You may or may not know this, but 2009 is the year of green here at Elisa Shere Jewelry. I started hearing about other jewelrs using recycled metals, and finally have found a source. Even though it took a while to figure that part of it out, it really is the most important part since mining metals is devastating to the environment, and it's pretty easy to buy pre-recycled metals. The harder part is getting rid of some of the other nasty chemicals lurking about in my studio.
One of the things metalsmiths use when making their jewelry is a substance called "pickle". It's a yucky chemical that removes the dirt that collects on your metal after you've heated it. Some alternatives are citric acid and, as I found out today, vinegar and salt. I am currently using citric acid (which is really lemon) in my pickle pot and it works just fine. See, that wasn't so bad? And the earth is just a little bit happier!