Breast milk and gallstones may seem like outlandish sources of inspiration for dazzling accessories, but not all jewellers play it safe. From the intriguing to the unorthodox—and all bizarrely beautiful—we round up the latest exotic trends capturing the hearts of jewellery connoisseurs:
1. Breast Milk
Some of a new mother’s best bonding moments with her child occur during breastfeeding, so why not preserve an experience that’s gone all too quickly with a tangible memento? Fresh breast milk is dehydrated and undergoes a special preservation process before being covered in a clear resin or glaze. The delicate, pearly-white gems can then be mounted on rings, pendants, earrings and lockets, creating one-of-a-kind sentimental pieces that will last long after your child leaves the nest.
2. Human Hair
When it comes to hair accessories, one thinks of barrettes and headbands—but what about accessories actually crafted from hair? Human tresses are twisted and embroidered into delicate, elaborate neckpieces that echo the patterns and symmetry of an elegant necklace, a trend made popular by award-winning contemporary jewellery artist Kerry Howley and spreading like wildfire on social media.
3. Diamond Ashes
Some people want their cremated ashes blasted into the sky in a firework while others choose to be scattered at sea. Now there’s another option being offered by diamond-growing labs around the world, the majority of which are based in Switzerland. People can choose to have their remains exposed to extreme heat and pressure to create a man-made memorial diamond. The stone can then be cut, polished, engraved and mounted, to be worn as a treasured jewel by a loved one.
4. Dermal Piercings
Afraid of fumbling and misplacing that very large, very sparkly engagement rock? Why not just pierce it onto your ring finger? Dermal engagement piercing is the latest trend in matrimonial jewels sweeping social media and takes the concept of eternal love to a whole new—and more painful—level. A professional body piercer will first insert an anchor before attaching the jewel, resulting in a diamond that appears to sit unsupported on your ring finger once the scar heals, which takes up to three months. Love is not for the faint-hearted.
5. Surgical Souvenirs
Considering the alluring hues and shapes of these pretty baubles, one might experience some stomach-churning on discovering their origin—quite literally. Gallstones, the hard lumps of cholesterol and bilirubin that form in your gall bladder, have gained popularity in recent times—converted after surgical removal into surprisingly aesthetically pleasing beads. When cut and varnished, these “surgical souvenirs” make stunning adornments for necklaces, earrings and even cuff links.