Alternative metal jewelry designer Chris Ploof recently announced that he’s made his freestanding atelier in Leominster, Mass.—which is attached to his home—a 100% solar-powered workshop. Grabbing sunbeams with a 37,000-watt array of solar panels, the studio now produces 135% of its electrical energy needs through solar power.
“We believe strongly in sustainability, limited waste, and sole authorship,” says Ploof, president and founder of Chris Ploof Designs. “We have always ethically sourced the materials and gemstones that we work with. And now our electricity is fully solar powered, producing enough energy to power our shop and our home, as well as to allow for electrical vehicle charging.”
The brand uses an array of big-energy tools and machines, including a hydraulic press, power hammer, rose engine, and water jet, to create its unique mokume gane (a Japanese metalworking method that creates a mixed-metal laminate with interesting, layered patterns), Damascus steel, and meteorite rings, which are sold in over 50 doors in the U.S. Powering them all is no small feat—but the sun can handle it!
The studio makes sense for the company, which has always been a vertical, from-scratch manufacturer. “Sole authorship,” is how Ploof describes his brand’s approach to jewelry making. That means, “We don’t buy rings that are cast and just finish and set them. We don’t buy Damascus steel made for knife making. Our mokume gane is all made by us, in house. We buy raw materials—sheets of stainless steel or precious metals—and assemble these into the actual metal we then use to create our designs.”
Because ultimately, “We believe it is the only way we can guarantee the quality and integrity of our materials and, by extension, our finished jewelry.”
Top photo: New Chris Ploof rings (all photos courtesy of Chris Ploof Designs)