June 1, 2016
This is a fascinating little piece of US manufacturing history— Fordite is the popular name for these beautiful “stones.” They are the upcycled waste from the old painting process for cars on the Detroit assembly lines. The enamel paint runoff would drip down under the grates in the floors and collect in layers. Factory workers would chip it off the equipment and, seeing the beautiful striations of color, keep them as souvenirs. Now it’s a highly sought-after raw material for jewelry designers. Crafters and DIY-fans alike love the rich, colorful, and sometimes sparkly patterns the layers of paint create.
Also called Detroit Agate, these strange hunks of enamel come in many different colorways.
We here at Planet Green can really get behind the idea of turning an unfortunate byproduct of industrial manufacturing into something prized and beautiful. We wish this kind of waste never happened in the first place, but if it had to have happened, at least it can find a new life. Nowadays, the process is more automated and much tidier and the runoff that caused these deposits to form doesn’t happen. But they are a reminder that we can always find ways to do things a little better, a little cleaner. And if we don’t, we are clever enough to find a use for something that seemed like it had no value.
Have you ever seen a piece of Fordite? Would you wear it as jewelry? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks Danny Nicholson for the lead photo