After collecting dried Cholla (pronounced "choy-ya") branches, we wash the wood and cut it into short segments for sun drying. Once dried, we shape the wood into pendants and earrings carefully to preserve the wood's natural grain and beauty. The artwork is then dipped into a co-polymer and graphite solution that seals the wood and makes the surface electrically conductive for the copper plating process.
When the graphite encased artwork is dry, a copper wire holds it in place as it is submerged into a copper plating bath. We apply an electrical current to the artwork that causes it to attract layers of copper. After several hours, we remove the piece from the copper plating bath and move it to a polishing bath where a reverse current is applied to make the finished artwork shine. Finally, we clean and coat the jewelry to preserve the finish.
We cut a CopperCholla pendant in half to show the Cholla cactus wood inside and the thick copper covering that makes each item unique and beautiful. During the electroplating process, the copper atoms follow the contours and details of the wood revealing the natural beauty that is forever preserved within the shiny copper coat. We honor nature and the natural process of life and let it guide our copper art.
Our copper crystals are produced in glass tanks and can take up to a month to grow to full size. Unlike copper plating where a smooth surface is desired, we use different chemistry and techniques to allow the natural beauty of the copper crystal structure to develop. Each piece is electro-polished to reveal the mirror like quality of the crystal's facets and sealed to retain its beauty. Like copper snowflakes, no two crystals are alike.