Residents are invited to donate unwanted jewelry for a makeover project through Sept. 12.

Earlham College’s Art, Metals and 3D Fabrication Department is collaborating with artists from across the Midwest as part of a growing initiative to transform old jewelry into new, sustainably sourced pieces.

Radical Jewelry Makeover is an initiative by the nonprofit Ethical Metalsmiths with a goal of bringing awareness to the perils of the traditional gem mining industry.

“The mining and production of gemstones and metals is a largely unregulated industry that has long presented issues such as environmental damage, contribution to conflict, and human rights abuses,” said Lauren Darrouzet, visiting assistant professor of art, metals and 3D fabrication at Earlham, in a news release. “New regulations on the industry aim to support producing countries to engage with systems of accountability throughout the supply chain. This effort is challenging and relies on global participation.”

Earlham is participating in a Radical Jewelry Makeover project based in Bloomington, Indiana. The college is joining in the effort with professional jewelers from Chicago’s Gallery 2052 and students from Indiana University Bloomington, Ball State University, Bowling Green State University, Western Michigan University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

The Bloomington event is one of several regional efforts taking place around the United States and in several other countries around the world.

“Radical Jewelry Makeover strives to create awareness about these issues so we can question our habits of consumption and be responsible consumers,” Darrouzet said. “We hope to inspire the community to support local artists and local projects, because ultimately, change starts locally.”

The project culminates with an exhibit at Indiana University’s Grunwald Gallery of Art, 1201 E. Seventh St., in Bloomington. The exhibit opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2024. The exhibit runs through March 2.

How to donate jewelry

Area residents can donate their unwanted jewelry through Sept. 12 at the front desk of Richmond Art Museum, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, or at a drop box outside of Room 109 of Earlham’s Center for Visual Performing Arts, 801 National Road W.

Donations also can be mailed to Earlham College, Attn: Metals, 801 National Road W., Richmond, IN 47374. Shipped donations can be sent with a printed and signed donation form or via email to

Donors are asked to complete a submission form available through a link at or in print at the collection locations.

Donors will receive discount coupons to apply toward the purchase of a new piece and will support Ethical Metalsmiths’ efforts. Donations of gold or silver accompanied by an official appraised document may be considered tax-deductible to their full appraised value.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 6 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.