Mother-daughter team launches recycled vintage jewelry business

When William McDonough and Michael Braungart popularized the term “upcycling” in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle, they were referring to industrial-scale recycling and production. The term, however, has really captured the imagination of the crafty community: you don’t need to browse Etsy for long before coming across handmade products crafted out of used materials of some kind. And St. Louis’ own Upcycle Exchange is just one example of an organization that’s popped up to serve this niche though collecting and distributing materials that the more creative among us see as the basis of something new, useful, and likely even beautiful.

Mother and daughter Isabella and Nan Kursh found their own inspiration for upcycling products in London’s Portobello Market. On a summer trip to salve broken hearts, the two decided a little “retail therapy” was in order… and both fell in love with vintage jewelry and charms they found in the market’s antiques section. The idea for their company, Treacle, was born with their recognition that these old pieces of jewelry could be updated to meet current fashion sensibilities while still retaining the beauty and history encapsulated in the original pieces.

Launched just a month ago from Isabella and Nan’s home in Weston, Massachusetts, Treacle’s online store features the upcycled jewelry envisioned on that trip across the Atlantic. Seraphina told the Weston Town Crier that green consciousness definitely underlies the company’s mission:

The metals and the stones in the vintage and antique pieces were mined long ago… helping to lessen our impact on the environment and eliminating trade with producers who fund atrocities. Whenever possible, we choose materials and packaging that reduces our footprint on the earth, using biodegradable packing materials rather than toxic, petroleum-based peanuts, for example.

Yep, green doesn’t have to be purely functional; beauty can be a part of the equation. Check out Treacle’s current offerings, and keep an eye out for more: they plan to move into other materials — “…textiles, clothing, home goods, and other cool stuff” — that they can update into beautiful things.

Know of other small companies focused on upcycling vintage goods? Tell us about them…


Photo: Treacle’s Bunny Love bracelet (used with permission)