The Terrible Idea That is Chicken Bone Earrings

We’ll give credit where credit is due — Kentucky has some cool claims to fame. It produced Jennifer Lawrence, Abe Lincoln, and the mint julep, after all. It has a [dubious] stake on the invention of the high five, and boasts the only city built within a meteor’s crater. But Kentucky’s most recent development? That matter is a bit more questionable. Offensive, even. And definitely bizarre. I'm talking about the gold-plated Kentucky Fried Chicken bone earrings produced in partnership between the state advocacy group Kentucky for Kentucky and Megan Carroll of Meg C Jewelry Gallery.

The 14-karat pieces were crafted in the Bluegrass State — yes, using actual KFC chicken bones selected from an eight-piece takeout dinner — before going on sale yesterday. There are only 15 pairs available, and each costs $200. Just in time for your holiday shopping! (Insert eye roll here.)

The most shocking bit? This is not Kentucky’s first foray into the poultry-accessory business. In June, Carroll produced necklaces using the same process — cleaning and drying the bones, sealing and varnishing them with graphite conductive paint, copper electro-forming them for up to four hours, then plating — and the response was apparently good enough(!) that she decided to expand. KFC isn't technically affiliated with the project, but color me curious: I'd love to know what it thinks about its chicken bones turned couture.

Listen, I’m all for turning trash into treasure. And I’m not against a funky accessory — I once bought a bracelet made of petrified scorpion from a street vendor in Bangkok. And I get that macabre jewelry serves a historically venerable purpose. During Victorian times, grieving members of a community might incorporate the hair of a deceased loved one into a pocket watch or bracelet to wear for comfort during times of mourning. And even today, horse hair and rodent bones (from already dead rodents) are being turned into beautiful, award-winning, and environmentally friendly pieces that become “actual relics of previous lives.” (Pearl-encrusted rat skull, anyone?) It’s all meant to be a show of respect, and a symbol that death is not a creepy and morbid bummer but rather, a part of the life cycle. I’m down with all of that.

So if this was the incentive behind the KFC jewelry, I might not be so skeeved by it. Except…it’s really hard to believe that Carroll — who is described on the Kentucky for Kentucky page as “crushing” instead of “eating” her KFC dinners — is trying to honor the legacy of birds who’ve spent their lives within the unfortunate reality of the factory farm industry. While its founding colonel might look like the friendly, grandfather-next-door type, KFC has come under fire not just for its artery-clogging product, but for its unethical practices, including drugging and terrorizing its chickens. But hey, who cares about that when you’ve got jewelry that’ll make you feel like a “Southern Belle Bam-Bam,” amirite?!

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images News/Getty Images

All sarcasm aside, if Carroll truly wants to be “socially conscious” as her gallery’s "about me" page suggests, here's hoping she finds something other than torture to immortalize.

Images: Twitter/KYforKY