From junk to jewellery: Mariana Acosta challenges the meaning of preciousness

One man's junk is another man's contemporary jewellery, proves designer Mariana Acosta.

Contemporary jewellery artist Mariana Acosta uses waste to create jewellery because it’s all she had after graduating with an MFA from a prestigious, but pricey United States school. “So I decided to make lemonade with the lemons I had,” says Acosta who recently unveiled Precious Waste – an exhibition of her latest creations made from discarded materials.

Acosta turned to academics in Mexico after leaving the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009. Left with only the bare essentials, she made waste transformation the focus of her project.

Precious Waste is one of Acosta’s academic projects at Universidad Gestalt de Diseño in México where she lectures.  Acosta and her team of students collect waste then study the materials to change the ordinary into the extraordinary. By doing this, she teaches her industrial and graphic design students the art of transforming waste material.

Acosta’s work also challenges what people perceive as precious, opening a dialogue around what determines an object’s value.

“A compelling part of this process is the use of a modular form that repeats itself amongst an aesthetic instrumentation of elements that give birth to a piece of contemporary jewellery,” she says on her website.

A collection of the pieces created by Acosta and her students was exhibited in June 2015. The exhibition was opened with the cutting of a wine cork-ribbon.