Who are you and what do you specialise in? How did you get into this industry?
Hi! my name is Ro and I specialize in tooth gems at my studio, Cherry Bomb Studio, in NYC. Although we provide other services, tooth gems are what we are known for. I got into this about five years ago when I wanted a tooth gem and couldn’t find anyone who provided the service. I was likehmm .there’s an opportunity here creating a new way for people to mod themselves, something right up my alley.
Can you please describe the process of getting grills/tooth gems. What is the art behind it?
Without giving away too many trade secrets, it’s a pretty quick and seemingly simple procedure, but there is a lot of skill involved. Essentially, it’s the same process as getting braces. I use a bond to secure the gems or charms to the teeth and cure them with a dental-grade LED light. Finesse and an eye for design are key, especially when doing a freestyle set which is where my skill gets to shine (literally). Since the clients are giving up creative control to me, finding the shapes, colours, and placement that enhances the client’s existing style requires intuition and knowledge of artistic composition and current trends. They don’t see the design until it is complete, so it’s an opportunity to put my skills to the test. Plus, everyone’s teeth are unique, so finding the sweet spot where the gem will look the best is one of the most important factors!
How would you say the trends in this type of jewellery/ wearable art have changed over the 5 years you have been practising? And Why do you think this is?
When I first started, my clients usually just wanted one or two crystals, but now I get a lot of requests for freestyle sets (where I get to do whatever I want creatively) and mouthfuls of gems. More creative designs, such as a butterfly set which is four crystals put together across two teeth, have grown in popularity. I think it has changed mainly due to social media. People see gems and then start incorporating fashion trends. I’ve seen fashion change a lot over the last 5-years, especially with the Y2K trend. As fashion has become more colorful and loud, so have tooth gems! Because designs have become more intricate and technical, more skill is involved, so it pushes me to grow as an artist and think outside the box.
How do you see this trend evolving over the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I can see this trend rivalling grills. I think people will start wanting their entire tooth covered (like a disco ball set) and requesting for pixie bead designs. These mini gems allow you to create more realistic, intricate designs, but they are difficult to work with. This will let the artists truly shine as more skill is required, and we can push the boundaries of what is possible with these materials.
Do you adorn any grills/tooth gems? Why or why not?
I don’t adorn grills, but I have put gems on invisalign and clear retainers! Because clients with this type of retainer can’t have tooth gems since the retainers are moulded to their teeth. This is always fun, because they’re more open to crazy designs since they can just take them off at any time. Grills are a great compliment to tooth gems, though. I’ve created looks in combination with grills people have brought in to add more color and cohesion to their look. Unfortunately, I can’t directly adorn grills because the dental bond doesn’t adhere to the smooth surface.
What would you like to be become popularised in the teeth jewellery space?
Lately, I’ve been having more requests for clothing logos, such as the Vivienne Westwood logo, Chrome Hearts, etc. My hope is that fine jewellers and luxury brands will hop on this trend and release lines of tooth charms to elevate this art form to a high-fashion moment. I’ve done work for brands such as Marc Jacobs & Urban Decay, so I do feel like this trend is starting to move into that space.
And would you ever tap into the metaverse?
I’m actually working on a social media filter where you can try on tooth gems. I’d love to expand upon that and have it an option for avatars in digital spaces. The first step of this is the filter, so I can work out the bugs, as most facial tracking doesn’t include teeth. I’d be stoked to have the opportunity to share my services by providing them to digital avatars. As technology becomes more advanced, performing the services in the metaverse as opposed to just providing a skin for an avatar.
By Ro, Cherry Bomb Studio NYC
Edited by GLITCH Team