London-based jewellery designer, Anabela Chan, has been turning recycled aluminium cans into the most beautiful collection of intricate ethical jewellery called Blooms.
Super-trend Chan, who has a shop in the grounds of London’s Ham Yard Hotel, is already a favourite with A-list stars like Taylor Swift and Rihanna and makes use of lab-grown gemstones which do not rely on gemstone mining.
The Blooms collection incorporates her lab-grown stones with recycled aluminium and is, claims Chan, the first collection to use this unusual combination of materials. The floral-inspired collection of earrings and brooches took two and a half years to develop as Chan perfected the production technique.
To make her glittering gems, Chan must first cut the metal into small squares before melting them at 600 degrees Celsius to remove the colouration. The aluminium is then refined before being cooled into ingots, ready for the jewellery casting process. A process called physical vapour disposition (PVD) is then used to achieve the iridescent colours which characterise this eye-popping collection.
Chan comments: “The biggest challenge with recycling aluminium cans is the impurities in the metal that causes issues with porosity, an uneven texture and tiny pores in the surface of the finished piece. By refining the recycled aluminium, through a process of trial and error, we were able overcome this and actually take advantage of a controlled porosity that allow us to achieve greater colour intensity.”