Precious Waste: Contemporary Jewelry Made from Waste

Precious Waste is exactly what it sounds like. Questioning what exactly “preciousness” means and what makes something precious, artist Mariana Acosta spearheaded an academic project that aims to transform waste material. She leads a class at the Universidad Gestalt de Diseño in México, and along with her industrial and graphic designer students, examine the art of waste material transformation.


Alfredo Quezada / Styrofoam pebbles from a sheet / 2015


Anabel Sánchez / Tetrapack milk containers / 2015

Part of the reason why Mariana began to work with waste materials is also because after graduating from a pricey school, that’s all she was able to work with. It is through her study of discarded material that she began studying how an object goes from ordinary to extraordinary.


Dafne Ríos / VHS videotape / 2013


Fernando Benítez / found toys from chips bags / 2015


Carla Sánchez / egg carton / 2014

For the students and her working on creating this line of jewelry, the process begins with two main stages— motivation and experimentation. Motivation revolves around surveying and collecting waste from everyone and everywhere, and seeing why some materials may be more commonly wasted or rare. Secondly, experimentation involves putting together the waste material, where a metamorphosis can occur. Through metamorphosis, waste material becomes valued and gives it more worth.


José Antonio Flores / old mexican currency / 2014


Karla Márquez / old elementary school books / 2013


María Crivelli / paper tubing from industrial cling wrap / 2013


Miguel Rodríguez / Tetrapack milk containers / 2013


Raúl Ortíz / Can tabs / 2013


Sarai Hernández / audiocassette tape / 2015

After surviving a quarter life crisis, Nanette went from working in healthcare canadian meds to pursuing her loves of design, food and writing. During the day she works in social media marketing, by night she writes for Design Milk. You can find more of her work at