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Ask Peggy Skemp about her jewelry and she'll excitedly regale you with facts about parasites, amoebae, and other things that make normal people's skin crawl. Skemp originally planned to become a doctor specializing in infectious diseases, but decided against years of medical training and thousands of dollars in student loans in favor of studies at the Gemological Institute of America and the School of the Art Institute. She now creates jewelry inspired by microscopic organisms, animals, and human anatomy. "An artist can study everything," she reasons.
For her line of silver jewelry, Heron Adornment, she's cast pieces from the sex organs of orchids and a tiny, anatomically correct model of the human heart. She also creates more abstract enameled pieces under the name Trapeze Artist—these might be modeled after the sensory organ of a nematode, or in the shape of an empty honeycomb, to commemorate the potentially catastrophic die-off of honeybees around the world.