All The Rage

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Designer drugs: Pricey pills become statement jewelry

March 29, 2011 | 10:05 am

Rage_designer drug jewelry

In case you missed it in Tuesday morning's Los Angeles Times, the LATExtra includes a fun, fashion-related story about a 61-year-old cancer survivor from Altadena who makes and sells a line of jewelry crafted from expensive but unused cancer-fighting pharmaceuticals.

According to Bob Pool's article, Susan Braig traces the genesis of the line -- called Designer Drug Jewelry, back to 2004 when she started chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, and found herself forking over $500 in out-of-pocket expenses for her first round of medication.

"I looked at the drugstore receipt and then at the little pills and wondered if they were precious gems,"  Braig said.

She first turned the pills into jewelry for a 2007 medically themed art exhibition and performance event organized by the NewTown Pasadena Foundation, for which she had crafted a princess tiara encrusted with her leftover cancer meds. Pool says Braig has been making and selling her handiwork ever since.

Braig's pieces sell for between $15 and $150 at craft fairs (she lists upcoming appearances on the line's Facebook page.

If you have the time, you should read Pool's much-more-detailed article in full (it also includes a video); Braig's story makes turning lemons into lemonade seem like child's play.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Prescription pills and capsules sit alongside jewelry-making supplies at Susan Braig's Altadena home. The 61-year-old cancer survivor has been turning pharmaceuticals into jewelry since 2007. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times