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Like this ‘organic’ jewellery?


Horse hair and rodent bones are the eco-friendly materials behind an Irish jewellery designer’s delicate accessories.

Daniela Cardillo has been nominated for a World Crafts Council Europe award for her intricate jewellery - which she makes from animal remains.

If you can overcome their unusual origin, the accessories, above, hold an Alexander McQueen-esque beauty.

The jewellery, which includes necklaces, rings, bangles and pins, is made using hair shed from the 23-year-old designer's own horses and rodent bones she has collected or sourced online.

Pearl-encrusted rat skull necklace, above

Cardillo told Stylist she is influenced by the late McQueen’s “design ethos and his ability to create pure beauty and elegance from often macabre subjects.”

“I am concerned with finding beauty in - and making use of - death and discard,” she added. “I feel the pieces are not a simple reminder of death, but an alteration of it, vitalising past life fragments.”

The bracelets and necklaces above are weaved from dyed horse hair

The artist, who recently set up her own online store, has been nominated for the Young Talent award at this year's European Prize for applied Arts and will have her work exhibited in Belgium from July to September.

She is influenced by the “lost craft” of Victorian mourning jewellery and hair weaving techniques.

The bracelets, above, are made from hand woven horsehair and 22 carat gold-plated mice bone

“The art of hair jewellery was very popular and common in the Victorian era, but sadly has become a lost craft due to our change in attitude towards death,” she said. “Hair jewellery is something which is now seen distasteful.”

Before and after? A gold plated necklace and the creatures that inspired it, above

While animal bone and hair jewellery is not a new art form, it is usually fashioned into self-referential vintage-style skulls and heavy gothic designs, so it is the subtle nature of Cardillo’s creations that has attracted the attention of arts judges.

She has already won a Gold Membership Award from the British Guild of Jewellery Designers, as well as the Irish Craft Council’s “Future Maker Award”.

Grooming Black Beauty and Silver has its uses, above

She electroforms the “small and delicate” rodent bones in metal before plating them in 22 carat gold, a process Cardillo says enables the bones to become “actual relics of previous lives”.

The horse hair is dyed a variety of shades, including pastel pink, before being weaved and trimmed with fierce gold accessories.

We can only guess at how many hours went into the kooky design, above

Would you wear jewellery made from animal bones or hair? Is it any different from wearing leather? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Words: Anna Pollitt. Pictures: danielacardillo.com



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