Monday, December 04, 2006

Grow your own ring...

Well, this is a bit different! We've talked in the past about ethical wedding and engagement rings, the controversial subject of conflict diamonds and the environmental impact of mining, whether for precious stones or precious metals. We looked at the options, certified conflict-free diamonds, fair trade rings from companies such as Silver Chilli or Cred Jewellery, recycled precious metal rings from Green Karat or even wooden rings. But the one thing we didn't mention (for the simple reason that I had never heard of it before) was growing your own ring... Then, in the course of my every day browsing for the unusual and the bizarre of the wedding world (for professional reasons only, naturally!), I came across the Biojewellery Project. Interesting name, I thought. What's that all about? Well, it's pretty much as bizarre as it sounds. In essence, the idea is to grow your wedding ring... from your own bone cells. I discovered from the Biojewellery website that the project began life in 2003 as a response to ‘Consuming Monsters’ a brief on the Interaction Design course at the Royal College of Art in London. The idea was to get students to produce provocative objects that would encourage debate about how we see the benefits and problems associated with biotechnological advances. The project looked for couples who were up for donating their bone cells. Not for everyone but they did get a good response. These would then be prepared and seeded onto a bioactive scaffold (hmm...they were losing me a little at this point!). Apparently, this pioneering material makes the cells divide and grow rapidly in a lab environment, so that the scaffold disappears and is replaced by living bone tissue. The couples' cells were grown at Guy’s Hospital and the finished bone tissue was taken to a studio at the Royal College of Art to be used in the design of a pair of rings. Three couples were chosen to go through with the process; you can read an interview with one of the couples, Matt and Harriet, here. It sounds like an excellent solution for the bride and groom looking for a ring that does not harm the environment or other people; just grow it yourself! I was instantly intrigued. Sadly, however, this isn't the whole deal. The bone is combined with traditional precious metals to make the finished ring. If you're feeling a little intrigued yourself and want to see the final result (the image in this post does not show the real thing but a sample ring using a combination of cow marrow-bone and etched silver), why not head off to Guy's Hospital to see the exhibition: Biojewellery: Designing Rings with Bioengineered Bone Tissue December 7th 2006 - February 14th 2007 Atrium 1, Guy's Hospital, St Thomas Street, London, Greater London, SE1 9RT This exhibition documents each stage of the project, from the donation and culturing of cells, to the design of the jewellery and the actual making of the rings. The exhibition provides an intimate account of what can happen, when our creative visions of science are brought to bear on its progress. Who knows, this might be the future of the ethical wedding ring? Take care, Katie


Blogger Arabel Lebrusan said...

Many happy couples are turning their backs on the traditional wedding gift list in favor of a more ethical approach to their big day.

Ethical Wedding Ring

7/19/2013 05:18:00 am  

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