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Oh, dear Gussie! New "gem" material

Source: New Scientist:

Cultured bone offers novel wedding rings
09:30 26 February 2005 - Jenny Hogan

Some will think it a romantic gesture, others will find it
grisly. But one willing couple in the UK is about to get the
chance, thanks to a government-funded project intended to
promote awareness of the issues surrounding tissue

“It’s for people who want to give a bit of their body to each
other,” says Nikki Stott, a jewellery designer at the Royal
College of Art in London. She and her colleague Tobie Kerridge
are collaborating with Ian Thomspon, a bioengineer at King’s
College London.

The tricky part is that the lucky couple will have to provide
bone cell samples, for which the team will get ethical
approval only if both people already need surgery. The most
likely scenario is that both will need wisdom teeth pulling,
Thompson says.

Ring-shaped scaffold

During that procedure, an extra sliver of bone can be sliced
from the jaw to yield bone cells. These cells will be grown on
a ring-shaped scaffold structure, which will slowly dissolve
as the cells colonise it.

The rough bone circles will then be given to the designers,
who will consult with the couple and shape the bone into
customised rings. Each partner will give the other the ring
grown from their cells.

One possibility is that the rings could be used as wedding
bands. “There is nothing in law that states what a wedding
ring can or cannot be made of,” says a spokesperson for the
Office of National Statistics, the body that enforces the UK’s
marriage guidelines.

Interested couples can apply through The team says this is a one-off,
and they have no plans to start a commercial venture.

I remember Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie gave each other
small vials of their blood to wear on chains back when they were
together. Looks like some people may now “clone their bones” for a
similar display of affection.

James in SoFl