John Lennon’s tooth is to go on a tour of dental practices in a bid to promote awareness of oral cancer.
The nasher recently fetched £19,000 at auction when it was purchased by author, dentist and celebrity tooth collector Michael Zuk. Part of the tooth has since been turned into a necklace by Beverly Hills jewellery designer Ari Soffer. Named the John Lennon DNA Tooth Necklace, it has been valued at £15,600 ($25,000).
Over the next few weeks, the tooth necklace is being passed around 16 dental practices to highlight National Mouth Cancer Month, which will include free mouth screenings, promotions and fundraising events at each of the dental practices.
Hull Dentist Dr Chris Branfield was the first to borrow the tooth. Branfield said he was pleased to “offer Hull people a chance to diagnose mouth cancer before it’s too late. People even got to wear John Lennon’s tooth around their neck and have a picture taken too”.
Lennon originally gave the tooth to his former housekeeper Dot Jarlett at some point between 1964 and 1968. Instead of disposing of it, she gave it to her Beatles-fan daughter. The tooth went under the hammer at the Omega Auction House in Stockport, and ended up fetching £19,000 – nearly double its listed reserve price of £10,000.
Artist Kirsten Zuk – brother of Dr Zuk – incorporated another small piece of the molar in a clay model of the singer which was displayed at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in Canada.
Jeweller Soffer has made similar DNA jewellery pieces for stars such as Tommy Lee, Axl Rose and Slash.