Why kill elephants for the sake of their ivory when we can use something we have much easier access to, like human teeth, instead?
When you first look at these beautiful pearl earrings, you can't imagine the truly disturbing material they are made of: TEETH! The creator's own wisdom teeth.
After she got her wisdom teeth removed, Lucie Majerus decided to try working with an unusual material: human teeth. She creates designer jewellery with this interesting alternative, and although it might gross out a few people, at least it'll get them thinking.
'While researching abundant and scarce materials, I was intrigued by the amount of meat industry waste and the lack of ivory. Not only elephants have teeth, but what happens to cow and pig teeth? Why don’t we value other teeth as well? When I lost my own wisdom teeth, I kept them and came up with the idea of Human Ivory. Why wouldn’t we value our own material instead of seeking precious material from other species? How can I as a designer give value to human teeth outside of their initial context the mouth? All my process was written down in my Bachelor Thesis “Human Ivory”.'
Majerus explains that whilst teeth are the hardest part of the human body, they’re also softer than stones. And as they’re so small, a lot of patience and attention to detail is required to work with them.
Some people have expressed interest in commemorating dead loved ones by turning their teeth into jewellery. Majerus, however, isn’t so keen: 'Personally I wouldn't appreciate having my grandparents' teeth extracted after their death and turned into jewellery.'
'However, if my grandmother had lost her teeth during her life and I could have made it into a ring, I would definitely wear it'