Chris and Sandy Boothe met in high school in Maryland in the late 1960’s. Two and 1/2 years later, in 1970, they were married in Rock Creek Park, in Washington, D.C. A nine-month “honeymoon” in Europe and North Africa brought them adventure, hard times, and their first crafts sales on the island of Hydra in Greece where they sold their leather goods to tourists and resident poet Leonard Cohen. After their return to the U.S., Chris turned back to jewelry-making which he had begun during his senior year in high school.
During another trip with Sandy to South America in 1972-73, he developed his gold- and silver-smithing skills and made his first substantial sales to members of the U.S. Foreign Service community in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He continued to free-lance back in the U.S. until he and a friend opened the Wedding Ring Store in Washington, D.C., which they operated from 1976-82. During that period, the two learned about titanium jewelry via a week-end workshop and developed their first designs. In 1982, the partnership dissolved and Chris kept the titanium half of the business.
Sandy earned a B.A. from Barnard College in 1979. She worked for Congressional Information Service in Bethesda, MD, for 5 years where her last position was managing editor of the Index to the Code of Federal Regulations. In 1985 she began collaborating on jewelry with Chris and traveling with him to art shows around the country. After visiting Arizona in August, 1989, Chris and Sandy moved from Maryland with their children, Ivan and Camille, to their new home in Clarkdale, AZ, arriving the last day of 1989.
In 1991, Chris milled his first titanium wedding ring and he and Sandy designed new ring designs over the next several years. In 2005 Chris and Sandy developed innovative titanium wall art, combining digital photography with techniques used in making their jewelry. Their wedding rings are sold at Aurum Gallery in Jerome and on the website created by their son, Ivan, at www.ringsforever.com. Their other jewelry, wall art, and photography is sold at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery and at Made in Clarkdale venues.
The metals they use in their jewelry and wall art are niobium and titanium and the coloring process is known as anodizing. During anodizing, the metal is immersed into an electrolytic bath through which an electric current is passed, causing an oxide layer to form on the surface of the metal. Light striking the surface of the oxide layer and the metal below will result in two refracted light rays which reinforce each other and produce different colors depending on the thickness of the oxide layer. This phenomenon, called optical interference, is responsible for holographic images and the iridescent colors in butterfly wings and oil slicks. The colors are called interference colors and were first described by Isaac Newton in the 1670’s.
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