The art of personalised jewellery with a person’s hair or teeth is not really new. In fact, the historically popular ones being the gold, enamel and tooth brooch belonging to Queen Victoria. In fact the British queen had an entire teeth jewellery collection. The special brooch, which included the first milk tooth lost by her eldest daughter, Victoria or fondly known as Princess Vicky. (Google Queen Victoria teeth jewellery collection to see the quirky possession.)
But this is still a quirk. On the other hand, ivory jewellery – which is highly priced – is well-known but exquisite and opulent, as well as banned across many countries as it involves animal cruelty. But with human lost teeth, there is no scope of cruelty. Instead, it’s a chance of commemorating memories.
Keeping this in mind Luxembourgian designer Lucie Majerus created the project Human Ivory, in which she turns lost teeth into beautiful jewellery for both men and women. Student of the Design Academy Eindhoven, her project was showcased at the 2016 Dutch Design week.
Majerus, on her website says, “Human Ivory proposes an egalitarian jewellery collection, where the body is being adorned by its own gem, polished from recognizable teeth into an abstract but familiar pearl shape.” So, no, stop imagining a horrific-looking tooth straight out of the mouth. Majerus bleaches and then polishes them into smooth, glossy “pearls” Mejerus told FastCo Design.
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The idea to create this unique fashion trend dawned upon her after the designer lost her a wisdom tooth. “Why wouldn’t we value our own material instead of the precious material from other species?” she said to the magazine. She fashioned a ring out of the tooth.
To continue her experiment, she requested dentists to supply her unwanted lost tooth left by patients and also received some from her teacher at the institute. She used them to make cufflinks, tie pins, ear rings, etc.
“The simple beauty of tooth pearls is accentuated by minimal addition of metals for connection and support role. The pieces play with the idea of collecting tooth pearls along your life with dismountable parts,” feels the designer.
With a deeper thought behind the project she urges, ‘human ivory’ is a way to “cherish own material”, instead of possessing materials of other species.
What started as a personal project, has now turned into a commercial venture, since she is now taking commissions and orders from people across globe so as to give them their own unique, personalised keepsakes.