With the price of gold skyrocketing, Artisans are creating unique, affordable jewelry using recycled materials. 

Esprit-Mystique Artisan Virginia Vivier, from Tucson, Arizona, creates a unique line of jewelry made from recycled bullet shells. 

In 2001, she stumbled on an off-road, makeshift target shooting range in a remote part of the desert.  It was littered with brass, steel, birdshot and plastic shotgun shells left by gun enthusiasts.  She visits the site regularly, collecting a truckbed full of the shotgun litter.  It takes about 3 days to clean up the shells and determine what is usable and what needs to be safely disposed of. She uses only the pure brass and copper shells.  The left over plastic, steel and lead is delivered to safe disposal sites. 

Next, the pure brass and copper shells are sorted by their condition.  If they are bent or torn, they are melted down and recast into interesting pendants and charms.  The remaining shells are used for unique jewelry designs. 

When all the fuss began about “going green” and being “eco-friendly,” Virginia smiles and says she has “been doing that for years.”

Her jewelry creations are a perfect fashion statment for eco friendly enthusiasts looking for a Southwestern flair and a lot of comments about their jewerly.