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How to transform junk into gold

What would you do with 750kgs of junk jewellery?

Whatever you are thinking, the team behind JUNK: Rubbish to Gold have gone one better. Discover how a small team of determined jewellery makers used their maker skills and imagination to transform a pile of so-called 'junk' into absolute gold.

It all started in 2015, when Jivan, Rachel and Laura from the Birmingham School of Jewellery launched a small Kickstarter campaign. The aim was to raise enough money to put on a public performance, where makers could transform and reimagine a mountain of ‘junk jewellery’ using a range of materials including ceramics, plastics, crystals, wood, glass, metals, thread and you guessed it Sugru!

The idea of the project was simple — source a large pile of broken and discarded ‘Junk jewellery’ from charity shops and individuals across the UK. Then together with the help of a number of jewellers, work to reimagine and transform this discarded ‘JUNK’ into awesome new jewellery pieces to be displayed and eventually sold on for charity.

As the jewellery began to flood in from all corners of the country, a gigantic pile of jewellery began to pile up in the foyer of the Birmingham School of Jewellery. The team started sorting, choosing the pieces they saw had most potential.

Skilled jewellery makers from UK, Holland, Germany, Finland, Sweden and America all got involved, donating their time and their skills to help bring the project to life. The team that was assembled were all at different stages of their careers — ranging from students to recent graduates right through to lecturers and professional jewellers and artists.

For an entire week the team put on a public performance in the foyer of the Birmingham School of Jewellery and streamed live on YouTube for people around the world to watch and learn.

The scale of the project was incredible, upcycling thousands of forgotten brooches, pendants, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Here are just a few our favourite pieces from the entire collection (bonus points for spotting the Sugru)

Ring by Mah Rana: Sugru, plastic, metal

Necklace by Mia Maljojoki: paint, crystal, metal, Sugru

Necklace by Farrah Al-Dujaili: plastic, Sugru, metal

Necklace by Farrah Al-Dujaili: plastic, Sugru, metal

Necklace by Nuala Clooney: crystal, chewed Sugru, metal, stone, plastic

Nuala Clooney. Necklace. Chewed Sugru, metal, textiles, glass

Necklace by Nuala Clooney: Chewed Sugru, chocolate, textiles, wood

Necklace by Nanna Grønborg: Plastic, glass, Sugru

Necklace by Nanna Grønborg: Plastic, Sugru

Necklace by Nanna Grønborg: Plastic, crystal, Sugru

Bracelet by Maria Hanson: Metal, glass, Sugru

Earrings by Hannah May Chapman: Sugru, metal, glass

All images copyright: JUNK: rubbish to gold
Photographer: Rod Gonzalez

Discover how Sugru can bring your designs to life

Sugru is great for your own jewellery projects. It bonds to most materials and unlike glues and epoxy it's easy for anyone to shape and form by hand. Sugru can be used to bond materials together and can fill weird gaps that glues can't, making it easy and fun to make your own creations.

Design your own contemporary jewellery like Maria

Maria is a Dutch designer who uses Sugru in her jewellery creations. These pieces have been made using cross sections of old vines and Sugru.

Upcycle bike parts like Katie's Bike

Katie Wallace (aka Katie's Bike) has a mission: "to re-purpose used stuff to create bespoke products. The vision is to save all bicycle waste from landfill (whoa!)." Katie takes bits of bike chains that would end up as scrap and turns them into lovely pieces of jewellery like the one above! What is best about Katie's resourcefulness is that not only is she recycling, but she is using lots of different kinds of metals that could often not even be recycled.

Check out the Clever Fixing and Creative Upcycling section for loads of ways Sugru can help you save money around the home. Let's beat the January blues...