Who: Nurdle in the Rough
Where: Holualoa, Hawaii, USA
What: Ocean plastic made into gems, then formed into unique jewellery using recycled sterling silver.
About: Kat Crabill created Nurdle in the Rough Jewellery to combine her love of protecting the ocean and her skill at making jewellery. All her jewellery is handmade from ocean plastic, or ‘nurdles’, which are transformed into beautiful gems complete with recycled sterling silver. Her hope is that each piece will go on to spark a conversation about ocean conservation.
What is a nurdle? They are the pre-production material used to make all plastic products. They’re little plastic pellets that are melted down into everything from water bottles to bathing suits to children’s toys. They are one of the leading forms of plastic pollution, a large number of them end up flowing directly into the ocean.
How is the jewellery made? Kat collects this plastic from Kamilo Beach, on the Kau coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, a two-hour drive from her studio through remote lava fields. This one beach receives approximately 15-20 tons of plastic debris from ocean currents every year. The plastic she doesn’t use is sent for research, given to artists, recycled elsewhere or turned into electricity through incineration.
After debris is sorted, it is washed, sanitised and dried. The plastic is then photographed and catalogued, so that buyers can see what their jewellery used to be when it washed ashore. It is examined for interesting texture and composition, and cut accordingly. There then follows grinding, sculpting, sanding and then polishing by hand. The resultant gem is then set in silver.
Feel good shopping
Visit Nurdle in the Rough to see all pieces. Remember as well as cleaning Hawaii’s beaches, Nurdle in the Rough donates 10% of the profits to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, a small-but-mighty local non-profit that has removed over 400,000 pounds of ocean plastic from Hawaii’s coastlines over the past 20 years.
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