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Jewelry Inspired By the Looming Oil Crisis

Jewelry Inspired By the Looming Oil Crisis
Katrin Spranger

When oil becomes as valuable as gold, will we wear it like gold?

Sweden's Katrin Spranger likes to think so. Inspired by the coming fossil-fuels drought, she's created of viscous jewelry line ("Best Before") made from hardened, jet-black petroleum. In an artist's statement, she explains why she created this burnable fashion:

"Best Before", a science fiction narrative, is drawing a dystopic picture of the future and refers to consumption and depletion of resources. It deals with questions what jewellery will look like in the future and what kind of materials and value perception we might have after this. Due to crude oil depletion, the material turns into a valuable jewellery matter like gold. The last drops of oil are extracted in order to experience a final consumption.

Basically, if you wear this stuff when all the oil is gone, you're intentionally trying to be a jerk. Perhaps that's why Spranger added another feature to her bobbles. As they warm up from body heat, they begin to break down and revert back to liquid oil. The result is that the wearer winds up covered in an unattractive oil slick at the end of the night, looking like a Greenpeace activist mistook her for the CEO of BP. So don't expect to see Angelina wearing these objects at the next Oscars.

Gold structures that the petroleum was coating remain intact; however, Spranger writes, they "still communicate loss." Gold was appropriate over plastic or bone or wood or some other material because of its similarities with oil: Both connote status, war/violence, and environmental harm, in the cases when the material is extracted from the earth improperly. The artist hopes that this dissolving jewelry will "be seen as an invitation towards initiating a discussion about new solutions for the future."

(For what it's worth, Spranger's not solely obsessed with oil. She's also fashioned a "Human Insides" series of jewelry that looks like organs and biological valves, and a line of "Neoplasms" that looks like cuddly Nudibranchia.)

This is a fresh batch of the wearable crude:

After the Texas tea melts away, this is the gold and steel skeleton that remains:

Here's a video showing the jewelry weeping black tears before shedding off in wet clumps:

Images courtesy of Katrin Spranger.

Keywords: Stockholm, Oil, Energy, Jewelry

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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