Thanks for the replies. I would have followed up earlier but sociology (my major) and other obligations got in the way.
Corribus, you make some interesting points, which I hadn't considered (probably due to my newbieness in chemistry). #3 I think ultimately is a matter of esthetics, especially as darkroom/chemical photography is now largely relegated to artists rather than professional/commercial photographers. It would make for an interesting print if the print would ultimately patina like raw copper, or some similar transformation.
#1 could most likely be overcome by using a copper bromide based emulsion, which, at 6.27 x 10-9, approaches that of silver chloride. Photographic papers have traditionally been made in both chloride and bromide forms, so starting with a bromide based formula would give the best chance of a workable outcome based on this factor.
#2 is the point I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around, and maybe I just need to study more general chemistry to get there. The reduction potential does seem like a significant difference, but could that be reasonable overcome with greater/more intense light exposure, either as a longer exposure time under an enlarger or, as is common with other historical processes like platinum and palladium, exposure under direct sunlight/UV light?
I did stumble upon a patent describing a photographic process using cuprous nitrate, though I haven't been able to fully digest it yet. I do think it involves using silver nitrate and copper to produce the copper(I) nitrate, and it mentioned that the silver is recovered in the process.
I am, however, going to give it a shot. I've ordered some copper nitrate and hope to play next week. All I've got to lose is a small monetary investment, and whether the experiment(s) work or not, it will be knowledge gained. If anything develops (pun sort of intended), I'll report. I'll consider success to be any sign of photosensitivity with some selectivity to form even a relatively thin image.
BTW, as far as copper jewelry goes, copper is, in fact, my favorite metal for jewelry, second only perhaps to rose gold. I just like the warm orange color better than yellow gold. Maybe that's what got me started on this idea...
Meanwhile, any other thoughts or considerations would be appreciated.