Image by Victor

Electroforming

What It Is and How It Works

Electroforming, also known as electroplating, is a process in which a particular metal is grown onto an object. Since I am very interested in creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that are high quality and durable, I was naturally drawn to this method. 

 

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The Crystal Mermaid workshop: where the magic happens!

First I handpick the central shell or stone and then begin the design process, thinking of ways to use the structure of the ring to accentuate the qualities of the natural material.

Rings are constructed from various materials, some are painted with conductive materials and/or heat treated and must dry and cool before being bathed.

 

A special electricity conducting liquid solution is prepared (the "bath") and hooked up to a live electric current ("cathode") that completes a circuit by running through a source of copper ("anode"), which is submerged in the bath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, our piece that we wish to grow copper onto is suspended inside. Atom by atom, the source copper is pulled onto the piece, growing in organic shapes that can be controlled by adjusting the electrical current. Time in the bath depends on what is desired of the piece - the longer it stays in the more copper will grow.

 

 

 

 

Then the pieces are pulled out and put through another examination to make sure everything went well, put into the bath again if needed, and then finishing details and sealants are applied. 

                                   

 

 

                                        And now finally we have our finished piece 

                                        ready to go to its new home!

Bonus Picture: this is Labradorite, my workshop buddy and top notch quality control consultant. He's inspired many pieces!

Conductive bath with waiting rings. Plants are not necessary, but are a nice touch :)

Image by Gerson Repreza