Cadaverous Amulets for the Modern Aesthete

How intricate a mechanism the body, how elegant the curvature of a clavicle! It’s no wonder so many artists find themselves inspired by the wondrous hidden framework of living creatures. Collected below, some curious work by three jewelers, adventurous artisans who believe in extending the life of anatomical construction well beyond the years of its original owners.

Fist up, Julia Deville. Miss Deville’s biography hints at an interesting character I’d love to have over for tea. She is a trained cobbler, silversmith and taxidermist enthralled with nature and its inner workings. Fusing these areas of expertise she created her line – Disce Mori. Inspired by Victorian mourning artifacts and jewelry, Julia’s beautiful website‘s dark clockwork theme is as entrancing as her pieces. Jet is paired with silver cast from animal bones among a selection of cuff links, buttonhole adornments and fob chains alongside necklaces and bracelets. Also here are less orthodox items – a brooch featuring a preserved mouse, for instance. Bold, yet far from costume fare, Disce Mori pieces are as timeless as they are macabre. The “Taxidermy” section is small, but shows a sense of humor with its “Kitten Rug” [exactly what it sounds like]. Viewing her works as reminders to enjoy the present, Julia makes a point to mention that the animals she uses have all died of natural causes.

Follow beyond the jump for two more purveyors of life-affirming adornments.

Welcome to the quiet insanity of Purevile! Post-Apocalyptic-Victorian accessories and clothing for Time Traveling Dandies, Femme Fatales of all ages [and genders!] and all those in-between. Oddities and Curiosities of all shapes and sizes. Things found in an attic.Things forgotten in a basement.Things behind glass in a museum. So open your mind and follow Alice down the rabbit hole… Curiouser and curiouser!

The delightful introduction above says it all. I rubbed shoulders with Wren the dandy creator at Dances of Vice and witnessed his beautiful vending table – a miniature museum in itself. The lush display was awe-inspiring, filled with vintage mannequin hands, glass cases and antlers. All this before I even saw the jewelry! If Disce Mori is bold, Purevile Industries and Mercantile Inc.
is downright audacious. Medium-sized jaw bones, ornate Victorian drawer-pulls, vintage chandelier crystals and entire doll heads decorate these decorations. Asymmetry is king in the world of Purevile, alongside the absurd! I leave you with this description of one of the pieces pictured below. Visit the Etsy shop to check out the rest of the  giggle-worthy vignettes.

Endangered: You thought you were the last of your kind – special, an anomaly. Until you felt a strange longing and heard those footfalls behind you…

Custom Creature Taxidermy Arts‘ jewelery selection is far more understated, taxidermy being the main focus of the site. You can acquire no-nonsense muskrat or alligator feet earrings and pendants are strung on simple metal chain or black cord, for an every day look and price. The artist behind Custom Creature is  Sarina Brewer – a licensed taxidermist and animal lover, her passion is driven, like Julia Deville‘s by a deep respect for the natural world and traditional death rites. Siting the mummies of Egypt as well as the preservation of saints’ bodies by the Catholics, Sarina believes in taxidermy as reverence. The animals in her work are never killed for art’s sake – she uses salvaged roadkill and donations, making sure no part goes to waste.

Sarina’s true passion and specialty is the creation of fictional composite animals. Charming and often hilarious, these are creatures you would find in a fairy tale or a sideshow. FeeGee mermaids, zombie squirrels, sea devils and chupacabras are all here for your viewing pleasure next to a variety of winged and horned cats. My personal favorite is the beautiful Capricorn below.

34 Responses to “Cadaverous Amulets for the Modern Aesthete”

  1. Suzanne Says:

    That’s a very sweet feature entirely to my taste!

    I always liked Purevile’s jewellery for its upcycled/found aspects as I often have difficulties deciding whether the animals/bones used by artists are really ethically sourced (I’m vegan).

    I can also highly recommend Etsy seller Loved to Death – her works are ever so sweetly morbid.

  2. Zoetica Says:

    Oh my! Suzanne, what beautiful jewelry Loved to Death has – thank you so much for that link! I’m favoriting practically everything. Beautiful, and a different flavor than the artists featured here, a sort of blend of all their styles. Thank you!

  3. Suzanne Forbes Says:

    I went to art school with Sabrina and she was always bringing in dead animals that she’d found on the road and gluing them to canvases with tar. It was completely awesome. She was very beautiful and a total goth snob to me, but what can you do about a thing like that.

  4. Zoetica Says:

    Suzanne F, what a coincidence! She has some of her old art up on the bio/statement section of her site. Ah, goff and snobbery so often go hand in hand! At least they did back in the day – these days I come across many sunshine spookies, come to think of it.

  5. Suzanne Says:

    Haha! I can so relate to the favourite-everything problem. I suffer from the same disorder when it comes to Loved to Death’s pieces and can only hope that Christmas and/or money arrives earlier this year. Glad you like them!

  6. PUREVILE! Says:

    What a lovely Blog!!! And I’m in such amazing company as well….
    ..I do careful sourcing on all of my bones and once living items…I am not a Vegan {but a former vegetarian} however I understand the concern for cruelty free items….I prefer the naturally dead anyway…It is so much more representational of the cyclical nature of life in my work…n’est pas????
    I’m also glad you see the HUMOR I try to infuse in things…people sometimes just see “gruesome” or “creepy”…But this is supposed to be a celebration of things once alive!!! So at least in my description I like to add in a little laugh…or at least a knowing wink!!!!

  7. Vivacious G Says:

    Wonderful stuff! I really like what she has to say on her website, in her artist’s statement and her bio.

  8. Alice Says:



    I feel sorry for my family–I think I’ll be doing my Christmas shopping exclusively on these sites!

  9. kim Says:

    i’ve coveted that skull piece for a long, long time. way to inflame.

  10. [?] Says:

    i am currently making a few jewellery pieces for a uni assignment, and these artists’ were my inspiration :) I particularly like Julia Deville’s work, and i managed to get a glimpse of them in real life. They’re really quite tiny and fragile

  11. rootofsilence Says:

    Have long been a fan of Sabrina Brewers work, 3 years back she sorted out a pair of matching cat paw pendants for me.. Meow!

  12. Zoetica Says:

    Purevile! Your work is perfectly suited for us and I hope to be placing that order soon, oh yes.

    VivaciousG – did you check out the other two jewelers after the cut? I have a feeling you would dig them both!

    Alice, if you find Disce Mori available in the US, please let me know – I haven’t has any luck.

    [?] I hope you post a pic here when you’re done!

    Rootofsilence – luck you! I could use a pendant or a keychain myself. But my heart still belongs to that $2,000 Capricorn.

  13. Lady Lavona Says:

    Hello Loves!
    First of all, I should tell you I got my copy Coilhouse in the mail…it’s AMAZING!

    Anyway, I just want to say I’m the first person to sell Taxidermy jewelry on Etsy! I mean of the furry and winged variety…Before me there was Silentcheesecake Designs (, she sells wet specimens, octopus tentacles, jewel beetles, ect. And also Ami Nyitray Designs ( who sells dried specimens like tiny seahorses, starfish, bones, and the most amazing tiny living terrarium pendants!

    I’ve started an Etsy Team called the Cabinet of Curiosities, I’m gathering Etsy’s finest purveyors of the weird and wonderful. That way people can find us easily! Purevile is a Team Member! LOVE her!

    As for Julia Devile…she is a real sweetheart! You can contact her on Myspace, and I’m sure she would be willing to sell you something since her line isn’t available in the States!

    It seems we have a trend on our hands…and as Suzanne mentioned, we should be concerned about ethics here. All of my jewelry is either Antique/Vintage (pre-1950’s) with the exception of my Taxidermy Crow and Magpie foot pendants which are REALLY ethically sourced. I also recently started buying studio leftovers (spare parts) from the lovely and talented Sarina Brewer! Sarina Rocks!

    My friend Emine has a GORGEOUS line of Taxidermy Jewelry called CLOVEN HOOF. She is based in LA. Her line is in it’s 4th Season and is currently available at Urban Flower Grange Hall ( as well as a few other high end boutiques. She has worked with the fabulous Douglas Little of D.L. & Co. And her work is currently being shown adorning Chanel and Miu Miu! Her website is being re-vamped, I’ll stop by later with the link! She and I recently did a trade! I got to peek at this seasons look book, you’ll just flip your lid! Meanwhile, check out this beautiful spread (you’ll LOVE it!), go to page 16:

    Speaking of Gothic Snobbery, and now that I have all the honorable mentions out of the way…I’m going to talk some trash. Loved to Death is shamelessly riding the coat tails of other people’s hard work. First, they opened up their shop with their Mice Dioramas…these were being done by Jeanie M. of D.L. & Co. for several seasons before that. Also, much of their line is knock-offs of Cloven Hoof Designs…including their bio which was copied almost verbatim from Cloven Hoof’s old website! After I released my first bird claw pendant design on etsy, they started their taxidermy jewelry line selling what? You guessed it, a taxidermy bird claw pendants and earings. Coincidence? I think not…they also knocked off my little teeth with fangs pendant shortly after I listed mine…and recently my tiny deer hoofs, they just listed a little hoof pendant. I search high and low to bring original designs to the marketplace! Not cool! It’s one thing to be inspired by your peers…but this something else entirely.

    All that aside, the animals and birds they use are bred in captivity for the sole purpose of being sold to human consumers…labs, pet stores, ect. The ones that don’t make it are skinned or freeze dried and sold as curios to places like Necromance, the Bone Room. Now I’m am guilty of purchasing such items from time to time. I love Necromance! But I wouldn’t sell such items to my customers and then state “No animal has EVER been killed for use in our work” No, I’m sure that’s not what the guys had in mind over at the lab. And we know they are not found dead…I don’t think the streets of LA have much in the way of roadkill…so where are all these dead things coming from then? Just be straight forward you know? Allow people like Suzanne make a conscious choice based on honesty, as this is a matter that deeply concerns her.

    O.K. I’ll stop now…I just think people should be aware! It’s a small community and MOST of us really respect and support one another as well as our customers. And just for the record, I’m not talking behind anyone’s back here. Loved to Death already knows how I feel about this because I said something…I threw stones, they threw stones…it was ugly!

    Whew…that was alot! Anyway, stop by visit my blog Lady Lavona’s Cabinet of Curiosites…I think you’ll like what’s found there!

    Warm Regards,
    xo Lavona

    p.s. I can’t wait for the new Coilhouse to come out!!!

  14. Zoetica Says:

    Lavona, what a coincidence – Eminé and I went to school together! I believe last time i saw her was at Necromance. Thank you for all the lovely links – so much to browse and cover. Mmm!

  15. Lady Lavona Says:

    Small world! And it seems smaller and smaller because of the internet! Some of my favorite people in the world are people I’ve met with like minded interests, online. We all need to move somewhere and declare our own State or something! Here’s her Myspace URL if you want to contact her:

    Oh, and here’s my info too ;)

    xo Lavona

  16. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Just…just…ALL kinds of hell yes.

  17. Michelle Says:

    Beautiful jewelry, amazing creativity, but in the end, I just want that cabinet card photo of the deceased conjoined twins. HOLY. CRAP. Amazing,

  18. Loved To Death Says:

    Thanks for all of the kind words and compliments. We really appreciate it. Julia Deville and Sarina Brewer are great designers and amazing artists that deserve much respect.
    As for the “trash talking” which we will not grace with a response…..
    Just remember don’t believe everything you read,especially on the internet. Talk is poison.

  19. Jessica Says:

    What pretty treats!

    Note to Zoetica et al. The lovely and talented Custom Creature Taxidermy diva is Sarina, not Sabrina.

  20. Mer Says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Jessica. Zo, eez fixxored.

    Sarina’s work makes me giggle with glee. Is it crass for me to mention that she’s a five-alarm-stunner, to boot?! (I actually first discovered her critters –not to mention her gorgeousness– via this portrait, taken by Robyn Von Swank. Seriously, girl. I mean, DAMN.

  21. Jessica Says:

    Thanks doll.
    Nah, not crass. ;) She’s quite crush-worthy, that one! Her work is sooo incredible up close. She also *officially* has one of the most amazing homes I’ve EVER seen…this one is in her parlor, with a teeny, tiny bit of her skull & pickled punks collection in the background…

    (Image by Robyn Von Swank)

  22. Zoetica Says:

    How come I’ve never seen these shots by Robyn? Thank you by pointing them out, ladies. Beauty behind lovely creatures, indeed [something you know a bit about, Jessica!].

  23. Jessica Says:

    You’re quite welcome….awww, shucks. *blushes*

  24. PUREVILE! Says:

    Allthough I guess I DO have a penchant for wearing skirts occasionally and a bit of make-up, I am a male!!!! No biggie!!!!

    {Michelle} The Siamese twin image is actually from a book on the Mutter Museum!!!!

    Again…Just want to state how excited I was to be included in this Blog…i have been creating for AGES but just recently started selling things {not even a year yet!!} and trying to spread the good word of PUREVILE! to anyone willing to listen….So thank you again Zoetica and the lovely ladies of Coilhouse for creating such a nourishing safe-haven for like minded sicko’s like moi!!!!!!

    The revolution will be ACCESSORIZED!!!!!

  25. Lady Lavona Says:

    OMG!!! After all our online convos back and forth! There are sooo many girls on Etsy, I just assumed you were a girl too. Plus I remember discussing something about back in the day, being pastey faced black lipstick wearing goth kids. I should have known better because most of my male friends actually wore more make-up than me in High School! LOL!

    And Robyn Von Swank…goddess of photography in my book!!! I’m saving my money to fly her out to Chicago. We have talked about working on a few photo projects together, so I have to get her out here! She wants to explore the city so she’d stay for about a week! I was trying to set up another shoot for her with a friend of mine…I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I thought it would be cool to line up a few things for her while she’s out here.

    Jessica, you live in Chicago too don’t you!? If you are interested in getting photographed by her let me know. I know she’d probably love to have someone like you in her portfolio! Maybe we can coordinate something with her.

    Sarina…hotness! Those pics remind me of the kind of gal who can talk you into playing a game of Russian Roulette!

  26. Jessica Says:

    …just stumbled upon this work…quite delightful!

    @ Lady Lavona: Yes, I’m in Chicago. Do let me know if Robyn comes to town. Her work is lovely.

  27. Amore de Mori Says:

    thank you very much Jessica :)

    being in the taxidermy accessory buisness myself i cant believe what a small world it is seeing all these other similar minds!

    i have been a fan of Sarina for quite some time now and became a fellow member of M.A.R.T about a year ago.

    I have to say i am instantly in love with julia de ville’s work and really can not believe i have never come across her before-her items are simply beautiful, i feel like such a faust in comparisson!

    all in all a wonderful and inspiring post

    Bonnie Wood of Amore de Mori

  28. Amore de Mori Says:

    sorry for my ignorance but i just realised Jessica is in fact Jessica Joslin *blush*
    out of all the people doing ‘taxidermy’ works yours are by far my favorite. your work is like something out of a dream-it takes my breath away!
    if you like the comb i would happily make one for you as a present from a fan. im friends with you on myspace if you wanted to take me up on my offer you can contact me there (

  29. Mer Says:


    Jessica Joslin: Bringing out the *OMG SQUEEE SPLOOGE* in taxidermy aesthetes since 1992. ;D

  30. Jessica Says:

    Thank you so much Bonnie! *big grin* Much obliged and deeply flattered. I’ll gladly take you up on your ever-so-gracious offer. (Note to come soon.)

    I think that I found your work in the Wurzeltod treasure trove …?

    @ Mer *Gustav is riding his tricycle around in gleeful circles.*

  31. Amore de Mori Says:

    if i was there i wasnt aware of it but i have indeed posted on the taxidermy thread so that may have been where you saw me.

    i would be very honoured to make a comb for you-i look forward to your note!

  32. taxidermyfan Says:

    Everyone should be happy that this community and trend exsists. If not no one would be making money, right? Guess what, it’s all been done before! You are all just doing your own version, which is fantastic! I saw that Necromance was mentioned, let’s talking about how Nancy has been making jewelry just like all of the above people for the past twenty years or so, and selling online. I would also like to point out that both Emine (cloven hoof) and Audra (loved to death) worked at Necromance… coincidence? I think not. I’m sure both parties even used Necromance resources for supplies. Copying is flattery and even Nancy wasn’t the first. So why doesn’t everyone just get along? There is enough business for everyone.

  33. ClaireN Says:

    I’ve seen many pieces of Julia de Ville’s work in the ‘flesh’ and they are equisite. I especially love ‘kitten rug’. If you ever needed an excuse to visit Tasmania, Australia; go to MONA. Its all dark and stuff. The bottom level is referred to as ‘the gore level’
    see also for related steampunk goodness

  34. Sarina Brewer Says:

    “Goth snob” LOL! I think you have the wrong gal Suzanne. I was firmly entrenched in 1960’s psychedelic paisley polyester and white patent leather shoes in college. I recall zero interaction between us in school so I’m perplexed as to how I earned this reputation with you. I can only deduct that your feelings stem from a critique during a painting class(?) If your feathers get ruffled over constructive criticism about your work an art school wasn’t the best choice for you… just say’n. That aside, if I do actually owe you an apology for an indiscretion of the past let me know, otherwise keep those sour grapes in the closet sister! Yikes!