Jewelry made from laminated, polished cross-sections of books

UK designer Jeremy May makes jewelry by laminating and polishing pages from old books together to make striking pieces: "The beauty of the jewels extends within the piece: text and images pass all the way though the object, only exposed at the surfaces - giving a tantalising glimpse of the book within."

LITTLEFLY (Thanks, Irene Delse via Submitterator!)


  1. Okay, now they’ve gone too far! I was okay with chopping up old typewriters, but THIS…!

    Naw, just kidding. Long as they make ’em out of old Bibles rather than science fiction anthologies, I’m more than perfectly okay with this. ;^)

  2. Me no likey. Why would anyone hurt a book like that? Books are our friends. Might need to start the BLF to stop this cruelty.

    1. On the whole, it could have been far worse… If I could state a preference for an F-word, it would be “funambulism” (I like the sound of the word).

      Meanwhile, my first thought on seeing the pic was also, “No! That poor book!”

  3. Not good.

    Okay, I get it. Books, especially older, well bound books have a glorious aesthetic. And it’s great to see hints of that incorporated into other items.
    And generally, making something useful from another, unused item is a cool bit of recycling and lateral thinking.

    But this is a book.

    And no matter what was printed in it, the sheer cultural vandalism involved in destroying a book to make something pretty sends shivers up the spine.

  4. My first reaction was “but how could you hurt a book like that?” Then I noticed it was an old dictionary, the sort that are found and at tossed out by libraries and schools all across North America every few years. I think it’s ok.

  5. Interesting idea, but if you’re going to chop up and old book, I would greatly prefer to see pretty jewelry rather than chunky/modern/funky stuff. Just my own opinion, though.

  6. @ Anonymous #3: Yes, he does.

    “The paper is selected and carefully removed from a book, and the jewellery re-inserted in the excavated space.”

    You can also get him to make jewelry from your favorite book.

    1. Hmm. Wouldn’t it be more logical to have it made from your least favourite book?

      “The story sucked, but the resulting jewellery looks great!”

  7. And no matter what was printed in it, the sheer cultural vandalism involved in destroying a book to make something pretty sends shivers up the spine.

    Dudes. Come on. Draw a line somewhere, sure. But consider what’s really going on here. One guy in the UK is destroying potentially tens of dozens of books out of the billions that exist worldwide. And it’s vanishingly unlikely that any of his books are unique, or even particularly rare.

    If this caught on as a trend, and thousands of people started carving up hundreds of books each to make pretty baubles, then you might have a serious cause for concern. But really, is Civilization Itself losing a chunk of its soul because there’s a fella who’s making jewelry out of books, then selling those pieces encased in those selfsame books?

    Let us not be too terribly idolatrous of our friends the Books. I love them as much as anyone; I’ve handbuilt a sizable bookcase in my home to house a small fraction of my collection and don’t like to part with even the trashier Star Wars paperbacks.

    But this right here is not the direction from whence comes the Firemen. “No matter what was printed in it”? Really? Could anyone object if I used this technique to make dildos out of back issues of Awake! and The Watchtower? Will society be the poorer if I tape together twenty copies of The Da Vinci Code and use it as a jackstand?

    The oldest book in my mother’s house is the Journal of the Missouri State Legislature, 1838-39 (Volume Two). If I inherit it, I’m not going to tear it up, burn it as kindling, or make lampshades out of it. I’ll treat it with about the same respect I’d treat anything that’s close to two centuries old. Plus, it’s doubtful that more than one or two copies of this book are still extant, given its age and the limited scope of its audience to begin with.

    But Jesus, I tried reading it once when I was in high school… and it’s exactly the sort of thing that would have propped up the short leg of the couch back in 1850.

    1. OK. I see your point, and I’m sure that the objects in question are not being made from rare cultural artefacts that the world will miss.

      But for me at least, this goes deeper. I don’t like to see any book destroyed. Even the dull ones, even the horrible ones. So yes, this applies to any book. No matter what was printed in it.

      I look at it like this: We all know that every culture has certain animals that they don’t eat, even when, from a level-headed, rational point of view, one source of protein is as good as any other. And you can argue that people should discard that sort of emotional and cultural attachment. You may even get a lot of people agreeing. But still, try serving Dog in London, Beef in Mumbai, or Longpig just about anywhere, and you’ll get few takers.

      That’s how I feel about books. We are surrounded by print, so the net effect of destroying any one book is negligible (unless that print happens to be “endangered”) but it is still a book. someone cared enough about this chunk of knowledge to have it bound and published. It’s a tiny fragment of our overall knowledge, but it’s still not something to be discarded lightly.

      1. If this makes you queasy, then never, ever ask what libraries do with their weeded books. Sure, many get donated or sold, but the rest aren’t just sent off to a sprawling green meadow where they can live the rest of their lives as happy, free-range monographs.

      2. Purplecat, you do know what publishers do to millions of unsold books every week, right? Talk about pulp fiction….

  8. I, for one, believe that we should set up a secure, climate controlled, underground facility like the Seed Bank so that we can safely store every extant copy of every volume of Readers Digest Condensed Books. Because every tome is sacred.

    1. Because every tome is sacred.

      Dammit, man… Dr Pepper all over my screen! XD My sainted mother has an embarrassingly large collection of RDCBs (and I do mean embarrassing). Since she’s been planning her imminent demise for 15 years now, she keeps asking me if I want them. I don’t quite know how to tell her how those durable little bastard-books would be anyone’s first candidates to be hollowed out and turned into jewelry safes (since no thief would ever be tempted to crack one open), and turning them into jewelry would be the equivalent of handing your wife a half-dozen carnations for your twentieth anniversary: not ever gonna get you laid.

      Purplecat, I understand and appreciate your reaction. I’m a bit less sentimental than most people about a lot of things (including meats: if they’re delicately prepared and elegantly served and taste yummy, I’d probably eat unicornburgers), but I know where you’re coming from. I do love books as a medium, content aside, and I don’t even like to write in the margins or highlight text in one.

      But unlike you, I just can’t bemoan the casual destruction of a few dozen dictionaries, bibles, or Nineteenth Editions. Or especially the aforementioned RDCBs. I suppose familiarity has bred in me an excess of contempt.

  9. “You can also get him to make jewelry from your favorite book”

    Now why would I want to mutilate my favorite book like that?

    I can see the aesthetic here, so I’m not going to whine about someone trashing mass-market pulp fiction that’s going to die a horrible acid-paper death in a few years anyway, but lets be careful about the archival stuff that was designed to keep longer.

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