Can I Really Recycle My Ex’s Wedding Ring?

November 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Recycling, Repurposing, Slideshow, Sustainability

If you've got a pile of old jewelry that you never wear, give it new life through recycling or repurposing. Photo: JWasson

If you’ve got a pile of old jewelry that you never wear, give it new life through recycling or repurposing. Photo: JWasson

Most of us are guilty of stockpiling jewelry at some point in our lives. It may not have been intentional, but more often than not we still end up with a jewelry box or bedside drawer full of tangled necklace chains and unpaired earrings — or even a wedding ring from a long-ended marriage.

Recycle your old jewelry and use the metal to create a beautiful new design that you'll enjoy wearing for years. Photo: Courtesy Icing on the Ring

Recycle your old jewelry and use the metal to create a beautiful new design that you’ll enjoy wearing for years. Photo: Courtesy Icing on the Ring

The majority of the time, we feel torn between two options when our jewelry stash gets too big: keep it or throw it out. To respect the feelings of those who have given it to us, we tend to hang on to more than we need or even want. The new solution? Recycle it!

There is no need to toss perfectly usable gold or silver into the trash, and eventually a landfill, when it can be transformed into a new and unique piece that you will want to keep.

From an environmental perspective, repurposing old jewelry to make new pieces cuts down on the cost and global impact of mining for precious metals and gems. Many mines release cyanide or mercury into local water supplies and are often guilty of inhumane labor practices or despicable safety standards. While recycling your jewelry won’t necessarily improve the environment, it can certainly prevent it from getting worse or being mined within an inch of destruction.

Following is a list of options to consider:


The Glass Slipper Project – Gently used formal dresses, handbags, shoes, and jewelry are collected through donations to benefit young girls who cannot afford to attend their proms. Once the girls are outfitted, you receive a donation receipt for tax deductions.


GreenKarat – This is a recycling center with a twist. Any jewelry you donate to their MyKarat program earns you credit toward new pieces. You can also choose to donate jewelry to GreenKarat where the value of it is given to Basel Action Network, an environmental organization.


• Pawn Shops, Etsy and Online Auction Sites – If your pieces are in good condition but you just don’t want them anymore, you can earn some extra cash by selling them so someone else can enjoy your old treasures. If they are not in the best shape you can still sell them for scrap value, but be sure to remove any diamonds or gems and sell those separately to earn more money in the long run.

Trading Up

Many jewelers offer a trade-up program, so if you happen to have a ring that was originally purchased from a local jeweler, you may want to inquire about their trade-in options. The L.A. experts at want you to know that you may have an existing lifetime warranty on your diamond or other precious gemstone ring, which may also be eligible for a trade-up program. If this is the case, contact your jeweler and ask about trading in your existing ring for a new, custom design. Your old ring will get recycled and turned into a different piece that someone else will cherish for years to come.


These services can be found online. They send you a special envelope in which you place your unwanted gold jewelry, then mail it back to them. From there, your jewelry is melted down so that jewelers can make new pieces, and you receive a check for the scrap metal value. Not all mailing services like this pay the same price per ounce, so be sure to do your research before sending away your trinkets.

It’s Your Choice

The important thing to remember is you don’t have to hang onto old jewelry simply because you can’t bear to throw it away. Choosing to have it recycled into a different piece gives you something new to enjoy, while recycling or donating it gives someone else the chance to enjoy your jewelry. Either way, you are helping to reduce dependency on mining to satisfy the world’s jewelry desires — and helping other people as well as the environment.

Karla M. Somers

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Karla M. Somers has acquired and recycled several pieces of jewelry over the years. She is a contributing writer for, the Los Angeles jewelry district’s premier jewelry store.

Related Post

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One Response to “Can I Really Recycle My Ex’s Wedding Ring?”

  1. Earth Friendly Weddings on a Budget | Blue Planet Green Living on November 10th, 2012 10:12 am

    […] it will inspire you to find other ways in which you can save a little green on your eco-friendly wedding day. What about making your own bouquets with origami, or using oyster shells bleached by the sun to […]

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