Behind the Scenes: Recycling Silver Wire Scrap and Precious Metal Clay

recycling silver scrap buy back precious metal clayEtsy shop help for recycling precious metal silver scrap

My end of the year project at Hint Jewelry was sorting through all my perfectly imperfect precious metal clay charms to send off for recycling with the rest of my sterling silver scrap wire.

I don't know why this sorting process could cause emotional distress, but it just does. Has anyone seen the TV show Hoarders on A&E? I'd like to think that I'm one of those happy-go-lucky people that have no attachment to objects, but after watching one of these episodes I found myself questioning my emotional connection to these small little hoards that are safely tucked away from the prying eyes of others. Big or small hoard, it's still holding onto a material object so as to create a sense of ground -- a imaginary zone of safety.

So last month I let my little pile of misfit charms go and sent them to Monsterslayer.com for recycling. There are not many opportunities while creating artwork to feel liberated when making mistakes and know you will be able to get money back so as to make some more!

If you have excess sterling silver or gold-filled wire scrap from your jewelry projects, be sure to collect these metals in heavy plastic bags separated by quality classes and alloys while working. In this way, you'll maximize profit on your cost of purchasing these precious materials and contribute to a better environment by recycling. Monsterslayer.com will pay 75% in trade or 60% in cash of the current market value for silver sheet and wire. The process for sending in metal scrap to Monsterslayer.com is pretty simple:

1. Free metal of stones, adhesives, debris and base metal findings.
2. Use a magnet to pull out any steel wool, broken saw blades, and steel cable if present.
3. Separate the scrap by alloy and quality class.

Quality Classes for Silver:
1. Sheet & Wire: Sheet, wire and precious metal clay.
2. Melted & Filings: old jewelry, chains, findings, casting sprues, melted gobs and clean silver filings.

Quality Class for Gold-Filled:
1. Sheet & Wire

There are other places to recycle your metal scrap such as Rio Grande, so if you have a favorite source please be sure to sure the details in a comment. For more information regarding running an online jewelry business or Etsy shop help, check out my blog series Behind the Scenes.

Hope you too are starting the New Year with a clean slate!


  1. If you have the tools you can also melt it down yourself and use it in casting. We did this in my metalsmithing class. We carved some cuttlefish bones and used my sterling and fine silver scrap for casting. It was so much fun!

  2. I don't know what is wrong with those little charms...I would be happy with your cast-offs! Thanks for always sharing such timely and sage advice. Enjoy the day! Erin

  3. Hi Beth - I had heard about Rio Grande, but not Monsterslayer - that's where I buy my silver wire, so that's great to hear! Thanks for the info!

  4. What a great post! I had no idea that you could recycle left over silver. ^_^

  5. My...some of your cast offs look just fine to me!!!
    When the US & Canadian $ were close I use to love purchasing my silver from Monsterslayer.com...love to shop there! I've since found a Canadian supplier...but since the dollar is better now I will be back to comparing prices!

  6. Have been hoarding silver scrap for a while now - maybe this will cause me to send it on in. Thanks, Beth, for the push. By the way, I agree with Erin - I, too, would be happy with your cast-offs(: They look pretty darn good in the photo!

  7. I'm with Erin. Aren't you afraid the scrap charms will be kept by someone because they still look very nice and useable. Have you ever thought of selling the irregulars at a lower price in your shop?

  8. What fun that you are able to do some sterling silver casting at home, Vintage Blue! Alas, my studio and tools are minimal these days. Enjoy your metalsmithing adventures :)

    Sue, so glad this tip was helpful for you. I always think I should buy some wire from Monsterslayer and then when I'm ready to send in metal, I've already got a stash. Note to self: time recycling and wire buying at the same time. 75% is such as great deal.

    Nem, so glad this post was informative!

    Thanks to all of you for admiring my cast offs! Many of my remnants have made it into the hands of others as gifts, but sometimes they are just too misfit even for my happy accident standards. Over the last year I've gotten extremely realistic on a couple of things:

    1. Amount of labor vs. profitablilty
    2. What do I want my work to look like floating out there in the world? (i.e., consistency and quality control)

    It takes more time and labor for me to photograph, edit, write up a listing, process a sale, and ship an item then it does to either send one these cast offs as free gifts or recoup costs to make better versions. So while I'm doing all that stuff for these homeless charms, I can't really focus on the more successful charms that are the cornerstone of my business.

    Mel, my philosophy is that if someone wants to ignore their basic human need for integrity then I hope they enjoy my charms in the process! I weighed my scrap before it left my hands, and the money that I received back was based on my pricing estimate. Everything worked out fair and square so what someone does with my charms is their choice. If they find pleasure in keeping a butterfly with a missing antenna, then secretly I suppose I'm happy they were touched by it :)

  9. Beth you are so dear. Your little Lost & Found dog charm brings me more joy than you could ever know. What you say is so true, if a tiny misfit charm brings someone that kind of joy perhaps it is best to be secretly happy about that. Maybe it was meant to be that it found it's way to them, possibly at a time when they needed it most. Your charms speak volumes. I guess that's why I was just a little sad to think of them being melted down. I admire your art work.


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