Photo/IllutrationThe anonymous designer makes a necklace in the shape of the chemical structural formula for an amino acid, earrings indicating the components of a antipyretic painkiller and many other accessories at home in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. (Jiro Tsutsui)

  • Photo/Illustraion

IKOMA, Nara Prefecture--For those wanting to look stylish but brainy, a designer has conjured up accessories that utilize chemical structural formulas as motifs, which have generated a positive reaction among science buffs.

The artist, who chooses to remain anonymous both by name and gender, has been swamped with orders through online and other retail channels for “Chemical Formula Accessory” items that show how atoms are bonded together in chemical compounds.

Measuring only 8 millimeters, the regular hexagon-shaped silver part represents a benzene ring consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

It is put together with other parts indicating hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N) and other molecules to make structural formulas for amino acids, antipyretic painkillers, chemical components for colorants and other substances.

These precisely designed accessories, measuring a few centimeters, are made into necklaces, tie tacks and earrings sold under the brand name Unclarus’.

“(Structural formulas) are also beautiful as design objects,” the designer said. “I’ve made 100 varieties so far.”

The 28-year-old, who grew up in Ikoma, has loved science since junior high school and once dreamed of becoming a white-coated researcher.

The Unclarus’ designer went on to study at a preparatory school, but went blank at the time of the college entrance exam after feeling pressured to achieve results. Troubled by the thought of repeatedly succumbing to pressure after going on to college, the artist decided not to try too hard to seek higher education.

What came to mind was a brochure for a vocational school the artist happened to read in the classroom. Looking at structural formulas that were also featured in a chemistry data book used in senior high school, the designer had thought they would look pretty if made into earrings. Hoping to turn the idea into a reality, the artist enrolled at a vocational school in Osaka to study accessory making.

As a start, the aspiring designer made earrings modeled after a simple structural formula, six of which sold at an event.

“I find good in things, and other people also feel the same,” the artist recalled, adding that it helped develop confidence.

After graduation in 2012, the artist put some accessories up for sale at a flea market during a college campus festival. The items generated a buzz on Twitter before 30 pieces were sold in three days. A male customer also bought a necklace as a present, while another purchased a pin badge for himself.

“I want to express my elated feelings, which I had when I loved studying as a senior high school student, in a straightforward manner,” the artist said in explaining the intention behind the motifs.

The Unclarus’ designer also caters to special orders. A graduating college student who wanted to give a present to an instructor requested a brooch modeled after a chemical compound related to a research project. A male corporate worker asked the designer to make a tie tack themed on a nutrient component associated with his company’s health food product.

The designer hopes to sell the accessories overseas some day. Although the artist's dream inspired by chemistry may have changed form, it sure seems to be expanding.

The Chemical Formula Accessory items are available for purchase at “iichi” (https://www.iichi.com/people/UNCLARUS_k), a website that sells handmade crafts. Earrings are priced from 1,550 yen ($14), excluding tax, per piece.