Racine Art Museum
Press Release

Don’t know what to do with your old, unwanted jewelry?

How about Radical Jewelry Makeover!

By - Jan 3rd, 2018 08:00 am
Something RAD is coming to Wisconsin.

Something RAD is coming to Wisconsin.

Racine, WI  January 2, 2018 – Radical Jewelry Makeover: Wisconsin, a collaborative project of Ethical Metalsmiths, is seeking donations of old unwanted jewelry for a community jewelry mining project happening this Spring. Radical Jewelry Makeover has been traveling nationally and internationally to communities since 2007, educating jewelers of all levels about mining and material sourcing issues involved in jewelry making through a fun, fast paced, month-long project. Jewelry students at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, UW-Stout, and professional jewelers from the regional community will be transforming donations into radically fresh and responsible jewelry. The project will culminate in an exhibition of these wearable creations displayed at the Union Art Gallery in April 2018; smaller pop-up exhibitions in the Milwaukee area will follow.

Those tangled chains, unmatched earrings, and banged up bracelets sitting at the bottom of jewelry boxes around Wisconsin are exactly what jewelry artists participating in Radical Jewelry Makeover: Wisconsin want to get their creative hands on. Until Friday, February 16 the nonprofit, Ethical Metalsmiths, and the Union Art Gallery are accepting donations of old, unwanted jewelry at several locations across Wisconsin, including Racine Art Museum and RAM’s Wustum Museum of Fine Arts (see below for details). Donors will receive discount coupons to apply toward the purchase of a new piece and sales will benefit UW student scholarships and Ethical Metalsmiths’ efforts to educate and connect people with responsibly sourced materials.

RJM draws attention to the creativity and skills of local jewelry designers, reveals the stories behind our personal collections and encourages re-consideration of our habits of consumption. Currently, materials used in jewelry production are sourced from some of the poorest countries in the world, sacred lands and disputed territories. Often this sourcing comes at a great cost to the environment. In Wisconsin, RJM will bring together volunteer “miners,” who dig out and donate their old jewelry, with volunteer jewelers and students, working together as refiners and designers to collaborate on an exhibition of re-made jewelry. Radical Jewelry Makeover will offer an informed and creative alternative to traditional mining practices and jewelry production. You can help by donating some of the smallest items in your home, jewelry, for reuse and recycling.

Wisconsin is proud of our rich history of jewelry production and metalsmithing history. Today, the EPA estimates that hard rock mining is the most toxic industry in the United States. Additionally, Earthworks reports that an estimated 50% of the gold mined each year is used for jewelry, and that a single gold ring leaves 20 tons of mine waste. Ethical Metalsmiths, an artist run non-profit organization seeks to galvanize mining reform efforts by staging an “alternative supply chain” and is working with the Union Art Gallery, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, UW-Stout, Racine Art Museum, RAM’s Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Lynden Sculpture Garden, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, 3rd Ward Jewelry, Walkers Point Center for the Arts, Tasha Rae Jewelry, and Yours Truly among others to bring their successful project, Radical Jewelry Makeover to Wisconsin in the Spring of 2018.


To donate jewelry of any variety, quality, quantity or material type, please submit the official project donation form in a sealed plastic bag along with your items. The form is available at all donation sites and is available for download at: http://opp-m.com/sites/53491/radicaljewelrymakeover.org-1514499341.pdf

Be sure to make and keep a copy of the form for your own records.


  • Donations will be accepted Tuesday, January 2 through Friday, February 16 (drop off locations listed below).
  • A kick-off event open to students, artists, and donors will take place at UW-Milwaukee on February 24.
  • Students and professionals will transform the donations throughout the month of March
  • The exhibition will be at the Union Art Gallery at UW-Milwaukee April 13 through May 11, 2018. The opening reception will be held 5-8pm on Friday, April 13. In addition to this, there will also be a pop-up show at the Lynden Sculpture Garden on May 5.


Racine Art Museum
441 Main Street
Racine, WI 53403
(262) 638-8300
Hours: Tu-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5

RAM’s Charles A. Wustum
Museum of Fine Arts
2519 Northwestern Avenue
Racine, WI 53403
Hours: Tu-Sat 10-5View other drop off locations hereMAIL-IN DONATIONS CAN BE SENT ANYTIME:

Mail to: Union Art Gallery, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211, (414) 229-6310

About Ethical Metalsmiths

Ethical Metalsmiths is a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage social change that values jewelry made with ethically sourced materials. They do this by educating people about irresponsible mining, promoting transparency in jewelry supply chains and highlighting the collective efforts of jewelers actively changing their practices. Ethical Metalsmiths’ vision is a world in which people can create and enjoy jewelry made with materials from responsible sources that protect and sustain the earth, its peoples and cultures. www.EthicalMetalsmiths.org

Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture, and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Docent led contemporary craft and architectural tours of the museums are available. Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum, are open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon – 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. An admission fee of $7 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

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One thought on “Don’t know what to do with your old, unwanted jewelry?”

  1. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    A wonderful (and very useful) article!

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