Jacqui deals in the macabre and the beautiful.

She has, rather unkindly, been referred to as "Ted Bundy's Jeweller", a "serial killer" and even a "grave robber" at times throughout her career, the 27-year-old told news.com.au.

But nothing makes the artist happier than helping to memorialise the dead.

Jacqui lives in Melbourne, where she runs her business, Grave Metallum Jewellery, out of a private studio.

Advertisement

The business owner collects oddities and parts from the deceased β€” human or animal β€” such as hair, teeth, fur and bones, and turns them into works of art her customers can wear forever.

Jacqui has always loved using her hands to create jewellery, but it wasn't until the sudden death of her best friend that her art took a more grim turn.

View this post on Instagram

πŸ¦·πŸ–€πŸ¦·

A post shared by Grave Metallum Jewellery (@grave_metallum) on

"Creating something elegant with the macabre was my new obsession," she told news.com.au.

"While dealing with the grief of my loss, my fascination with death and how we deal with death grew."

Soon, Jacqui was experimenting with elements of the deceased β€” hair, teeth, bones and ashes β€” to create pieces of rings, necklaces, brooches and earrings.

But her creations are not always made from parts belonging to the dead.

"A friend handed me three of her teeth and asked me to create a necklace," Jacqui said.

Jumping at the chance to turn a taboo object into something beautiful, Jacqui soon realised her true calling.

Advertisement

It is legal to buy and sell human hair and teeth around the world, so Jacqui's orders are never held up with customs.

She works with customers to design their piece before they send her items they want incorporated into their order.

"They will post me what they want in their piece, like a tooth, hair, fur or ashes, and we go from there" Jacqui said.

Her orders take between two and four weeks to create and cost anywhere from $250 to over $1000, depending on the design.

The darker side of life

Jacqui's most unusual request by far was to make a necklace out of the plastic of a used IUD β€” and the intra-uterine device inserted into women for contraceptive purposes.

"I declined that job due to plastic being difficult to sanitise, and I couldn't guarantee the longevity of the piece," she said.

She also gets regular requests to create jewellery using the fur of dead pets.

"I made a mourning ring for a woman's cat, Rasputin," she recalled. "Behind the clear quartz is a tuft of Rasputin's fur, encased forever."

Unusual requests

But not all of Jacqui's pieces come from the dead.

One US customer sent the jeweller his own tooth and commissioned a ring, with which he proposed to his girlfriend.

"They wanted us to use his tooth so she can always take a part of him with her everywhere," she said.

"They also have an interest in oddities."

The unique ring cost the couple $350 and took Jacqui four weeks to create.

"This was hand fabricated, the metal bent, cut, filled and soldered together," she said.

Surrounded by a halo of black gemstones called spinel, the tooth has pride of place in the centre of the ring, like a giant white diamond.

"They were over the moon about the ring when they finally received it," she recalled.

When asked whether the man had his own tooth removed especially to fill his beloved's ring, Jacqui said no.

"Most teeth are wisdom teeth extractions that the dentist lets them keep," Jacqui explained.

Another couple, from Perth, commissioned matching tooth rings for their wedding, which was held around Christmas last year.

The couple are sideshow performers and used their own wisdom teeth to make the set in time for their big day.

Jacqui made this order in just two weeks and said the couple absolutely loved the result.

"Her ring had his tooth in it, and his had her tooth inside," Jacqui said.

"They stood out from normal jobs as they wanted the full tooth, uncut."

According to Jacqui, she receives both compliments and criticism about her work, both of which she welcomes.

"Some people love it, some people hate it, but controversy helps you question your normal," she reasoned.

"I have had the joy of helping other people deal with their grief."