The first time Althea Cajero saw someone pull a piece of cast silver out of a cuttlefish mold, revealing a pattern of wavy lines in the metal, she was hooked. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.
Now, nearly 20 years later, she still uses cuttlebone — the chalky internal shell of the squid-like cuttlefish — as molds for casting jewelry.
Dried cuttlebone, when sanded, has a “unique, elegant texture,” she said during an interview in her home studio in this community north of Albuquerque. “It kind of looks like a fingerprint. Each pattern is different.” When molten silver or gold flows into the mold, it settles into
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