Oyster pearls are formed when foreign parasites breach the boundaries of its shell. In order to protect itself the oyster covers the intruder with layers of nacre until, to borrow from the poet Clint Smith, “the very thing that was trying to destroy it becomes the thing that makes it most beautiful.” Which is why it’s equally poetic that, in the hands of Japanese jeweler Shinji Nakaba, oyster pearls are turned into morbid yet beautiful skull jewelry.
For the past 40 years Nakaba has been making jewelry as “wearable sculpture.” But the 65-year old artist doesn’t necessarily insist on working with valuable materials. “I use not only precious metals and stones but also something usual,such as aluminum Beer can or plastic bottle.” But no matter whether he’s carving gems or junk Nakaba treats each material equally with an ultimate objective of bringing out their inner beauty.
Nakaba sells his sculptures online where you can contact the artist and purchase his beautiful pieces directly. Browsing through his site the pearl jewelry seems to range between 16,000 yen and 65,000 yen depending on size.