Although we’ve seen plenty of furniture and housewares made out of recycled cork, we were pleasantly surprised to come across Studio 1am’s recycled cork jewelry. Who knew that cork could make such a good material for personal accessories? It makes sense – cork is flexible, soft and very tactile.

The cork in the Cork Cuff comes from the wine bottling industry. Discarded corks are ground up and formed into blocks using environmentally-friendly adhesives. Designer Donna Piacenza then cuts each cuff from a single block of cork, which can then be used to store the jewelry, or simply as a display piece, with a beautiful ‘C’ shape hollowed out where the cuff fits.

The idea for including the block of cork as part of the whole piece stems from Piacenza’s regard for jewelry as a continuously interactive object. So often we leave our accessories entangled in boxes or hidden in the back of our closets. Displaying the Cork Cuff in its own block not only distinguishes it from other accessories, but also makes it a conversation piece even when you’re not wearing it.

We rarely see cork in products that venture beyond the realm of basic utility, such as bottle stoppers, bulletin boards and flooring. Studio 1am’s innovative uses for cork demonstrate that this renewable, recyclable, and flexible material has potential as a functional artistic medium.