Bite Me


I remember being very put out when I was little that I had to turn my teeth over to the tooth fairy.  One dollar seemed like a pretty meek compensation for my tooth that oftentimes I had struggled pretty hard to get out.  Wearing it in a setting around my neck?  That would have been a fate worthy of a tooth.

Most people shudder at the idea (even dentists), but historically for the various peoples who have made jewelry from teeth, they hold important significance. “Whether the teeth came from one’s ancestors or from the mouths of enemies, each tooth would have been viewed as a representation or an embodiment of the deceased, a power that was transferred to the wearer.”

Teeth necklaces have been found in Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Peru, and the Himalayas.  They could made up from the teeth of as many as twenty victims and were usually carefully extracted so that the root came along with the tooth, the better to leave the tooth intact.

Other teeth were extracted from monkeys, horses, bears, kangaroos, whales, and dogs.  Prince Albert once gave Queen Victoria a necklace made of the teeth of all the stags that he had shot at Balmoral, with the date of their death engraved on the back.  According to Lisa Waller Rogers, he also designed this enameled thistle brooch, completely with baby tooth of their firstborn child as the flower:
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