Nothing says romance like having your bone tissue extracted to show your love. But Biojewellry in the UK is doing exactly that.
The project is seeking couples who want to donate their bone cells - a couple having their wisdom teeth removed would be ideal. Their cells will be prepared and seeded onto a bioactive scaffold. This pioneering material encourages the cells to divide and grow rapidly in a laboratory environment, so that the scaffold disappears and is replaced by living bone tissue.
The couple’s cells will be grown at Guy’s Hospital and finished bone tissue will be taken to a studio at the Royal College of Art to be used in the design of a pair of rings. Following consultation with the couple, the bone will be combined with traditional precious metals so that each has a ring made with the tissue of their partner.
Funding has been awarded by the Engineering and Physical Science Council (EPSRC) as a part of their Partnership for Public Awareness initiative. The project will culminate in September 2005 with a live debate at the Dana Centre, a part of London’s Science Museum, and an exhibition at Guy’s Hospital, part of Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust. The exhibition will include the rings, documentary photos of the couple, and time lapse film of cell growth.
The seven stages of the project are described here in more detail. Use the links on the left to find out more about the processes, technology and ethical debates surrounding Biojewellery.
Go to the Biojewellery site to apply.