WINDSOR TERRACE — This tooth fairy doesn't leave coins, she leaves sterling silver.
Jewelry designer Lisa Hamilton's Brooklyn Tooth Fairy service creates keepsake necklaces and bracelets out of baby teeth, so kids and parents alike can wear a permanent reminder of days of wiggly molars and canines.
Though some find the idea stomach-turning, Hamilton says once people see the dental-themed finery, they're overcome with emotion. The pieces don't use the actual baby teeth, they're made with metal casts of the tooth, usually sterling silver or gold.
"They mark periods of time that are never coming back," Hamilton, 50, said of the pieces. "People go, 'Ewww, a tooth, are you kidding me?' But then people see it and they're like, 'That's adorable.'"
Hamilton is a lifelong artist who learned silversmithing at Williamsburg's Fitzgerald Jewelry. She now lives in Windsor Terrace but spent years living in Park Slope and describes herself as a "typical Park Slope parent." She believes art should be personally meaningful and doesn't shy away from the sentimental in her work.
Hamilton teaches couples how to make their own wedding bands, decorates her apartment with her children's early drawings instead of framed professional art, and made prints out of close-up photos of her own body taken minutes after the birth of one of her three kids.
When her third and final child, Johnny Cash Hamilton-Janak, now a third-grader at P.S. 10, lost his first tooth, Hamilton wanted to preserve the moment. She made a cast of the tooth and created a brass charm bracelet for herself and family members.
She posted a photo of the piece on her jewelry line's website, and soon people started asking her to make versions using their children's teeth.
Prices start at $100 for a simple sterling silver pendant of one tooth, but "the sky's the limit," Hamilton says, and some customers have decorated the teeth jewelry with diamonds and rubies. She's also gotten requests from pet owners to make jewels out of their departed dog's teeth.
“Most childhood souvenirs are ephemeral,” Hamilton said. “This is a sentimental, beautiful memento for generations. It will last longer than the person."