Over the span of this past year, tooth gems have taken the Instagram scene by storm. The internet’s favorite “it-girls,” Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and most notably, Adwoah Aboah, have all donned this Y2K-inspired trend, solidifying the tooth gem’s place in mainstream media. Biker shorts, wired headphones, butterfly clips, and the resurgence of teeth bling have proven that Y2K is here to stay (Complex, 2021). However, decorative teeth jewelry was around centuries before Nelly ever came out with his hit song, “Grillz,” in 2005.
According to leading historians, the Etruscans were the first to wear teeth jewelry dating all the way back to 800 BCE. They were then popularized during the Mayan Empire between 300 CE and 900 CE as a symbol of status as well as a good-luck charm for fertile crop harvests and prosperity among Mayan civilizations(Krieger, 2019). Since the Mayan Empire, tooth gems have served as a deep-rooted trend, especially in Latino culture, that holds true even today. Since then, teeth modification and gold fillings have served as a significant cosmetic breakthrough worldwide.
But how does one go about shiny-ing up their smile?
In order to guarantee a beautiful smile for years to come, it is crucial to seek professional help and equipment in the gem application process. Dentists and oral hygienists emphasize the importance of avoiding applying tooth gems at home, for the process could lead to a buildup of bacteria and plaque, damaging the enamel of your teeth. However, such approaches tend to cost a copious amount of money. Because of this, I did a comprehensive search on New York City’s best, most affordable location for sprucing up your smirk on a budget.
Gems By Jojo- The West Village
The New School’s Jojo Schoen has become a Manhattan legend in the sphere of tooth jewelry. Schoen began doing her own gems in her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. When she started college at The New School, she received a myriad of compliments from her peers for her personal bling and decided to do extensive research and some investing to meet the popular youth demand for tooth gems. In an interview with Jojo, she claimed, “I do mostly students, and that’s definitely what sets me apart from other places. I started this business as a way for the tooth gems to be for students by students.” Jojo uses all clean and safe materials for her tooth gem application, with unbeatable prices starting at only sixteen dollars. Her gems last “anytime between two weeks and several months depending on the acidic makeup of your teeth” (Schoen). She has a wide variety of colors, designs, and gems to choose from, along with an extremely creative eye. You can schedule an appointment with Jojo through her Instagram account, @gemsbyjojo. If you live anywhere near Downtown Manhattan, Jojo is a one-stop-shop and my personal top pick for the trendiest, cheapest, and safest tooth gems in your neighborhood. Don’t miss out!
Living in New York City, we are graced with arguably the most potent creative youth presence in the country. Trend cycles and fashion statements change with the wind, but regardless of what is in trend, I’ve found that nobody is more present in the loop than our own peers. For this reason, it is crucial that, especially as FIT students, we continue to support small businesses. Young entrepreneurs like Jojo are the future. As New Yorkers, there is no more profound blessing than the endless stream of resources and opportunities that allow us to contribute to our own culture as young adults.