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February 23, 2009

Eco Green Mindful Custom Jewelry, anyone? [Angie Star]

I’m not a big jewelry guy, but I have always worn a ‘protection cord’ (red string that is given in Buddhist tradition by one’s teacher as a sort of reminder and blessing to be ‘awake’ and present), a thin light Italian-style necklace with a couple little doodads on it, and a pinky ring (in the tradition on my grandpa’s elegant, small pinky rings with monogram or what-have-you). So when I lost my Gypsy Jewel-bought big old Tibetan version of a hulking Mafioso pinky ring a few months back, I decided once and for all to

1) have my next ring be local, not shipped halfway across the world

2) and have that ring support the work of a local artiste

3) have that ring be crafted in an ‘eco-responsible’ manner

4) because if it would be crafted by a local artiste, have it be custom: put my initials WHL in the back of the ring, and the Shambhala Buddhist ‘Ashe’ symbol on the front—in a vain effort to remind myself to be heartfelt, genuine and confident. (Ashe is a sacred calligraphy and meditation practice that reminds the peaceful warrior to be, well, heartfelt, genuine and confident).

So, naturally, I turned to my friends at the local green-minded Angie Star, a lovely little jewelry boutique where I’d previously bought a necklace for my grandma Carol. They do a ton of custom work for weddings etc, so I figured they could do a little ring pour moi.

Via Lindsey Cash, the artist who made the ring:

“Your ring is recycled sterling silver with copper. It also has a recycled sterling and recycled gold inlay. It’s all hand cut, formed, and hammered.

And, here’s a little general info on our green practices at both Angie Star and our other store, North Star—with some specifics about the North Star building.”

A leader among eco-conscious jewelers in Boulder—and located in a green building—all precious metals used and sold at North Star Jewelry Supply are 99 percent recycled. Other sustainability efforts have included a pledge to buy from green companies only, and Olsgard has plans to offer sterling silver buy-back services to local jewelers. Students will also soon have the opportunity to enroll in a new green jeweler certificate program.

Owner Angela Olsgard and her staff act on the belief that what people do in their daily lives affects others. 

Much of what U.S. consumers buy today is made in another part of the world, either by machines or often by people who aren’t paid a fair wage. In contrast, choosing designs from Angie Star Jewelry contributes to the success of a conscientious business, fuels the local economy and supports the livelihoods of dedicated artists. 

The art of jewelry making calls upon the world’s natural resources, and historically the international trade market for precious metals and stones has not honored human rights, Olsgard points out. 

“We consider it critical to reduce our impact by wasting nothing,” Olsgard said. “We recycle our unused gold fill and sterling (silver). We are committed to creating our art in as sustainable a process as it can be.”

“The world’s resources are far from infinite, and it is important for each of us to do what we can to reduce, reuse, and recycle,” said designer Katherine Sanz. “North Star is the only source for recycled silver in the area, and we strive to be a model for sustainable artists everywhere.”

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