Humans have always had an innate desire to adorn their bodies with jewelry, whether with shiny gemstones, animal teeth or even shells. Besides mainstream jewelry, there are more than a few odd ones making the rounds – ones that will have you scrunching up your face in confusion, disgust or maybe both. But you might just find yourself intrigued by it. Here are five pieces of jewelry that you’ll definitely think twice about wearing.
1. Live Insects
During the Victorian Era, people revolted against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by wearing insects as a sort of tribute. This was the case when a young Englishwoman became enamored with the brightly colored beetles and butterflies in Brazil, claiming they were more beautiful than anything she had ever seen. The trend quickly caught on and people started incorporating beetle exoskeletons in their broaches, earrings, rings and pins. They even took it a step further by putting live insects, sometimes covered in rhinestones, in delicate cages. As you can imagine, this led to the extinction of many of these species.
April Hale, a long-time vegan and jewelry designer, made it her duty to make the most of a squirrel she accidentally ran over. So what did she do? Called her friend to cook – and yes eat – the roadkill. Since then, Hale has been giving dead animals new life in the form of jewelry. She skins and cleans them, then transforms them (the fur and bones) into fashionable necklaces and the like. As a committed vegan, she refuses to use animals that have been killed for food, just the ones who met untimely deaths.
3. Human Teeth
This one’s a pretty old practice – there’s evidence of it going all the way back to a Neolithic settlement some 9,000 years ago. They were even used by Queen Victoria, who was the proud owner of an enamel brooch that contained one of the baby teeth of one of her many children. Today, there are huge collections of human teeth jewelry, one source is by Melbourne-based jewelry designer Polly Van Der Glas. If you can’t get in touch with her, then there are over 790 listings on Etsy for human teeth jewelry to choose from.
Gallstones are the hardened deposits of the digestive fluid in the gallbladder that can be as small as a grain of rice or as large as a golf ball. Some people only get a handful of them, while there are an unlucky few who have hundreds of them. Such was the case for a lady who had to have an astounding 300 gallstones removed. A staff member took it upon themself to design a matching necklace, earrings, nose rings and a bracelet for her. The patient took this design to a local bead store to have her masterpiece created. The store owner shared his story on social media and commented that the smell from drilling holes into the stones was not very pleasant.
5. Contact Lenses
If you’re a contact lens wearer, then there’s an ingenious way to make the most of your old, unwanted ones. There’s a Dutch artist and designer named Eric Klarenbeek who combines the lenses with a string of tiny crystals and diamonds to create “eye jewelry” that resembles suspended tears that dangle from the irises. In the event that someone were to somehow yank on the jewelry, Klarenbeek said that the worst case scenario is that the wire might break. Let’s just hope no one loses their eye in the process!
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