Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Human Ivory Jewelry - Fingernail and Toenail Clippings Sculptures in Resin

By on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Comments

Rachel Betty Case is sculptor and jewelry artisan. But her chosen medium is human ivory which is basically fingernail and toe nails.  She defines her style as "humorous and shocking, yet refined and sophisticated." And highly unusual. She is probably the only fingernail and toenail clipping artisan in the world!

In this interview, she described people's reactions to her art form : "When people found out I made art out of nail clippings and belly button lint some would scream, some would gag, some would stare blankly. Some would laugh and one even told me I was "the most disgusting person on Earth." Every reaction is different and I treasure all of them."

She is a true artist - she's not afraid of doing what she finds fun and fascinating. On her Etsy store, she acknowledges fingernail and toe nails are not bones. I'd like to point out ivory from elephant tusks is not bone either but teeth which is made from different materials.

However, our fingernail and toenails are intrinsically part of our skeletal structure as they are connected to our finger and toe bones. Sue also makes skeletal structures out of them as you can see from this skeletal hand pendant.

She sells her jewelry in other places too, notably the Mutter Museum (located in Philadelphia at the College of Physicians) which has the oldest collection of human anatomical oddities. BTW you can send Rachel YOUR clippings for custom work.

Her most favorite creation?  Her tampon dress which I thought was really good!
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. I stumbled on this artist's work on Etsy a month or so ago. My daughter's are totally fascinated by the pieces, now I tease them when I cut their nails that I am going to save them and make jewelry out of them! Great write up!

  2. Just when you think you've seen everything...along comes something which makes your jaw drop! Not for me.

    Btw, I visit here often and tried many times to post a comment but it never worked until I opened Explorer alongside Firefox, now I simply copy and paste URL's and Explorer lets me comment when Firefox doesn't.

  3. Comments are so very welcome. Thanks Cleo for trying. Perhaps it will help to clear your caches?

  4. Ok, somehow this is weird, but so cool! Art has so many ways.

  5. Ewww. But definately unique! This type of jewelry would make for an excellent gift say for the new mother -a clipping of their child's first nail trim.

  6. Hi there, I was watching Oddities, are you the chick that tried to sell a bottle with her toenail clippings?. The art is AWESOME!!!

  7. I love your work! It is sooo beautiful, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm kind of surprised that oddities didn't take you up on your offer.

  8. As they say; "To each his own". Though the thought of wearing a strangers fingernail or toenail clippings in a piece of jewelry on my own body tends to make me cringe, I'm sure there are many that are unbothered by the idea.
    The tampon dress is a hoot, but I wouldn't advise throwing it into the washer, guess it would be "dry clean only". :)

  9. Wow this is a fascinating idea, I kept all my son's clippings until he was one, but never knew what to do with them ! I also have his first teeth and I have heard that there is someone who makes jewellery from them too