This story first appeared in the August 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Bone Collectors
It’s a slightly macabre moment for several emerging jewelry designers who prefer anatomical elements to glitzy gems. True, the skull-and bone trend has been around and continues to thrive—see Luis Morais’ glammed-up wares. But Pamela Love and Lady Grey’s Sabine Le Guyader and Jill Martinelli take the motif a step further by casting actual remains—human teeth—in gold, silver and bronze. Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons’ Derrick Cruz, meanwhile, offers an ashtray from human jaw cast in gold. Love works with claws, bird skulls and teeth, all of which she finds “spiritual,” while Martinelli and Le Guyader, both of whom worked in dental offices as teenagers, bonded over their fascination with teeth as students at the Massachusetts College of Art. Still, they’ve branched out: Their most recent work includes a bib necklace of cast mink bones. “In some of Prague’s old ossuaries from the 1800s, they built huge chandeliers out of human skeletons. The arrangements of bones…and casting them in metal can become very beautiful,” says Martinelli of their inspiration. Love acknowledges the edge of it all: “Obviously, aesthetically it’s kind of tough and cool, and people like that. But I also feel like it’s bringing you back to nature, in a way.” As for sourcing such eerie media, it’s actually quite easy. Says Love: “I got the skulls on eBay.”