Thursday, September 22, 2011

Upcycled Color - Tamra Gentry Jewelry

It looks like a gemstone called agate.
But it's not agate.
It looks like a metal-working technique
called mokume gane.
But it's not.
So, what exactly is it?
Old paint.
But not just any old paint. This is a hidden treasure that
has been salvaged from trash and re-purposed into
truly innovative jewelry by metalsmith Tamra Gentry.

Known as Fordite or Motor City Agate it is
made of layers and layers (and more layers) of
automotive enamel paint that used to be
manually spray-painted onto cars
at the auto factories during the 1960s and 1970s.
While the cars eventually left the painting
stations the excess overspray was left behind.
Layers of enamel paint built up over time on the
 walls of all those painting stations and were
 baked on repeatedly.  When this manual painting
process was automated the creation
 of Fordite ceased.

Salvaged Fordite is in limited supply.
And what was once destined for the landfill
 upcycles beautifully into exquisite jewelry.

This artist uses a variety of fabrication
techniques to infuse stylish new life into
 a manufacturing byproduct.
These pieces are definitely top drawer.

In a striking array of colors
these pieces are both stunningly stylish
and eco-friendly.

Pairing many of her pieces
with gemstones she cleverly provides
a stunning counterpoint to the
vintage auto enamel.

It's obvious that Tamra's technical skills
are superb and her designs are
innovative and very feminine.
One can consider them to be
artistic expressions set in silver.

We love to be enchanted and inspired by artists
 who are using objects that had a previous life
and creating something with a different purpose.

In this particular case, we're impressed that
 a substance that was truly
considered as wasted product for one industry
has become a valuable material for another.
For more information about these
colorful nuggets of beauty visit

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