Making jewellery from controversial materials – the human body

Jewellery has long been a way of wearing a reminder of loved ones, whether a piece of jewellery that has been handed down through the generations or a pendant with a child’s fingerprint. But what about some of the more controversial ways of remembering someone, a time in your child’s life or a beloved pet? Tutor Anna Campbell looks at the ways in which parts of the human (and animal) body are used in jewellery making.

Fingerprint jewellery

Fingerprint, foot print and handprint jewellery is a popular way to carry a reminder of your child or grandchild with you. It’s a lovely way to remember how tiny they once were! These are made in metal clay and if you are interested in learning how to do this we run classes in the following  Fingerprint jewellery (1 day) and Prints and drawings in metal clay (1 day).

handprint metal clay jewellery

Handprint jewellery image from LJS course

Some of our students run their own successful fingerprint jewellery businesses.

Lock of hair

Lockets have been used for centuries for keeping a lock of hair as a remembrance. But what about hair embedded in resin? The above is a resin piece made by Shpangle as a commission with horse hair embedded in it.

hair jewellery

Horse hair resin pendant by Shpangle

 

Baby teeth

It is not a new idea to use your child’s baby teeth in jewellery. It became fashionable in Victorian England to get baby teeth set in jewellery. Queen Victoria herself had multiple pieces of jewellery set with her children’s teeth, starting the trend. Often the tooth was set with coral (as above) which was believed to protect the wearer from the evil eye.

tooth set in ring

Queen Victoria’s gold and enamel brooch featuring the first tooth lost by her eldest daughter

 

Don’t want to wear the actual tooth? You can have your child’s baby tooth (or teeth) cast in sterling silver.

cast baby tooth jewellery

Cast baby tooth set in ring by Rock my World on Etsy

 

 Jackie Kaufman of Rock My World was asked to make a piece of jewellery from a tooth for an episode of HBO’s programme Girls and has since had hundreds of orders from parents.

Diamonds from ashes

Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon formed by extreme pressures and heats. Diamonds can be made from a person’s cremated ashes (or a beloved pet), hair and pet fur. There are a number of companies in the UK that specialise in this and they can make more than one diamond from the same ashes so that many members of the family can have their own memento.

 

diamond jewellery from ashes

Diamond made from cremated ashes by Heart in Diamond UK

Breast milk

Allicia Mogavero founder of Mommy Milk Creations has perfected the ability to solidify breast milk in resin. She is based in the US but has had orders from all over the world. Those that would like to order send approximately 30ml of their breast milk to her along with their order and choose from a large range of pendants, beads and rings. She also makes umbilical cord pendants.

breat milk jewellery

Breast milk resin ring from Mommy Milk Creations

 

We’ve debated whether we would want to wear these types of jewellery here at LJS but we’re curious to know what you think. Which would you wear?

2 Comments

  1. Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Where can I learn how to make breastmilk jewellery please?

  2. Sonia
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very interesting article! was aware of the creating of diamonds from ashes and felt this was a nice way of remembering and having a loved one close and of course keeping locks of hair is very common in various forms. However, I must say the thought of breast milk and Tooth in Jewellery ‘creeps’ me out a bit and wouldn’t be for me.

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