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Beautiful and sustainable jewelry made with care in San Francisco. Edgy and unique styles to wear everytday. We have everything from tiny platinum stud earrings to Moissanite engagement rings made from recycled gold and fashion jewelry from solid sterling silver.

Read all about how we make sustainable jewelry!

We have so much to share with you! Follow along on our blog | Sharon Z Jewelry | Shop Handmade Sustainable Jewelry San Francisco

Filtering by Category: About Me

Recycled Gold - Why this is a basic that all of your jewelers can and should use

Sharon Zimmerman

Drawing down wire in the studio - Liz Hafalia for the SF Chronicle.jpg

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This was the mantra of my generation of environmentally conscientious people in the 90s. One of the things I love the most about jewelry (aside from the fact that I get to make my own accessories and share them with everyone) is that it is easy to reuse and recycle almost every element of what we do. Have a ring you aren’t using? Melt it down and make another. Have a diamond in a setting that you don’t care for? Cut it out and remake it. Want to reduce your consumption? Easy, just buy better jewelry. You could buy only one new piece a year and pull together a beautiful and meaningful capsule collection.

That said, recycled gold should be the baseline standard for sustainable jewelry. Jewelers throughout the ages have collected scraps and bits of gold from their projects and have recycled them back into future projects with minimal environmental impact. I do this myself at the bench - melting down tiny bits and re-purposing them into new jewelry to create new eco-friendly pieces.

The above video shows the melting of gold scrap to roll out for a new piece of jewelry


Gold and silver are precious natural resources. Around the world gold is mined using industrial techniques, often times creating pollution, adding mercury to the water and displacing indigenous people. Much of today’s gold mining is done not just for jewelers, but for electronics as well, which has created a higher demand. The good news is that gold is 100% recyclable and re-usable, and Fair Mined metals are becoming easier to acquire. Artisanal gold mining is becoming more common and many of us see partnerships with specific mines as the way forward for the industry. Over the next year, I hope to offer Fair Mined metals as an option for many of my pieces, but until then, I continue to use only recycled gold.

Turning Six and Giving Back

Sharon Zimmerman

Lots of styles have come and gone, but these have stayed constant

Lots of styles have come and gone, but these have stayed constant

My business turned Six in March! This business has been a roller coaster these last six years and I wouldn't have it any other way. Along the way, I've learned that staying true to my values is as important as making huge sales - one without the other feels so hollow. So it was an easy decision for me to combine the sixth anniversary month with Women's History Month and give back to a cause that supports women - The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV supports women (and men) leaving violent homes by providing resources, information and safety as well as a help line that you can call to get support. Thanks to my amazing customers, this business of mine was able to donate more than $200 to this cause. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Our Feature in the San Francisco Chronicle

Sharon Zimmerman

It's been a roller coaster year, but we were thrilled with our recent feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. It shows mein action - drawing down wire to make a nose ring, soldering a wedding ring, and basically showing you all the work and effort and love that go into each and every piece of sustainable jewelry we make here in our San Francisco Studio.

Sharon Zimmerman draws down wire for a  nose ring  in her San Francisco studio

Sharon Zimmerman draws down wire for a nose ring in her San Francisco studio

Soldering a  wedding ring  in 14 karat gold. Image by Liz Hafalia

Soldering a wedding ring in 14 karat gold. Image by Liz Hafalia

Article by Carolyn Said, photos by Liz Hafalia.

Read all about it here.

The Good Karma Sale, Giving Back and a Coupon Code for you

Sharon Zimmerman

After the year that we've had, I am determined to be more committed than ever to giving back to organizations that are near and dear to my heart. My commitment to sustainability does not end with jewelry - it extends to my sense of civic responsibility too. I'm starting with this Holiday Season by participating in the Good Karma Sale. November 21st-30th, 10% of all sales made through the website and at the SF Etsy Holiday Emporium will be donated to the International Rescue Committee, an organization co-founded by Albert Einstein that is dedicated to assisting and resettling refugees escaping from violence around the world. Helping refugees takes on many different forms and includes providing water, food, and shelter and ensuring that refugees are safe and cared for. Follow the hashtag #goodkarmaisthenewblackfriday to see all of the vendors participating in the Good Karma Sale!

Throughout December, 5% of all sales made through our website and at shows will be donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV works to create a culture where domestic violence is not tolerated; and where society empowers victims and survivors, and holds abusers accountable. 

And lastly, as promised, is your coupon code. Take 15% off any order on my website November 21-28 with coupon code Karma2016 *. This is my thank you for your support, enthusiasm and for helping to give back this holiday season. Enjoy, and I hope to see you soon.

Lastly, sign up for our mailing list to enter to win a pair of sterling silver spear huggies! The winner will be announced on November 28th.

 

*This code is good through Midnight Pacific Time on November 28th, 2016.

Transitioning Jewelry - when to remake antique and unused jewelry

Sharon Zimmerman

What can you do with unused jewelry?

Sparkle-Ball-ring-recycled-diamonds-14-karat-gold

Jewelry is powerful. Serving as a reminder of loved ones, connecting us to our past and grounding us in the present. But sometimes jewelry no longer serves us or it no longer serves it’s original purpose. Maybe your jewelry reminds you of a painful moment or transition in life; maybe you inherited jewelry from a loved one that isn’t to your taste; maybe your jewelry just needs a different look. If so, then it’s time for an update. The diamonds in these rings once symbolized a different life, but have now been refreshed, updated, made new. Rings (and earrings) that symbolize a change and a transition through to a new time in life. A jump start, a renewal; hit the reset button.

In the rough studs with recycled diamonds in rose gold

Interested in custom and bespoke jewelry using your existing stones? Contact me to find out what's possible, but first, fill out this little questionnaire and find out a little bit more about the process here.

recycled diamond 18 karat gold setting oxidized silver ring

How I Wear It - the Spear Huggies with Tiny Studs

Sharon Zimmerman

I'll admit it - I got into jewelry-making largely for my own self-interest. I wanted to have beautiful pieces of jewelry to wear and the best way to get something that's exactly what I want is to make it myself. So I started making jewelry. A lot. Obsessively. All the damn time.

Time passed, more jewelry got made and I got more curious about where my metals came from. I got more interested in creating a jewelry line that uses sustainable materials and incorporated more designs and more creative and wild visions. Each year, I make more and more jewelry that I love down to its core. It becomes pretty hard to figure out which pieces to put on each day when I feel like I have an embarrassment of riches. So much to love...so little ear space.

I mean, of COURSE - making more jewelry means that I need to be wearing more jewelry. So a couple of years ago I added two new piercings to my left ear to make room for more studs and earrings.*

I love how tiny studs accent the ear like a sprinkle of stardust. All the more so when those studs are made in rose gold. (14 karat rose gold is my not-so-secret favorite metal to wear). Though if yellow gold or platinum are your jam, by all means go to town and create your own ear party!

Sure, you can wear our spear huggies on their own, without any other earrings and they will still look great alone, but this was far too fun of a look for me to pass up and adding in all of these studs feels like I’ve armored up for the day.

Pictured on my ear from left to right, all of these are shown in rose gold, and available in yellow gold, platinum (except for the spear huggies) or sterling silver:

Tiny Stick Stud Earrings
Spear Huggies
In the Rough Diamond Studs
Tiny Pebble Studs

We’d love to hear from you and see how you arrange your ear party! Feel free to post a comment or reach out to us by email. We’ll post your image to our Instagram feed and tag you too!

How do you like to wear your tiny studs and huggies?

*I had mine pierced by Perry at Rose Gold in the Haight.

Why is my skin turning black under my rings?

Sharon Zimmerman

Hint: It's not an allergy.

A few years ago, I thought I was developing an allergy to silver and gold.  Almost overnight, my skin was turning black underneath my rings and I couldn't explain it. The answer?  Science!

Image of skin turning black underneath my  s ilver and gold rings

Image of skin turning black underneath my silver and gold rings

At about the same time that my skin started turning colors, I had started using a mineral sunscreen* containing zinc oxide.  Zinc Oxide, in its non-nano state, is a fantastic and safe sun-blocking agent as well as a common ingredient in many cosmetics. I am pretty obsessed with my skin care (though you wouldn't believe it if you saw my hands. Ah well, such is the jeweler's life). Zinc oxide is also, as it turns out, a very mild abrasive.  Veeeery mild. But gold and silver are soft metals, so the mild abrasive in my sunscreen was actually rubbing off minuscule particles of metal from my rings and these particles transferred to my skin and appeared black.

My solution?  Well, I wasn't going to discontinue using my sunscreen nor would I stop wearing rings and the problem goes away when I, you know, wash. My. Hands. I also wait to put on rings until after I've applied the sunscreen and washed my hands. Sometimes the simple solutions are the best. And don't forget to clean your jewelry to get rid of any residual make up, soap, sunscreen, etc. Here is our Step-by-Step guide to safely cleaning and caring for your jewelry.

And now, please resume wearing all of the rings.

"Conflict-free" Diamonds - My Take

Sharon Zimmerman

How can a diamond be conflict-free?

Have you been wondering if lab-grown diamonds are really as good as the real thing?  Maybe we should all start asking if supposedly "conflict-free" diamonds are really worth their trouble. So I present to you an infographic to illustrate why the term "conflict-free" makes me feel conflicted and why I've committed to only using lab-grown or recycled stones in my jewelry.

How is a diamond Guaranteed conflict-free?
Infographic by Sophia Renn.