Yi Zhou

Meet The Designer Who Turns Your Body Parts Into Bespoke Jewellery

For a long time now, jewellery has served an important role in our culture – transcending its decorative purpose, it has been used to display status, express emotions, and even encapsulate dear memories.

But not even an 18 karat gold ring from Tiffany's could capture memories better than these one-of-a-kind creations by Chinese artist/designer Yi Zhou.

Zhou, who currently resides in New York, has created a pop-up clinic that offers customised service for people who want to cast their body parts and turn them into jewellery or sculptures. It is called BodyMemory and it is freakishly (yes, a little...) awesome.

According to the founder, BodyMemory is based on the hypothesis that the body is capable of storing memories just like the brain does. We might not be aware of it, but all those unconscious memories – smells, sounds, touches – are imprinted into our skin, muscles, tendons, even nerves.

"For example when people shake hands: right/left hand, palm temperature, the strength of the grip... All of these small impressions contribute to our memories."

Zhou says that her clients are mainly from the creative industry, such as fashion editors, photographers, people working in the advertising field. But there are also people who just feel touched by the project and relate to it on a very deep, personal level.

Zhou has cast many different body parts – from lips and ears to nipples, toes and belly buttons.

However, Zhou didn't stop with creating extraordinary jewelry meant to be gifted with warm feelings. For one Valentine's Day, she took a different approach with her HATE Series. Zhou explains:

"Valentine’s Day is for sharing with the people we have deep feelings for, but what about those we hate? Doesn’t that dickhead in your life deserve a token of your feelings?"

Inspired by this revelation, Zhou launched some new products for the holiday, including "What a Dickhead" and "YOU asshole" statues fashioned out of actual penis and butthole casts, as well as chocolates and lollipops.

Check out more of Yi Zhou's tongue-in-cheek creations on her website.