Campito is derived from the Spanish word "campo" meaning "field" or "countryside". Mined in Mexico from the Pino Chueco and Cananea mines in Sonora, Campitos is a favorite for jewelry artisans. Campitos is unique in several ways. It grows in clay as free-form nuggets, rather than in veins which is typical of many North American turquoises. Its color closely resembles that of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and ranges from a light to medium blue with no matrix. Occasionally you may find pyrite inclusions, which give it a little bit of sparkle.
A traditional process using natural materials, tufa stone casting became a popular technique amongst Native silversmiths sometime in the late 1870's. Tufa stone -which is found within the Navajo reservations- is a porous, compressed volcanic ash. To begin this casting process a large stone is gathered and then split in half. To prepare the stone for casting the artist must first smooth it out before carving their design on the inside surfaces of the stone. After heating the stone to allow carbonization the two halves are then bound together. Molten metal is then poured into the mold via a sprue hole that was carved into the stop during the preparation process. Once the metal has cooled and hardened it is removed from the mold, sanded, cleaned and then shaped into its finished form. Due to the fragile nature of tufa stone, most molds only last for one casting which makes the designs both unique and collectible.
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