Shinji Nakaba is a Japanese artist who creates wearable works of art using a variety of materials including aluminium wire, animal fangs, and shells. All of his work has a slightly gothic feel to it, and we particularly adore the tiny little skulls he carves from actual pearls.

According to his personal website, Nakaba sees jewellery making as creating a form of ‘wearable sculpture’ which he displays in galleries. His philosophy is that the form of the jewellery is more important than the cost of the materials used to make it. He states:

“I use not only precious metals and stones but also something usual, such as aluminum beer can or plastic bottle, or even some discarded materials.
I’m dealing all the materials equally no matter how precious they are.
Bring out their hidden talents and beauty, then being re-born as Treasure.”

Nakaba’s art is an example of the “vanitas” style, which is a genre of art involving morbid symbolism such as skulls and dead flowers to create memento mori, or reminders of the impermeability of life and the inevitability of death.

Let’s check out some of his work, beginning with his skull pearl series:

It must take hours of careful drilling to create such realistic-looking skulls from tiny pearls.

Nakaba’s Tumblr account also details some of his earlier works, which involve more intricate carvings.

We’re hoping that Nakaba, who has a profile on Etsy, will consider selling his work online someday so we can wear some of his creations ourselves!

If all this morbidity doesn’t creep you out too much, you can view more of Nakaba’s work on his website!

Source: Work.s-nakaba.com via BoredPanda
Images: Shinji Nakaba