The art of making personalised jewellery using human hair or teeth goes deep down in history. But what Luxembourgian designer Lucie Majerus has created is still quirky. Keeping in mind that the exquisite and opulent ivory jewellery has been banned in many countries due to the animal cruelty involved, she has done a project on Human ivory in which she turned her own wisdom teeth into beautiful pieces of ornaments. And with human teeth lost, there is not even a slight scope of cruelty, in fact, it is a chance of commemorating the memories.
She got this idea when she went on to remove her wisdom teeth and did not go well with the idea disposing them. She said, “Why wouldn’t we value our own material instead of the precious material from other species?” she rhetorically asks. “In opposition to materialistic values, “Human Ivory” acts metaphorically for having our own value in ourselves. A suggestion to cherish our own “Material” instead of other species’ teeth and reconsider conventional preciousness. What if we mine our own ivory and turn it into pearls?”
After she successfully created the ring using her own teeth, she required to have more of them which is why she asked her dentist to let her have the unwanted teeth that are removed from people. She even got two of her teachers at the design academy to give her their removed wisdom teeth.
Majerus wrote on her website, “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.” She first bleaches the extracted pieces of teeth, then polishes them using a stone polishing machine and moulds into different shapes using the same. According to her experiment, molars are thick enough to be shaped into pearls, while incisors and canines are turned into tear-like pieces.
She even displayed her Human Ivory jewellery collection at this year’s Dutch Design Week and got a much positive result than expected. “Surprisingly, most people did not creep out by the sight of the jewellery, but really like the idea. Some regret that they didn’t keep their tooth at the dentist and some, who will have teeth taken out soon, are now looking forward to it.”