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Britannia Mine Museum's annual Copper and Fire Arts event returns on Sept. 18

‘Copper is an ancient metal, and people have been working copper from the beginning of time,’ jewelry designer Hazel Cruse.
Jewelry designer Hazel Cruse takes inspiration for her contemporary pieces from ancient times. 

"Ancient peoples made very precise and beautiful things, but then when it has been buried in the ground for a thousand years, it has a different look to it — that is how my stuff looks, I think," she said. 

Cruse is one of the artists whose work will be on display and for sale at the Britannia Mine Museum's annual Copper and Fire Arts event on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

"I love the look of copper," she said. "Copper is an ancient metal, and people have been working copper from the beginning of time." 

Her signature copper bracelet first began when she bought from a fellow who had salvaged copper from the core of some sort of insulator.

"He set the whole thing on fire to burn off the old insulator and had all this copper. Over a few years, I thought I would buy all of it," she said.

For the Britannia Mine event, she will bring a torch and a braising pan to show folks how the jewelry is crafted. 

"With copper, you have to always use another solder, like silver, to hold it together," she explained. 

Cruse will be selling an assortment of bracelets, bangles, wristlets, earrings and a variety of other items, some of which she hasn't quite decided on yet, she said. 

She began making jewelry as "a young hippie," she said. 

"I started off as a bead-stringer. I had friends — one in particular — who lived and travelled extensively in North India and was bringing back real Tibetan things and real goulimine beads when they went to Morocco," she recalled. "I was exposed to ancient things and the craftsmanship and how things were traded."

She has taken various jewelry-smithing and jewelry-making courses over the years, she said. 

Through the regularly scheduled Tucson, Arizona Gem, Mineral and Fossil show, she was exposed to "everything in the whole wide world” to do with jewelry.

She crisscrossed the U.S. with vendors 13 times, she said, learning to be an artisan vendor. 

"The Copper and Fire Arts event is our annual community event where we celebrate the arts and where visitors can come experience and see for themselves the unique and creative ways minerals from the Earth can be showcased through art," said Elena Whitman, manager of guest services at the museum, in a news release. "It is inspiring to see how these gifted artists can transform and create such beautiful and compelling art pieces, and it's a special way to see how we are all connected to mining." 

Other artists who will be at the event are:  Ailsa BrownAngela MuellersJim Unger and Martin Vseticka.

Advance tickets are recommended. 

Go to for more information and tickets. 

There are discounted tickets if visitors only want to check out the event (under "special events" in the online ticket booking system), and regular admissions for those who want to tour the museum.