Even though metals, gemstones and pearls have been the staples of jewelry design for hundreds of years, some makers are now acquiring inspiration in extra strange supplies, these types of as glass, horn and wood. Even soda cans.

“Disposable cans and plastics have been thought of insufficient for jewelry,” mentioned Eunseok Han, a jewellery artist dependent in Seoul. “However, I imagined we could make stunning jewelry with these discarded non-precious elements.”

Right here are the tales of Ms. Han and four other designers who are functioning to elevate unconventional components to jewelry art.

Seoul, South Korea

“I begun creating jewellery with recycled cans in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began,” Ms. Han, 49, said in a video job interview from her atelier in the Korean capital. She mentioned that she had been wondering about working with discarded objects for some time, but the environmental enhancements that transpired throughout the early lockdowns — like the world drop in greenhouse gases — motivated her to start experimenting, crafting parts out of aluminum soda and beer cans.

Close friends and loved ones now provide her with cans, and she collects many others from recycling bins — separating them by color and lettering design and style — then cutting each individual can into parts and utilizing adhesives to glue the pieces alongside one another. The remaining element of the system involves making use of polylactic acid, a renewable plastic commonly known as PLA, to affix the aluminum parts about a core in the condition that she needs to produce.

“I choose shiny hues,” Ms. Han stated, including that she sees this eye-catching palette as a way of concentrating interest on the vivid colours of corals that are disappearing since of air pollution and global warming. Her selection contains earrings, rings, brooches and necklaces, with more compact pieces setting up at $300 and much more intricate kinds going for $1,500.

Ms. Han started producing jewelry in 2000 soon after earning a Learn of Fine Arts in metalcraft from Dongduk Women’s College in Seoul. In the beginning, she manufactured classic Korean types in gold and silver she then started incorporating gems, wooden, plastic and enamel into her parts for a lot more wide variety. She sells her perform via her Instagram account and as a result of galleries such as the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Mass. Charon Kransen Arts in New York Town and Bini Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.

“As we pass the Covid-19 period, we comprehend all over again the relevance of mother nature and the require for initiatives to sustain it,” Ms. Han reported. “As an artist, I’m creating jewellery out of recycled cans in a smaller effort and hard work to do my part.”

Los Angeles

Ms. Wheeler, 37, said she believed that there is one thing about wooden, in distinct, that produced for particular jewelry. “I think it provides a actual grounding, earthy element to it. It’s so dense and dark,” she explained in a video interview from her residence in Los Angeles.

Lately the designer has been performing with ebony. Considering that the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Character (IUCN) lists the substance as endangered, she had to find an moral way to receive it. “It finished up staying a sculptor who experienced bought a large log in the ’80s and experienced some left around,” she explained. For her Belle earrings and cuff established, ($119,000 for the earrings and $116,000 for the cuff), Ms. Wheeler paired the darkish wood with diamonds, white enamel and light-weight pink morganite. “I have often appreciated to blend matte carved material with far more traditional faceted gemstones,” she claimed.

The designer, who is self-taught, launched her great jewellery selection in 2016. She now works with a sustainability coach to be certain that her designs are manufactured of recycled gold and responsibly sourced gems, and she commonly employs neighborhood artisans in the United States to craft her models, in buy to lessen waste and lessen the carbon impression of her operate. “Nothing we make is mass generated,” she said. “We search at the particular person piece and believe: ‘Who is the finest human being to make this piece?’”

This summer months, Ms. Wheeler launched a new collection, referred to as Bernadette, in honor of her daughter, who was born in April. The patterns, which pair vivid hues with gentle pastels, are a nod to 1960s assertion items. “These have petrified wooden on the outside the house,” she explained, referring to the Painted Desert earrings. ($50,000) “This distinct piece I located in Tucson, and it was just so colorful and wonderful.”

Ms. Wheeler’s jewellery is marketed on her web site and by Internet-a-Porter, as properly as in stores, which include Harrods in London and boutiques this kind of as Elyse Walker in California and Marissa Collections in Naples, Fla.

Yamanashi, Japan

Glass is the only material applied by Bubun, the jewellery line built by the wife-and-partner group of Megumi Jin, 38, and Nobuyuki Jin, 43. In Japanese, bubun is the word for “part” — the few selected it for their brand due to the fact they imagine jewellery results in being “part of a individual, the two in the bodily perception and in the non secular sense,” Ms. Jin wrote in an electronic mail from their dwelling and workshop in Yamanashi, Japan.

The pair met about 10 decades ago while they ended up operating for a leather-based products maker they remaining in 2016 to get started Bubun. “Nobuyuki observed a pair of glass earrings that I experienced been producing and mentioned he needed to build a assortment dependent on them,” Ms. Jin claimed, including that she first became fascinated with glass as a teenager.

“Over the decades, I have come to really feel that glass is a medium that can express an internal emotion that is hard to categorical in phrases alone,” she explained. “It’s not a typical content for jewellery, and when compared to valuable metals and treasured stones, the content by itself has small benefit. But its benefit is produced by the depth of expression of its concept, form, strategy and handwork.”

The few craft their jewelry from glass that has been created for industrial use — plate glass, glass rods and glass pipes designed in Japan, Germany and China. They minimize and condition the glass, operating the glass at a quite small temperature, then wrap a very clear thread around just about every piece and sew people parts alongside one another.

Every single piece in the Organ collection, which the couple based mostly on their interpretation of entire body tissue, is designed of dozens of circular pieces. “We come to feel that clear, gentle-permeable glass is a substance that, when worn, visually blurs the boundary in between the entire body and its environment and loosely back links them collectively,” Ms. Jin explained.

The items, which are handmade by the Jins them selves, are priced among 20,000 and 50,000 yen ($148-$370). The designers offer the items from their on-line shop, and they have stockists both of those in Japan and about the earth.

Nanyuki, Kenya

Writing from her residence in Nanyuki, on the northwestern slopes of Mount Kenya, Ms. Dejak defined that her jewelry and equipment are about “capturing the spirit of Africa — her prosperity, her character, her society — and bringing other people into this working experience.”

A person material that the designer takes advantage of are horns from Ankole cows, which she obtains from reclaimed horn suppliers in neighboring Uganda. Ms. Dejak then has local artisans method the extended, upward-curving horns, which the personnel at her Nairobi atelier in switch style into earrings, pendants and bracelets. (She now employs 12 comprehensive-time staff, significantly much less than the 40 she used in advance of weathering financial worries.)

The designer notes that she also uses other environmentally welcoming supplies, this kind of as recycled fridges, doorknobs and auto engines, along with “recycled metals sourced at scrap markets and bought for each kilo.” Her brass jewellery retails for $40 to $510, though the bags built of cowhide with Ankole horn fittings run $80 to $910. Equally the jewelry and the luggage are bought on the web and at merchants about the environment.

Ms. Dejak was born in Kano, Nigeria. “Ever due to the fact I was young, I admired my mom and grandmother’s design. They wore bold, vivid adornments, and they influenced my adore for African, handmade accessories,” she reported. She graduated with a regulation diploma from Middlesex College in England, but then decided to examine typographical style and design at the London School of Interaction.

As a self-taught designer, she started the manufacturer beneath the title Magik Grace and rebranded in 2009 underneath her have title. “My collections are intensely motivated by Kenyan tribes,” she explained. “The Turkana, Samburu and the Masai body adornments and culture have experienced a substantial affect.”