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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: Process

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.

5 Ways to Find Out Her (or His) Ring Size On the Sly

Sharon Zimmerman

You're in love, you know you want to get married and you’re ready to propose. So you run out to get a ring, but how do you know that it’s going to fit them? A ring, unlike earrings and necklaces, isn't a one-size-fits-all piece of jewelry, so getting the size at least kinda sorta close to right is important.  Here are a few helpful hints for getting things right the first time.

Option #1 - Find a ring that he or she wears on their ring finger

This is probably the easiest shortcut to finding out their ring size, but it also assumes that your beloved wears a ring on their ring finger. Some women don’t wear anything on that finger before engagement or marriage out of tradition. Just keep in mind that there can be a significant size difference between the right hand and the left hand, so if you find a ring that they wear on their right hand, it may not be exactly the right size for their left hand.

Option #2 - Ask her friends.

There is always a chance that she’s dropped hints. Big hints. And by hints, I mean that she may have actually told her best friend (or sister, or Mom) what her ring size is. So...not really a hint. More like a giant clue that she’s left for you to find. And a pretty easy-to-find clue at that.

 Option #3 - Find out while they are sleeping

This will assume that you have super stealthy ninja-like skills. Your first step is to acquire a finger sizer. Then, while they are asleep, carefully and without being detected slip the sizer onto their left hand ring finger. Et Voilà! Ring size!*

Option #4 - Order a placeholder ring

Have they already decided which designer they’d like a ring from**? If so, then it's a good bet that your future betrothed would like something else from that same designer. Ordering something smaller and less formal is a lot less risky and can create a sweet memory for the two of you. Then you can plan together which "official" ring to get. It could even be a ring that can stack with their eventual engagement and wedding rings.

Option #5 - Well, you could just ask

Sure, it’s not exactly romantic, but maybe you guys are a couple of rule-breakers anyway. Or maybe you are both super-communicative.  Either way, if you talk openly about your future together, asking for their ring size won’t be a downer. Besides, you don’t have to tell them when you’re planning to propose.

*If they wake up and you get caught, just tell them that you were trying to hold their hand.

**OK, so let’s back up for a moment and say that you have no idea what kind of ring they would like. The best place to do your secret spy research is on Pinterest. Take a look at their boards and see what kinds of jewelry they pin. There is a great chance that they already have a board totally dedicated specifically to engagement rings. And when in doubt, ask their friends.

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.

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

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.

Happy Five-Year Anniversary! Time for a major sale to celebrate!

Sharon Zimmerman

Five years ago, in the midst of a recession and a ginormous spike in metals prices, I thought, "hey, I should really get around to launching my jewelry business". And five years later, I am still here. 

Designs have come and gone, work spaces have come and gone, I've learned new techniques, traveled to exotic locales like LA, New York and Chicago in a quest to expand my business. I've met awesome people and created a community of bloggers, stores and other jewelry designers all focused on independent design and entrepreneurship. I've rededicated myself over and over to finding the most ethical and sustainable methods for making fine jewelry and along the way I've discovered new passions for unusual materials.

I couldn't have done this without the many people supporting me through this. Thank you all.

Use Coupon Code HAPPY20 to take 20% off at checkout through April 10 (sale ends at Midnight)

Style - the Made in the USA edition

Sharon Zimmerman

Pink and black and Made in the USA

Live your values, wear your values. That’s what I always say.  OK, not really, but that should be my motto, for sure.

A little over 10 years ago, I made a personal pledge to try to shop for products Made in the USA. I felt good about this pledge...until I tried to go shopping at all of my usual haunts. I found a whole lot of Made in China and Made in the Philippines, but not so much with the Made in the USA. Flash forward to 2014 and in many malls and department stores, this is still the same story. I’ve spent some time researching American designers and seeking out makers who are not only committed to creating beautiful clothing, bags and shoes but have also kept their production here. Keep an eye on my blog for more outfits pulled together from American makers in the coming months.

Featuring Karina Dresses - made in Brooklyn, Nanette LePore shoes - made in LA, belt and bag by 49 Square Miles - Made in San Francisco and Wabi Sabi Earrings by me - Sharon Z Jewelry - Made in San Francisco.