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Memento Mori jewelry idea


#1

I have an idea for a series of memento mori necklaces, although I
fear it may not be possible to implement them. It is a necklace, with
a pendant that holds a glass ampule of a toxic substance, probably a
sufficient dose to kill a 70kg person. I’ve kicked the idea around
for a while, there’s a lot of different poisons - but there’s always
the inescapable risk of the ampule breaking and causing a great deal
of trouble. An interesting thought, but I’m simply not certain it
can be implemented.

Paul Anderson


#2

Perhaps a good idea only if you are willing to do 25 to life.

Seriously, I think the risk is a bit too great. I know I wouldn’t
willingly wear poison that could kill me if it got a chance.

Sounds like a potential article for a upcoming article in Metalsmith;)

Laney


#3

Paul-

It’s always a good idea to experiment on yourself before marketing
it to potential victims…uh, I mean clients.

Too bad…you missed all the prospective clients to the Nuremberg
Trials.

Kim.


#4

That is a very interesting idea, indeed. But not all ideas that are
interesting are good to actually try. Leave it in the sketch book,
or make a virtual piece on the computer and perhaps submit it to
Metalsmith, since that’s all that is required these days. Or do a
nice series of drawings and submit them to your local art center for
an art show. But do not make the piece.

M’lou


#5

A Finnish jewellery artist by the name Jaakko Vasko made a series
very much like your idea, I think it was a pendant with an ampul of
sulphuric acid. There might’ve been another with cyanide inside. He
indeed made the pieces, and even designed the packaging which
would’ve fit right in in a shelf of Hello Kitty products. I found it
all rather fantastic and ironic and the point wasn’t about selling
them to be worn, but the idea of something that hazardous as
jewellery. Conceptual art like this shouldn’t be left as mere
sketches - the impact is much more overwhelming when there’s an
actual piece to be considered.

I think the idea is inriguing, and would be perfect for an art show.
Go for it!


#6
... a pendant that holds a glass ampule of a toxic substance,
probably a sufficient dose to kill a 70kg person... 

WHAT? Why purposely create lawsuits from customers and third parties?

Jamie King


#7
Or do a nice series of drawings and submit them to your local art
center for an art show. But do not make the piece. 

I don’t really intend to. I’ve been giving it a great deal of
thought, and I cannot think of a means of storing said toxic
substance that would be both safe, and work within the context. An
interesting idea, but fundamentally unimplementable.

Paul Anderson


#8

Sounds like a reincarnation of the “poison ring”. And the circle
continues…


#9

If you believe that we humans need anything more than 24x7 TV and
the Internet to remind us that we’re mortal and not likely to die
peacefully in our sleep, why not use ashes in the vial? That way, if
someone accidentally thwacks the pendant against the wearer’s body,
no harm done.

Lorraine


#10
It is a necklace, with a pendant that holds a glass ampule of a
toxic substance, probably a sufficient dose to kill a 70kg person.
I've kicked the idea around for a while, there's a lot of different
poisons - but there's always the inescapable risk of the ampule
breaking and causing a great deal of trouble. 

Paul, I went through a poison ring phase, long ago. It had nothing
to do with poison, I was intrigued with rings that had little boxes
hidden inside. If your motives are similar to that, then you can put
talcum powder or sugar in your vials and have the concept fulfilled.
If your motives are to distribute poison to the public (which I
seriously doubt) then - well, responses to that have already been
posted here. That would be a seriously stupid thing to do - people
could die and you would most certainly be in prison for a very long
time just for doing it. But my suspicion is that you are more
intrigued by the concept, which could be done safely - a "pretend"
poison vial. Macabre, perhaps, but not murderous.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11
This is a rather insane idea --it would rank with making cabs from
some arsenic ore that I have seen. A beautiful material that would
surely sell ! 

I made a pendant using a stone cab called “Mohawkite,” which seems
to contain what the seller said, metallic arsenic. I didn’t cut the
cab, nor do I lick it, so I feel safe wearing it. I bought the cab
because it was beautiful.

The idea of ampoules full of some poison strikes me as sophomoric.
If one is so bored with life that they get a kick out of being
"close" to death, they should rather volunteer to give out food,
etc., to needy people in Afghanistan or Darfur, for some
non-governmental organization. There’s enough death and pain in the
world – why manufacture it?

Judy Bjorkman


#12

What I have been wondering while reading this thread is how you
would actually make it clear that the ampule contained a poison?
Would you label it in some way - perhaps engrave the name of the
poison on whatever you designed to hold the ampule? In that case the
label itself would get the point across and you may as well put
colored water in the ampule. But if you did not label it, then how
would anyone know the ampule contained poison unless told and this
would seem to dilute the power of the concept. The wearer would
either have to run around (very carefully so as not to trip and
fall!) saying “Look! Know what’s in here? Cyanide!” Or they would
have to wait until someone asked and I could only see that devolving
into absurdity:

“What’s in the glass thing?”
“Cyanide”
“Really? No! You’re kidding, right?”
“No, it’s really cyanide! I’m serious!”
“Why the hell are you wearing cyanide around your neck? Are you nuts
or something?”

I have also fleetingly wondered if you weren’t making an entirely
different point… that you launched this discussion as some sort of
statement about conceptual art, through which we are suppose to
appreciate that an “anything goes” mentality is dangerous?

If so, very very clever of you.

Rachel


#13
But my suspicion is that you are more intrigued by the concept,
which could be done safely - a "pretend" poison vial. 

There are some people making jewellery which comprise of little
vials of perfume(?)/essential oils and the like, so you could go down
that route, but made to look more macabre perhaps?

Helen
UK


#14

in response to the posts about the Memento Mori jewelry idea, I
rather like Lorraine Johnston’s suggestion of ashes, instead of
something toxic. When my Mom passed away, I wasn’t able to keep a
few of her ashes, but am sorry to this day, that I couldn’t, as I
would have had a locket or pendant made to encase her ashes, so I
could wear that special piece of jewelry, and a part of her, close to
my heart. With cremation so much more the norm these days, I think if
someone came up with a line of special jewelry, for ashes(if it
hasn’t been done already)I think it would have a small niche, in the
jewelry trade.

Suz Brennan


#15

To continue Rachel’s imagined dialogue:

"Did you know _____ is wearing poison around his/her neck?" 

"Really?? Why?" 

"I don't know but remind me not to invite them to the New Year's
Party. I don't want them getting drunk in my house and somehow
dying from their jewelry." 

Or worse:

A long legal document that the person has to carry around saying
they will not hold anyone else (bar, house, car, etc., etc.) liable
should the vial break resulting in their own death - - and probably
some sort of insurance to cover someone else’s accidental death.

I am sure that there are thousands of lawyers that would salivate
over this idea.

As for wearing poison - - why go that far when there is a chance it
might not match your day’s outfit? Do what many other people do every
day: smoke cigarettes.

Cameron


#16

Paul,

The very concept of Memento Mori has been shown in this thread
(“Remember Youre Mortal”) The responses Ive seen here certainly have
given people at least a small taste of this concept. If a two year
old can walk into a department store and purchase a straight razor,
it seems only reasonable that an adult can purchase a vial of cyanide
and show it off to his/her friends!

To avoid being sued, consider making the vial out of titanium (Check
to see which acids will corrode your choice of metal) and seal/weld
the ends. Not exactly the avante gaurd version of this project, but
it would still give implementation. And our excessively watered down
sue everyone for anything society would have a much more difficult
time regulating the extent you can express yourself.

I think its a bold idea, but you may only want to produce one and do
it so there is very little chance your average fool can get hurt.
Maybe just a potent acid?

If you subcontract a chinese company, maybe the vial can have a high
lead content?

Warm Regards,

Kennon Young, GG, CBJT, AM
vermontgemlab.com


#17

One thing about a memento mori jewel that’s being missed, is it’s
meaning in the historical context…it’s not meant to be thought
of as a morbid trinket, a mourning jewel, or means of death. Memento
mori literally means, ‘remember you must die’, and it’s intention
was to remind the wearer to live a good life in preparation for a
good death. It’s a Christian devotional jewel of sorts, with other
inscriptions like ‘die to live’, ‘behold the end’, and ‘through the
resurrection of Christ we be all sanctified’. Death was viewed quite
differently in the 16thC. than we view it now. The memento mori jewel
is a good example of this, and how ideas get lost in translation to a
modern context.

Lyn Punkari


#18
cremation so much more the norm these days, I think if someone came
up with a line of special jewelry, for ashes(if it hasn't been done
already)I think it would have a small niche, in the jewelry trade. 

Suz, there are a number of kilnformed, lampworked and blown glass
jewelry artists that incorporate ashes in their work.


#19

Well you could always go with the screw vial idea, and fill it with
certain essential oils which are toxic in a relatively small dose if
swallowed, If broken or spilled… the just smell nice…

Where to get these dangerous poisons… well any “new age” type
store… Corbra Venom anyone?

Let’s see Oil of Wintergreen (Loved and hated by metalsmiths)
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_salicylate) According to Opdyke
(1977) an oral dose of 4-8 ml of methyl salicylate is…

Then there is eucalyptus oil Probable lethal dose 0.05 mL to 0.5
mL/kg ok so you need a bigger vial…
http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/pharm/pim031.htm

True not as dramatic as cyanide… but just as lethal

Kay