Meet the Artist Who Makes Skull Jewelry Out of Pearls

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Tokyo-based jewelry designer Shinji Nakaba has been making his name in the unconventional jewelry industry since as early as 1974. Not only are his pieces exquisite, they are also wearable and made from some of the most unconventional materials you could ever think of.
Take for instance these skulls, which have been carved from pearls.

In an interview, Nakaba stated his passion to build something from nothing. “All I want to do is to use something that has no value and make it into something that does.” he says. “Apart from the usual precious stones and metals, I also make use of ordinary items like scraps or plastic caps.” He explained.
Most of Nakaba’s skulls have the word “Vanitas” carved on them. For the ignorant, “vanitas” is the Latin word for vanity and is a possible reference to the funerary art form that existed in the 16th and 17th Centuries, which tried to express how life on earth is flimsy and transient.

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