Amanda Preske’s jewelry is both strange and familiar.
Locked under crystal-clear resin are tiny cities on colorful backgrounds made of resistors, potentiometers, capacitors, inductors, fuses and diodes.
We are used to holding them in our palms while we surf Facebook and Tumblr or double tap photos on Instagram. We use them to watch Netflix and play World of Warcraft and to connect with people across the world.
Amanda makes beautiful pieces of jewelry out of old circuit boards. She’s based out of New York, but her pieces have made quite a splash on social media after appearing in a Huffington Post video.
It started when her brother failed to fix his computer, “He couldn’t, so I just had all these circuit boards!”
“No one understands just how much we’re throwing away,” said Amanda. “Especially with the rate technology is growing.” Amanda says she has been lucky to have most of the circuit boards given to her to create her work out of.
She understands the small pieces of the circuit board she uses to create her jewelry are not going to single-handedly change the amount of e-waste in the world.
“I’m not helping the earth by making jewelry, but sending a message,” she said.
The message is this: according to Dosomething.org, 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide annually and only 12.5 percent of that is recycled. A lot of this is not waste at all, but the last model of cell phone, computer or television that still works but is out of trend.
“There will be a breaking point,” Amanda said. She hopes that the world starts finding better ways to recycle e-waste before there are more environmental consequences than there already are.
A lot of these still-usable devices have precious metals in them, like gold and silver.
Olympics officials in Tokyo, where the games will be held in 2020, have latched onto this e-waste recycling idea. According to BBC, the new host city is looking for ways to use the metals in e-waste to create the Olympic medals. It’s both crafty in the Preske-spirit and also could be more cost-effective than mining it.
You can find Amanda's jewelry on Etsy at Circuit Breaker Labs.
Author’s note: Using e-waste in interesting ways, for this author, saw its conception in 1999 where she debuted as the cyber-bug rumored to end the internet as we knew it then. Preske cautions against cutting up pieces of circuit board because there are dangerous compounds and also fiber glass pieces that can cause harm. As the granddaughter of a Ham radio operator and computer nerd, the author advises caution as well, when attempting to recreate this look.