Pearls- symbol of luxury… and death?

Japanese artist and jeweler change the history of pearls as we know it.

Let`s play a quick game- What first comes to your mind?
Beach?- Summer.
Sea?- Fish.
Pearls?- Skulls.
…wait, Skulls?

It’s not unknown that artists are always in a search for a new creative platform that can help them channel their creativity, but one Japanese artist and jeweler took this quest to the next level.

Shinji Nakaba has one of the most unusual “canvases” for his art – he creates masterpieces using pearls. Yes, we know that there are thousands of artists using pearls for the purpose of art, but here is the catch- Nakaba uses pearls to create miniature human and animal skulls.
He does this by gently carving the small oyster pearls, a hard and painstakingly process done by hand, that can take up to several days to finish. If you take a close look at some of his work, you will quickly understand what`s so amazing about his art. His precise attention to details, the ability to transform one small round object into a life-like skull and his unique take on what jewelry should represent will truly move you.


Nakaba finds inspiration in all matter of anatomical forms, skulls, and flowers and transforms them into what he describes as “wearable sculptures.” It’s amazing to see a pearl transformed into a ring, necklace or a brooch from skulls. But the most awesome part is that every pearl skull is unique and speaks for itself, thus making the jewelry a piece of art.

When asked about his art Nakaba responses “I just want to bring brand new life to something that has no value. I use not only precious metals and stones, but also everyday things, such as aluminum beer cans, plastic bottle, or even garbage” .


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