Powers completed "California," originally entitled "La Dorado," from 1850 to 1855 in his Florence studio. Inspired by the California Gold Rush of 1849, Powers devised the following program for this allegorical figure: ". . . an Indian woman . . . stands in a reserved and guarded posture and with a watchful expression, holding the divining rod in her left, and pointing with it down to the earth, under a large quartz crystal, which supports the figure on the right. Quartz is the matrix of gold and the divining rod is the miner's wand, or the sceptre of 'California' . . . In the right hand, which is held behind, there is a branch of thorns, to finish the allegory for she is the miner's goddess, or 'Fortune,' and as it is usual to represent the Goddess 'Fortune' with good in one hand and evil in the other, by suitable emblems I have done so with 'California,' and the moral is that all is not gold that glitters. . . ." Executed in marble for William B. Astor, "California" was the first sculpture by an American artist to enter the Metropolitan's collection.