Geology --> Jewelry

My name's Erika and I was born and raised in Rhode Island. My seaside upbringing sparked a curiosity for the Earth and ocean sciences, leading me to study geology and land a job working for an underwater research company.

While still in school, I spent quite a bit of time in the lab unlocking the mysteries of rocks and minerals. My classmates and I learned methods of mineral identification, memorized their chemical formulas, and sought to conceptualize their internal structures, as well as the conditions under which they formed. Though I was enthralled by what I was learning, the course content could get a little heavy, and during many late-night study sessions, my mind would wander. I would gaze at the crystal specimens lined up along lab tables, forgetting about my impending final exam, and begin to see them as pendants, cuff bracelets, and stud earrings.

By the time I left school, I had amassed a personal collection of rocks, minerals, fossils, sea shells, and sand samples. As I sorted through my collection, I couldn't shake the urge to make jewelry out of my favorite finds. I wondered if the stones traditionally used in jewelry really needed to be so extensively cut and polished when they were already so fascinatingly gorgeous in their natural, raw states, altered only by the Earth.

After spending a few months researching jewelry-making techniques, I came across electroforming, which is a process that allows for copper particles to slowly accumulate onto a non-conductive surface by means of a special conductive paint. After a sufficient amount of copper encompasses a piece, it is then de-burred, polished, and sealed with a jeweler's wax. I love electroforming because it allows me to be a scientist and an artist all at once. Each new design is like its own experiment! I was thrilled to have found a way to showcase rough stones in a way that highlighted their raw qualities and imperfections.
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