By Harriet Whitehead
A ‘happy go lucky’ dad has defended his bizarre career – making jewellery from human BONES.
Sheikh Nasrullah’s grim collection of human remains are stored in his kitchen where he painstakingly crafts them into necklaces, rings and walking stick handles.
The former painter and decorator, 49, sells the unusual pieces for £35 to £125 each after snapping up skulls and skeletons from antique shops and medical suppliers.
Single dad-of-four Sheikh, from Dartford, Kent, believes he is one of the only bone jewellers in the UK.
He said: “There’s not really that many people doing it in the UK so it’s quite a new thing, but there is a market for it.
“There are a lot of taxidermists and bone collectors but I’ve not come across many people who are making jewellery out of bones.
“It’s a bit of a unique selling point making it out of human bones rather than animal.
“People could get their hands on animal bones and carve something out of them but that would be too easy.
“When you’re using human bones it’s unique, so you can command more of a price.
“When I look at a bone I don’t see that it’s any different to an animal bone – I just think ‘when you’re gone you’re gone’.
“If somebody wanted to make something out of my leg, I would say ‘crack on’. It’s each to their own – I would never judge anybody.
“I do treat the bones with respect. I’m not flinging them around, but I’m not working with them with any sort of reverence either.
“I’m aware of what they are, but I’m not wrapping them in cotton wool.
“I’m not a dark person at all, I’m not thinking about death when I’m making them – I’m actually happy-go-lucky.”
Sheikh, who has always been into restoration and upcycling, first developed his vivid imagination and taste for the macabre as a youngster.
The 49-year-old is now selling his wares online to a global community of goths, pagans and people interested in the occult and witchcraft.
Sheikh works from his kitchen table, where he also keeps his collection of skulls, bone pendants, a lamp made out of a human spine and a skull cap which he uses as a bowl for his rhubarb and custard sweets.
He said: “When I was at school I would draw quite macabre things, so it’s always been of interest.
“One of the first things I bought was a femur bone then I cut both ends off and made them into walking stick handles.
“I was left with the middle section, then I thought ‘what can I do with that?’
“I cut them into segments shaped like a polo mint, so I thought I could make them into rings.
“It was a combination of artistic need – of wanting to create and make things – and thinking I could make some money.
“Some people will ask if I can carve a certain sigil into pieces. I’ve also had silver rings that I’ve moulded bones into.
“Doing this kind of work is the same feeling you get if you restore an old chest of drawers – you put new handles on it and decorate it and you get that feeling of satisfaction from making something, especially if it turns out well.”
In the UK, bones can be privately owned but must not be displayed without a licence, according to the Human Tissue Authority, which governs the sale and public display of human tissue.
An HTA spokesman said it’s an offence to ‘engage in commercial dealings in controlled material which are removed from a human body for the purpose of transplantation’ but said it was not currently illegal to sell body parts or tissue for other purposes or display these online.
The spokesman added: “If the bones are less than 100 years old and they are being displayed as part of the sale an HTA licence would be required as this would constitute public display, but bones under 100 years old can be owned privately without an HTA licence.
“The public display of human tissue is an activity which is subject to licensing by the HTA and strict legal requirements relating to consent.
“This does not apply to the sharing of moving or still images, which are not covered by the Human Tissue Act 2004.
“Those involved in the sale or purchase of human bodies, body parts or tissue, and those who may host adverts for such sales (such as internet sites), may be subject to their own professional standards or other external requirements.”