Skin Removal Scarification = Profit?

Australian Israeli-born and currently Iceland-based conceptual jeweler Sruli Recht — who tends to have a wonderful sci-fi aesthetic to his fashion and design that is less silly than much of the “far out” ideas too-often presented by his field — recently had a roughly 1/2″ by 4″ strip of skin cut off his belly which was then tanned and wrapped around a 24k gold ring, now being offered for a half million dollars. The somewhat grotesque design doesn’t just look like random leather — it’s even got wiry belly hair. He calls it the “Forget Me Knot”. Recht has lots of experience working with dubious organic materials — animal and fish remains including a stillborn lamb, hair, spider silk from a modified goat — but this is the first time he’s used human skin.


Here’s a graphic YouTube video of the procedure and some stills from it. The procedure is actually quite fascinating if you’re more used to the sort of skin removal scars done in the body modification world where the concern is the scar, rather than the excised tissue. You’ll see the doctor first spend a surprisingly long time anesthetizing the area, then cutting the outline using a scalpel, and then quickly cutting off the strip of skin using a pair of surgical scissors. Next you’ll see an interesting use of an electrocautery tool to stop small bleeders, where instead of applying the electrocautery tool to the wound itself, the vessels are pinched using tweezers, which are then electrified. Finally the wound is sutured closed.

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Recht’s work is in a way another example of the “fine art” world catching up to and borrowing from the body modification world (Recht is no outsider though, and has tattoos as well as large gauge inner conch piercings), which has been using procedure remnants in jewelry for ages. Here are a few examples formerly featured on BME — a couple examples of removed nipples encased in cast acrylic resin (this seems to be a trend!), and a heart-shaped piece of human skin and cartilage inside a set of earplugs, also cast in clear resin. Below the pictures are a list of the previous entries that cover them in more detail.

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PS. If anyone wants a strip of my belly skin — I have plenty of it, more than I need — I’ll sell it to you for a hell of a lot less than a half million dollars!

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Skin Removal Scarification = Profit?

  1. very interesting, was unusual to see a surgeon perform the procedure, they don’t often do any kind of non-medical mod. as for the idea i find it quite interesting, not something I’ve come across entirely though it does remind me of Anthropodermic bibliopegy to a certain extent. one thing i came to realise about myself is i probably watch too many mod and surgical videos since i quite happily watched that while slicing off hunks of salami and eating them…

  2. I like the idea of that ring, very surrealist. I can’t imagine actually wearing it though haha.

  3. I’d like to specify that the “electocautery tool” is a monopolar scalpel, which means it needs to be used with twezzers in order to work. On the other hand the “electrocautery tool” you see in action most of the times, is a bipolar scalpel, which has not that need, because it simply works differently :)

  4. Pingback: This Takes “Who Are You Wearing?” to a Whole New Level. « sniderwriter

  5. This is a little far out even for me. Wearing some man’s hairy belly skin on my finger? Ugh I don’t know.

  6. It’s interesting, but I don’t want to wear it. I don’t really like yellow gold. A while ago I saw an ad on craigslist in NYC for someone who wanted strips of human skin. They needed them fresh and a certain size and thickness (pretty large). I wonder what they were going to do with them. It was not nearly enough money for me to skin myself, if not for my own pleasure.

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