Is That Chemistry In Your Jewelry?

Patchoulol necklace. Credit: Surly Ramics.

Toss aside those horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors, there’s a new nerdy fashion statement in town. Now you may think this is old news, having seen—or even sported—jewelry depicting chemical structures before. But this is the first time the Newscripts gang has heard of chemistry-themed necklaces that actually smell like the compound drawn on the pendant.

In addition to ceramic jewelry displaying flowers and cupcakes, Amy D. Roth’s “Surly Ramics” Etsy site offers a vannilin necklace that smells like vanilla, a β-damascenone necklace that smells like roses, and a patchoulol necklace that smells like patchouli.

Unfortunately, the necklaces don’t smell like the compounds drawn on them indefinitely—you’ll need to apply extract oil after wearing them for eight hours. But that’s a small price to pay to wear scented, chemically inspired jewelry!


Gold Inlet Seal Earrings. Credit: Courtesy of Denis and Anne Hruza.

If you aren’t a fan of punching people in the nose with your chemistry self-expression, a less obvious (but perhaps more hardcore) choice is jewelry made of used scientific instrument parts. ACS member Denis Hruza and retired chemist Anne Hruza recently informed Newscripts of their unique jewelry made from Agilent 6890 gas chromatography inlet gold seals.

Many of the high-vacuum seals on instruments are made of precious metals and therefore quite pricey. But once used and removed, they must be replaced, so old seals are retired from scientific applications. Enter Anne, who patiently collects GC inlet seals, which are placed in an insulation cup to seal the injection port and prevent sample degradation, and incorporates them into gold-plated earrings—now there’s some good recycling!

The Hzuras say that used scientific instrument parts can also be repurposed for a variety of other uses. For example, affixing used GC inlet septas—which are polymer bits that maintain gas pressure in the GC columns—to the back of picture frames prevents scratches on the wall. And packaging from GC autosampler vials can be great “junk drawer” organizers. But by far the most compliments they’ve gotten are for the gold earrings. After all, they might look like normal gold earrings to a passerby, but a true science nerd would be able to pick out those shiny GC inlet seals anywhere.

Author: Sophia Cai

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  1. Love those earrings! Very patient, gold seals do not need replacing all that often.

    Also, septa is the plural of septum, so no ‘s’ on the end 🙂

  2. Good catch, Renee. I thought I fixed that. Bacteria, bacterium. Septa, septum. So many plural exceptions to keep track of 😉

  3. Good catch, indeed, thanks!

    And yes, Anne Hruza mentioned that because they only change the inlet liner a couple of times a year, collecting enough seals for jewelry takes quite some time!

  4. Use of unusual items to make jewelry is both interesting and can produce some unique jewelry. A variation on the steampunk theme is becoming very popular.