Dental Jewelry: The History of Putting Diamonds on Teeth

teeth, diamond
via pixabay

When you turn on the news or browse through social media, you are bound to see a few celebrities, sports stars, and others with flashy diamond grillz or decorative gold grillz. To some, this may seem like a new fad or trend among those who stay abreast of the latest fashion movements. However, using precious gems and metals to enhance teeth has a long history and one that’s pretty interesting, too.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of putting diamonds on the teeth and how it has become a fashion statement today.

Were Grillz First in Ancient Egypt or Earlier?

If you search online, you may find information stating the Egyptians were the first to wear grillz – silver or gold facades, dentures, or implants. However, grills date back to the Etruscans. There’s evidence that grillz were first used in Italy’s Tuscan region from 800 BCE to around 200 BCE. To create the look, Etruscans would weave teeth together with gold wire that wasn’t any thicker than a rubber band. The oldest example that has been found of this type of tooth adornment is dated to 7 BCE. It belonged to a wealthy Etruscan woman with extremely healthy teeth; however, they were removed, welded together with gold bands, and placed back in her mouth. At this time, it was not a dentist doing this work. Instead, goldsmiths are credited with the creation of ancient grillz.

Tooth Gems in the Mayan Culture

Some social activists have called out the use of tooth gems as a type of “cultural appropriation.” While this is true, countless celebrities still get them today.

Also, wearing gems in the teeth isn’t a passing trend or fad. It has been a part of Latino culture for decades, with examples of grillz being seen in the Mayan Empire.

From around 300 CE until 900 CE, the Mayans ruled an empire that is modern-day Mexico and regions in Central America. Queens, kings, and other nobility would drill holes into their teeth and then put jade in them. The color of the jade showed wealth – the lighter the stone, the wealthier the person wearing it.

The purpose of the gems was to make a statement. It showed that these individuals were responsible for fertile crops, rains, and ensuring their people were prosperous and fed. While the stones may have been used to enhance a wearer’s appearance, it is considered more than just a fashion statement.

The Global Phenomenon of Gold and “Blinged” Out Teeth

While tooth gems and grillz have been present in almost all of history, gold teeth are even a more universal statement. Gold was used for fillings and replacing teeth for centuries. It was used almost everywhere worldwide – there’s even evidence of Vikings using gold in and on their teeth.

It seems that when people first started wanting to preserve their teeth or modify them for cosmetic purposes, they looked for materials that would help with this goal. Since gold was available everywhere and is a malleable metal, it makes sense that gold for teeth would be seen worldwide.

via pixabay

Are Grills Right for You?

There’s no question that grillz definitely help you make a statement. While this is true, you need to consider whether this is a statement you want to make. Just be sure your mouth and teeth are healthy before investing like this. It will help ensure that you can enjoy all that modern grills have to offer.

Also, take time to learn about all the available options regarding grillz. This will help you find one that suits your needs and budget.

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