Artist with Background in Criminology Turns Bones into High-End Jewelry

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Artist Kirstin Bunyard has managed to blend her two great passions – fashion and dissection – into a morbid yet intriguing art form. Kirstin makes high-end, elegant jewelry (rings, bracelets and necklaces) using natural bones. In 2009, she started her own label called Ossuaria Jewelry, through which she sells her handmade accessories. She personally selects the bones for each piece and fashions them by hand to create ‘bold and dramatic adornments’ that are meant for ‘people with a bit of an eccentric side’.

Kirstin has a background in criminology, but she was always interested in fashion as well. “From the time I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer,” she said. Her dream was to ‘take on the world of punk culture and high fashion’. She sketched all the time, waiting for the day when her creations would be displayed on the runway. But by the time she got to college, her life had taken a different course.

After college, Kirstin worked for a short while as an autopsy assistant and attended several autopsies and embalmings. During this time she developed a great admiration for bones – the structures that support the body. She found them so elegant and alluring that she began to believe that they deserved a more prominent place outside the body. That’s when she seriously began to consider shifting her line of work.

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Jeweler Born with No Fingers Creates Masterpieces Worth Thousands of Dollars

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For a person born without fingers, 48-year-old Annette Gabbedey has the most unusual job – she is one of Britain’s most talented jewelry designers and an expert goldsmith. It is surprising that she doesn’t even use special tools to help her work around her condition. Instead, she adapts conventional crafting devices to make the most dazzling and intricate ornaments.

Because she has never had fingers, Annette says that she doesn’t feel like anything is missing. In fact she prefers it this way, insisting that she is not disabled. “I tend to look at people with fingers and think well how can you manage with fingers because they must get in the way,” she said. “It is just your own perception of how you look at yourself and for me I was born like it and I have never known anything different.”

Annette-Gabbedey

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English Artist Creates Expensive Broaches Inspired by Pigeon Droppings

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Pigeon droppings may be smelly and disgusting, but did you know they could also be an inspiration for jewelry? Don’t worry, no one’s actually putting droppings in jewelry. But an English artist is making broaches that resemble the shape, size and color of pigeon poo.

30-year-old Frances Wadsworth-Jones, from Ealing, West London, has created a new line of broaches called ‘Heaven Sent’. Each piece in the collection is made from crushed semi-precious and precious gems like black diamonds, sapphires and tourmaline. The gems are set together in imitation of splattered pigeon droppings.

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French Artist Gives Insect Larvae the Chance to Make Their Own Jewelry

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French artist Hubert Duprat supplies Caddisfly larvae with precious materials like gold flakes, opal, turquoise, rubies, and pearls which they use to build protective casings which can be strung and worn as unique pieces of jewelry.

Caddisfly larvae live in rivers and streams, where they collect natural materials like gravel, sand, twigs and just about anything else they can carry to build elaborate armors that provide protection from various threats. The larvae glue all the debris with silk excreted through salivary glands located near their mouths. Using this knowledge, Hubert Duprat places the Caddisfly larvae in climate-controlled tanks and replaces their usual building supplies with precious and semi-precious materials and lets nature take its course. This unique collaboration between art and nature yields impressive results in the form of one-of-a-kind gilded sculptures that sometimes look a lot better than some designer jewels. The French artist views his intriguing project as a collaborative effort, and says “it is their work as much as it is mine”.

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Designer Covers $500,000 Gold Ring with a Piece of His Own Skin

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The Forget Me Knot gold ring created by Icelandic fashion designer Sruli Recht is not your usual piece of luxury jewelry. The artist had a strip of his own skin surgically removed and mounted on a 24-karat-gold band.

We’ve featured some pretty bizarre jewelry on Oddity Central in the past, like the human-bone accessories of Columbine Phoenix, the finger and toe nail-clipping jewels of Rachel Betty Case, or the human hair necklaces of Kerry Howley, but Sruli Recht has managed to one up them all with his human skin ring. The eccentric designer shocked everyone when he decided to undergo surgery and have a strip of skin removed from his abdomen, to use on his very unique Forget Me Knot ring. After the operation, the 110 by 10 millimeters piece of skin, with the hair still intact, was salted and tanned before being mounted on the gold piece of jewelry. You can own this little part of Sruli Recht for the “small” price of €350,000.

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Maquech Beetles – Mexico’s Controversial Living Breathing Jewelry

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The Maquech Beetle can make any nature lover or animal rights activist scream in horror. Entomophobics (creepy-crawly-haters) would probably run as far away as possible from this kind of jewelry, and for good reason, as every Maquech is actually a live bejeweled insect. As hard as it may be to even conceive wearing bugs as accessories, they are something of a fashion statement in Mexico.

I kid you not, just watching a video of the Maquech brooch is giving me the jitters. I don’t get how people can stand it on their bodies, but jewelry enthusiasts in Mexico have been flocking at stores to buy these ‘pet-cessories’ since the 1980s. The brooch is actually a part of a centuries-old Mayan tradition of decorating wingless beetles from the Yucatan Peninsula. Gemstones and gold are glued on the beetle’s body which sounds like a cruel process which has been denounced by animal activists in the past. The insects themselves are pretty harmless and docile, quite perfect to play the part of living jewelry. Each one has a decorative safety pin attached to it with a 2-inch-long chain leash. When pinned to clothing, the beetles can wander around, but can never get away.

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Gold and Jewelry Make World’s Cheapest Car One of the Most Expensive

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A Tata Nano, which usually sells for $3,000 has been converted into one of the most expensive cars in the world, after it’s been plastered with $4.6 million worth of gold and jewelry.

The Nano was a welcome innovation designed to bring affordable transportation to Indian masses, and though it may not have all the features we’ve grown accustomed to in the western world, the tiny car achieved its goal. But there is nothing affordable about Tata’s latest publicity stunt for the Nano – they’ve teamed up with Titan Industry-owned Goldplus jewelry chain and decided to create the most expensive Tata Nano ever. After covering it with kilograms of gold, silver and jewelry, the price of the world’s cheapest car went from $3,000 to $4.6 million. Now that’s quite a makeover.

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Designer Makes Jewelry from Real Human Bones

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Columbine Phoenix is a talented jeweler with a taste for the macabre. She makes unique jewelry from human bones collected from medical schools and museums.

We’ve covered some pretty bizarre jewelry collections in the past, some were made from insects, others from nail clippings, and even human hair, but Columbine’s “Churchyard” line is the weirdest one yet. She uses various human bones donated for educational purposes and transforms them into unique pieces of jewelry that actually celebrate life rather than death. “Death is a part of life” the designer says in an interview with Vice Style “You can’t die unless you’re alive, and if we weren’t going to die eventually, a whole lot of us would never get around to living.” Strangely enough, that makes sense.

As a child, Columbine Phoenix loved shiny things, and she remembers playing pirates with her brother by stealing her grandmother’s rhinestone button collection from each other. Later she tried making embroidery-floss friendship bracelets and seed beads woven on a loom, but quickly lost interest in things everyone else was doing. She started making jewels from seashells, feathers and other stuff provided by nature, and when a friend from medical school asked her if she wanted to buy some small human bones for her work, she decided to give it a shot. His department was consolidating the bone collection and when he showed them to her for the first time, she knew they were just perfect. Human ivory she called them.

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Jeweler Immortalizes Pet Snouts and Paws into Fashion Accessories

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Jewel artist Jackie Kaufman has sniffed out a way to help pet owners keep they’re beloved companions close even after they’ve left this world. She creates beautiful sterling silver jewelry based on molds of animal snouts and paws.

Jackie creates all kinds of beautiful accessories, all of which you can see at her Etsy shop, but she’s best known for her unique series of animal mold pieces. She got the idea after she was approached by a client who owned a terminally ill dog, and has been creating them ever since. First, Jackie sends her clients special molds with which they can take highly detailed impressions of their animal’s noses and paws, and when she receives them she hand-casts them in sterling silver rings, pendants, bracelets and other accessories. The pet’s name or a special message can also be engraved on the back.

Owning such unusual jewelry is definitely a sign of love for your pet, but how does one get a dog or cat to wear a mold on its nose, even for a short while? My dog barely lets me touch his nose, let alone grab it and cover it with something. And how does the animal breathe when his nose is covered?

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Art Student Creates Hair Raising Necklaces from Human Hair

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Kerry Howley, a creative art student, from Cambridge, England, is creating quite a buzz in the art world, with her collection of delicate necklaces made from human hair.

The idea of creating jewelry from human hair was inspired by people’s aversion to cut hair. Hair is usually regarded as a very important part of the human body and is worn with pride, but once its connection to the body has been severed, it’s viewed as slightly disgusting. Through her art, the young Middlesex student “hoped to create a delicate balance between the viewer/wearer’s feelings of aversion and attraction.” She wanted to see if she could make cut hair attractive again.

The main material for Howley’s masterpieces was provided by one of her mother’s friends, a Japanese woman with hair down to her waist. She only cuts it once every five years, and when she had 30 cm cut off the bottom, she gave it all to Kerry. The 23-year-old art student used broken saw blades to cut and weave the strands of hair into abstract shapes inspired by wallpaper patterns, and spent over 60 hours working on each of the five hair necklaces she has created so far.

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Man Makes a Living Scraping the Sidewalk for Gold and Diamonds

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Believe it or not, the streets of New York really are paved with gold, but you have to get down and dirty to get your hands on it. For urban prospector Raffi Stephanian this isn’t an issue, just a great way to pay the bills.

Using only a Styrofoam cup, a butter knife and tweezers, 43-year-old Raffi scours the streets of New York’s Diamond District searching for gold, diamonds and other precious jewels. You’ve probably walked on 47th Street countless times and didn’t realize the riches that were right there in front of you, but don’t beat yourself up about it, Raffi was probably the only one who ever thought there was something valuable on the sidewalk. And that only because he worked as a stone setter, years ago, when he found gold scraps on the floor of a diamond exchange. He realized if he could find gold inside, then people must have carried it outside, as well.

The gold and precious stones industry is a hectic one, and you can see people running from one shop to the other, from a diamond supplier to a diamond dealer, and so on, and in the process, they drop tiny valuables without even realizing it. Most of the fragments found by Raffi Stephanian were carried into the streets by diamond merchants who accidentally picked them up on their clothes or on the soles of their shoes. He also finds platinum chips, loops from broken necklaces, watches or bracelets, all of which were dropped by mistake.

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Pimple Popper Ring Is One Disgusting Piece of Jewelry

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I’ve seen some pretty bizarre jewelry since I started writing for OC, from rings made from human teeth and hair, to insect accessories, but this Pimple Popper ring is the most disgusting one yet.

For reasons I cannot understand, some people just love to pop pimples, and Etsy user Winona Johnson is one of these crazy types. Disgusting as it may sound, she admits to popping zits, pimples, black heads, white heads, for pure pleasure and this gave her the idea for this unique Pimple Popper Ring. Made of sterling silver, copper, enamel and a white pearl, this bizarre piece of jewelry is one of the grossest pimple recreations I’ve ever laid eyes upon, and it’s just the first piece of a skin related jewelry set. Who knows what “wonders” Winona will create next, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see stuff like a wort necklace or bunion brooch.

If you’re big on pimple popping, you can buy the Pimple Popper ring for $163.

 

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Cancer Survivor Makes Drug Jewelry to Pay off Medical Debt

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Susan Braig, a 61-year-old cancer survivor from Altadena, California, began making jewelry from medication as a form of therapy, but now sells her creations to pay her medical bills.

Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy in 2004. She remembers she bought her first round of medicine our of her own pocket; it cost her $500 and looking at the little pills she got for that much money, it made her wonder if they were little gems. But the idea of actually using medication as jewelry came to Susan Braig in 2007, when she participated in a medical-themed art exhibition organized by the NewTown Pasadena Foundation. She decided to create a mock Tiffany & Co. jewelry advertisement for the exhibition, using different kinds of pills as diamonds, rubies and emeralds, but she eventually ended up making a princess’ tiara encrusted with her leftover cancer pills, as well as several other pieces. They were a hit, and many show-goers told Susan she should open her own jewelry line.

Now, seven years after starting her treatment, Susan Braig is cancer-free and running her own jewelry line, called designer Drug Jewelry. Friends and fellow cancer survivors donate their own old and leftover medicine, and she uses them to create colorful accessories priced between $15 and $150. She sells them at craft shows, where she wears a white medical robe, and is considering distributing them to hospital gift shops. The pills used for the over 500 pieces she designed so far are coated with a sealant and glued to the costume jewelry, to make them “non-abusable” as she says. The jewels come in an ordinary pill bottle, wrapped in a ribbon and placed in small bags made from surgical face masks.

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Jewelry Collector Creates World’s Most Expensive Mona Lisa Painting

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A Chinese jewelry collector, who probably had more money that he could spend, has created a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” with 100,000 carats of jewelry.

Many artists have tried to replicate da Vinci’s masterpiece out all kinds of unusual materials, from coffee cups, to pieces of toast and even motherboard components, but no one has ever create an extravagant a replica like this jewel Mona Lisa. The name of the artist is unknown, all that’s been revealed is that he’s a jewelry collector who has spent the last five years working on this one-of-a-kind jewelry painting and the last 30 years collecting all the necessary raw gem stones. The thousands of jewels used ad up to an impressive 100,000 carats.

This bedazzled replica of the Mona Lisa is currently on display in a shopping mall in Shenyang City, China.

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Artist Turns Insects into Fashionable Pieces of Jewelry

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The “Living Jewels” created by Etsy artist aquakej are made from real colorful insects collected from all around the world.

Insect art is definitely not for everyone, but if the mere thought of bugs doesn’t make your skin crawl, you might actually consider wearing one of these unusual accessories. The Insects come from various insect farms that provide a healthy and eco-friendly living for people in developing countries, so you don’t have to feel guilty about wearing insect species into extinction.

Here’s what aquakej has to say about her rather creepy collection of insect jewelry:

Insect Art is made of real insects from around the world. They come to me dried out and all folded up. I re-hydrate them to make them flexible again, and then spread them out on a styrofoam board with sewing pins and little strips of paper. I do not put any pins through the bodies of my insects; I like them natural-looking and lifelike. This makes the insects a bit more difficult to handle, but the end result is worth it. Lastly, I choose an art background for the shadowbox frame and glue the insects onto that. The whole process takes several days, and each end result is unique.

Unique is right, but I’m not sure I’d willingly have these creepy crawlies on my body, but if you like them, you can check the artist’s shop and official site.

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