty of options!

Of course, sometimes the best disposal method is none at all. Depending on the length of the chain and your own craftiness, you could attempt to repurpose it. From using the chain as a tank top strap to cutting it down and transforming it into chandelier earrings, your broken chain might present you with a fun afternoon craft project.

And like most other green habits, you can choose to be eco-friendly right when you purchase your next piece. Mining for precious metals takes a toll on the environment; purchasing recycled-metal jewelry can help reduce that damage, as it keeps the same metals in use for years and years.

Do you have any tips for green jewelry disposal? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
<span style="font-size: 8pt; line-height:1.5em;" "=""> About Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and the environment are still evolving) to providing easy ways to make your every day more sustainable, Proper Green aims to help smooth the way with answers to questions that are important to you!

Do you have a question for Proper Green? Send inquiries to propergreen@recyclebank.com. Please note: Questions may be edited for clarity and length.
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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more

  • Barbara C. 1 year ago
    Gold runs about $1000 an ounce and some idiot is thinking of throwing it in the trash? Are you serious? Most jewelry stores will purchase broken gold jewelry for recycling and pay you the value per gram. As for silver chains or bracelets, you can easily buy a new silver clasp at any of the major craft stores (Michaels/A.C.Moore/Joann Fabrics) and repair it yourself. It's very easy, and a small needle-nosed pliers ($1.99) is a good investment, as you can also use it to tighten your eyeglass frames, too.
  • Donna C. 1 year ago
    Just save up broken pieces and have them made into something else. Gold can be used over and over.
  • John D. 1 year ago
    This is a problem? Well just ship it to John D. lol
  • Larry S. 1 year ago
    I would gladly dispose of any Gold jewelry for those that ask!!
  • Janice C. 3 years ago
    cash for gold
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