The internet is abuzz with the story of Mike Perrett, a British amputee who designed an engagement ring adorned with fragments of his shattered right tibia.
Perrett lost his right leg while volunteering for an Indian orphanage in 2006. He was playing volleyball with the children when the ball went astray and headed for a cliff. Perrett tried to save the ball, but lost his balance and fell 120 feet.
Perrett might have died had it not been for his right leg taking the brunt of the impact. Although doctors did attempt to save the leg, the injury wouldn’t heal and the leg had to be amputated.
“I hated the idea of it being taken away for ever,” Perrett told News of the World in 2010. “They agreed to give me part of the shin bone, which kept me happy.”
“It had been in my mind all the way through to make an engagement ring for Melita out of my own bone,” he continued. “Once I decided to propose, it seemed obvious.”
He worked with London-based jeweler Ingle & Rhode to create a one-of-a-kind symbol of their love — a ring so personal that it would, literally, be a part of him.
The modern platinum ring features two triangular inlays of human bone centered by a traditional round .25-carat white diamond. The design file, above, shows the inlays rendered in yellow metal. The ring at the top of this post shows Melita wearing the actual ring with the bone inlays.
“He was told he was lucky to be alive,” Melita recently revealed to BuzzFeed Life. “The force taken to break the bone would have skewered him if his legs had not buckled.”
Melita told the popular social news website that she loves her ring because of the depth of symbolism behind it.
“I guess why it’s so special to me is because... it shows him bravely coming to terms with something like that so positively… which has to be a good attribute for marriage,” she said.
If you’re wondering if there’s something not so sanitary about using human bones in jewelry, don’t fear. The bones were completely sterilized before they were fabricated into the engagement ring.
The couple married on a beach in the Philippines in November 2011. They currently live in Guernsey, a British isle just eight miles off the coast of France. They have one child and another on the way.
The bone-inlay engagement ring was not Perrett's first foray into this unusual jewelry. He told News of the World in 2010 that he bought a Dremel multi-tool to form shin bone fragments into jewelry for himself and other members of his family.
“The first pieces I made were a necklace and an earring for myself, and cufflinks for my dad,” he said.
Images: Melita and Mike Perrett. Design file of the ring by Ingle & Rhode.