“Being unique and one-of-a-kind not only means that the pieces you own come from real leaves, seeds or driftwood; it means that as you use the pieces and develop a relationship with them, new colors and patinas start to emerge making the piece uniquely yours—part of your history and your life.” So says Colombian-based jeweler Clara Saldarriaga of the nature-done-better pieces she creates by dipping local flora and fauna into electrolytic copper that’s then plated with 24k gold or sterling silver, effectively extending the life cycle of a plant or flower from a single season to the wearer’s lifetime—and beyond.
(The collection’s better known wearers include Cameron Diaz, Donna Karan and Lauren Bush.) “I work with ancestral techniques that allow me to fix and frame the impermanent aspects of nature thanks to the alchemistic nature of the metals,” explains Saldarriaga of her creative process—and her technically complicated, proprietary technique—which seeks to freeze time in a most beautiful way. In fact, Saldarriaga's collection was born when she was walking with her daughter and a single leaf fell from a tree onto her arm. She wished to capture the moment for posterity, something she now accomplishes with every piece she creates.