Jewelry doesn't always have to be made of silver or gold. Also other materials such as Natural rubber are ideal for the production of jewelry. But what makes natural rubber so special and what kind of material is it?
What is natural rubber?
Natural rubber comes from the so-called rubber tree. The rubber is made from the tree's plant milk, which is also known as latex or natural latex. Most of the natural rubber was originally produced in Brazil. This is where the Hevea of Brazil, the rubber tree, is native. Today rubber is mainly grown and processed in Asian countries that have a tropical climate. The natural rubber is then later made from the plant milk. This is a robust and easy-care rubber.
How is natural rubber made?
First of all, the sap of the rubber tree must be extracted for the rubber or latex production. The trunk of the tree is scratched for this. If the plant milk comes out, it must be acidified with acetic or formic acid. As a result, it coagulates and is easier to 'harvest'. With the help of sulfur, catalysts and fillers, the vegetable milk is foamed and vulcanized, which creates the natural rubber.
Rubber and the environment
The Asian tropical countries supply around 90 percent of the rubber for global production. Around 40 percent of these are suppliers of natural rubber. Synthetic rubber is always made from crude oil. Significantly more energy is used here than in the production of natural rubber.
When buying products made of latex, you should always make sure that it is natural rubber that is Fairtrade certified if possible. Unfortunately, poisonous herbicides are still used in the cultivation of rubber today and they can be harmful to health. At the same time, the herbicides ensure that the soil wakes up too much. In the event of heavy rainfall this can lead to flooding.
Fairtrade natural rubber is not only traded at fair prices. The workers on the plantations are enabled to work under humane conditions and they receive fair wages. In addition, the cultivation and extraction of natural rubber must be as environmentally friendly as possible. This is checked directly on site.
For sustainable rubber cultivation it is important to combine different plants. For example, vegetables can still be grown on the plantation. This has the advantage that the roots of the vegetables loosen the soil. In rainy seasons, the rain can seep into the ground better, which means that flooding can be specifically avoided.
Uses for natural rubber
Natural rubber is used, among other things, in the clothing and accessories industry. Shoe and shoe soles made of latex, clothing, bags, but also high-quality jewelry can be made from natural rubber.
Benefits of natural rubber
Natural rubber is a rubber that can be in viscous form as well as in the form of mats or on rolls. Due to its structure, natural rubber is easy to process with the right tools. In the case of jewelry, the manufacturing process is very complex due to the often filigree patterns.
Properties of natural rubber
Natural rubber has various positive properties that make it a suitable material for a wide variety of products, such as clothing and accessories.
The most important are:
- water repellent
- high tensile strength
- withstands strong mechanical demands
- highly elastic
- 100 percent recyclable
- renewable raw material
- can be grown in mixed cultures
- particularly sustainable
- environmentally friendly
- many uses
Natural rubber is alive
Natural rubber is a living material, but it requires little maintenance to look beautiful for many years to come. The jewelry that can be made from this extravagant material is just as lively as natural latex is. So that it stays that way for a long time, it is advisable to clean the jewelry regularly with lukewarm water. A little washing-up liquid can be used for heavy soiling.Aggressive cleaning agents such as acetone or other cleaning agents containing solvents should be avoided. Jewelry made of natural rubber should also be rubbed with a drop of oil at regular intervals so that the material retains its silky shine and does not become brittle.