Patti Orozco Casarea and Enrique Urincho
Hand-crafted Copper Jewelry
Patti Orozco Casares, 37 years old, and her husband, Enrique Urincho, 36 years old, live and creates her incredible and unique copper jewelry in the town of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, famous for its copper. Now 37 years old, she and her husband, Enrique Urincho, have two children and have been working in copper for the last 15 years.
Patti is self-taught and says her designs come from her imagination and forms in nature that capture her attention. Her copper jewelry has a rich, earthy look to it. Her jewelry is so light you can hardly tell you have it on. She purchases sheets and/or tubing of copper and hammers it into the desired shape and also uses copper wire to make the chains, beads of different sizes and shapes, and clasps of her creations. Some of the beads are coated with an enamel to preserve copper's natural glow.
Patti has grown up around copper, as her pueblo, Santa Clara del Cobre, is known far and wide for its copper production — the noble metal. The Tarascan Indians of this area were known for their copper work and Patti takes many of her designs from their history.
Copper was the first metal mined and crafted by man, and has been the most important one in the oldest times of history, because it was available in great quantities and was initially extractable almost at the surface of ground. In addition, it was suitable to craft weapons and tools, art objects and ornaments.
Copper, named from the Roman supply source on the Island of Cyprus, was the first metal discovered by pre-historic man between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago. It is the oldest mined mineral.
Copper beads dating to 9000 BC have been discovered in parts of modern day Iraq. Methods for removing copper from the ore were established around 5000 BC. The first copper works were made by cutting, curving and hammering with a stone stroker on a stone anvil.
The old blacksmiths made an important discovery: metal hardens under prolonged hammering, but can be brought back to its initial form by heating (re-cooking process) with no change in shape. Many ancient objects were manufactured through alternate cycles of hammering and cooking, with a final hammering to obtain the necessary hardness.
In antiquity, the metal art objects were made by the blacksmith, who utilized as raw material tin metal foils, to be crafted with various techniques. For example, the simplest way to obtain a copper bowl consisted in hammering a tin copper disc placed on a wooden block hollowed to fit the profile of the required object. This is the most ancient method to manufacture bowls, dating back to the pre-dynastic age of Babilonia and Egypt.Another technique was known as "raising": a tin copper disc, having the same diameter as the pot to be obtained, was hammered to get the required shaped, using an anvil and a suitable hammer.
A method that became very popular is the embossing: hammering the metal foil upside or downside, to obtain an embossed decoration. Ancient craftsmen were masters of the mechanical methods, and also had a great control on raw material during crafting. For example, they had an excellent mastery of quenching, needed to keep the metal ductile and fit for crafting.
Copper continued to be used mainly for household objects. Working techniques remained almost unchanged over the centuries, while the shapes were continuously improved to fit with the evolution of lifestyle. Its properties, discovered and appreciated by our ancient ancestors, are still valid today.
Wealthy Egyptians wore copper jewelry and clothing with copper alloy fittings. Copper became an important part of the medical, religious and spiritual rituals of Egyptian life, such as mummification. Copper instruments were used during preparation of the mummy, and copper jewelry amulets were used during the reading from the Book of the Dead.
Copper's use in pre-Columbian America happened about the same time Egyptians were mining natural copper. The earliest copper items found in this area are beads and earrings. Prehistoric Indians, or Ancient Native Americans, also placed value and status on jewelry. Copper jewelry has been found in archaeological digs.Early Indian metalwork consisted of hammered and etched copper pendants and earrings, and formed copper beads. Later Native Americans saw the value of jewelry and traded copper bracelets with the Europeans.
From as early as Ancient Egypt, people have believed that copper jewelry has special qualities that improve or protect the health of the wearer. These beliefs may be partly based on copper's physical composition and conducting properties. New Age Healers believe copper stimulates the mental and psychic flow of energy, as well as the energy between the working parts of the human anatomy.
Healing Properties of Copper Jewelry Overcomes:
At least a trace of copper is found in practically every piece of modern jewelry made today. It is an alloy of sterling silver, gold, and pewter. Though modern healers value it for its healing properties, it will always be admired for its beauty.