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Rio depends heavily on the natural environment for the raw materials our business needs. We believe this dependence carries a responsibility to be a good steward of these resources, and we take that responsibility seriously. In a variety of ways, we strive to minimize any negative impact to the environment and its resources, and we actively work to have a positive influence on the world around us. In doing so, and by passing along this information, we also help our customers be mindful of where their materials come from, and how they can in turn minimize their own environmental footprints to the extent they wish.

Sweeps for CERF+: Hearts Should Overflow, Not Landfills


Did you know that all the sweeps from your bench can make a big difference in the lives of fellow artists and jewelry makers? In partnership with Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists' Emergency Resources (CERF+), the Rio Grande Sweeps for CERF program accepts sweeps from you and other jewelers as donations to help craftspeople across the United States. The sweeps from our own production work go into the effort as well and, together, make a big difference. Rather than letting your sweeps sit for years in your shop or discarding them into a landfill, please consider using them to help support craftspeople through devastating natural disasters and other emergencies.

Total donations so far: $18,972.44 learn more

Hear from just a few of the artists CERF+ has helped:

"CERF+ saved my business during a catastrophic health crisis. With their grants and loans, I was able to heal and rebuild my business into the healthy entity it is today. Can't ever thank them enough."
—Martha Bennington, Jewelry Artist; Bradenton, FL
"I am so grateful to CERF+. They provided much-needed assistance, making it possible for me to get back on track and keep my business going. CERF+ made a terrible event so much easier to handle."
—Aran Galligan, Jewelry Artist; Seattle, WA
"When you experience a traumatic event in your life and you're a self-employed craftsperson, there aren't many options available. CERF+ [was] there for me and I'll be forever grateful."
—Bonnie Blandford, Jewelry Artist; Grand Rapids, MI
How Does the Sweeps For CERF Program Work?

It's simple. Collect your sweeps and periodically send them to us; we'll take care of the rest.

  1. Place your sweeps into a plastic bag and seal it.
  2. Place the bag into a box. Please Note: Do not put anything but bagged sweeps into the box. We cannot be responsible for other items inadvertently sent to us, including scrap for credit and returned merchandise, that are packaged with your sweeps.
  3. Address your package to:
    Rio Grande
    7500 Bluewater Rd.
    Albuquerque, NM 87121
    Attention: Sweeps for CERF

All the sweeps we receive are added to our own sweeps and submitted in large lots to the refining facility. Our heartfelt thanks to our refining partner, Glines & Rhodes, who donated their services in processing your contributions.

All proceeds realized from the refining process are sent directly to CERF+ to help them in their mission to aid craft artists in need.

What Qualifies as Sweeps?

Sweeps consist of the precious-metal sweepings from the benches and floors of metalsmithing work areas. Buffing and polishing processes in the silver and electroplating industries produce cast-off materials that can be collected and combined with sweeps for refining.

Both sweeps and buffing materials contain various amounts of precious metals that can be reclaimed through refining processes.

Please Note: The value of what is reclaimed from your sweeps and buffing material will be donated directly to CERF+; however, because we collect and combine sweeps from many individuals and businesses, we are unable to provide a tax receipt or supply you with specific information about the value of your individual sweeps donation.

Find out more about CERF+.

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Toolbox Initiative

Toolbox Initiative

Conceived by jewelers Tim McCreight and Matthieu Cheminée during a trip to West Africa, the Toolbox Initiative seeks to help supply jewelers in the region with the kinds of tools that they otherwise would simply have no access to. During their visit Tim and Matthieu met and talked with highly skilled jewelers who are creating pieces of incredible elegance and creative imagination using nothing more than a few very basic tools. Back home, the two men launched the initiative to gather donated jewelry-making tools and supplies and see that they find new homes and new life in the hands of the intrepid jewelers they met. They asked for Rio's support, and we jumped at the chance to be involved. We'll ship any tools and supplies bought through Rio Grande to Tim McCreight free of charge. The generous outpouring of support from the jewelry community has been overwhelming so far. Tim and Matthieu are receiving packages with tools and other supplies regularly! Find out how to donate to The Toolbox Initiative.

Powered by the Sun…

Solar Panels Powered by the Sun

Almost everything requiring electricity at Rio Grande—from jewelry making and manufacturing equipment to lights and computers—is powered by the sun, and we're basking in the wonder of it all. How did we get here?

When we installed almost five acres of solar panels at Rio Grande's facility in New Mexico, we were the first system in the state able to generate one megawatt of energy at peak output. Mega-what? Megawatt! All that sunlight adds up to more than 1.6 million kilowatt hours' worth of electricity each year. That's leaving a lot of watts at the electric company that others can use!

Like most ideas, this one began as a flicker of a possibility. It soon developed into a full-fledged effort to install more than 5000 locally-made solar panels atop the Rio parking lot—that's the largest commercial solar array in New Mexico!

This forward thinking leads to increased efficiency and stable energy costs, while filling the need to find renewable fuel sources. It's wonderful to be a part of the solution and to use this abundant (especially in New Mexico!) natural resource to power our business—and yours.

© 2017 A Berkshire Hathaway Company. All rights reserved.