Tooth Burnishers

Ever since I came across 'tooth burnishers' whilst skim reading (I presume) A Treatise Concerning The Arte of Limning by Nicholas Hilliard, I became rather fascinated. I believe it was weasel-tooth burnishers which were mentioned, for burnishing the gold details on miniature portraits. Dog-tooth burnishers were and are far more prevalent in general, and can still be bought today - although they are made from agate which has been shaped to simulate a dog's tooth and are used most in bookbinding (again, for gilding).

Burnishers are one of my favourite tools, and generally underused by jewellers - except perhaps in stone-setting (I am talking about steel burnishers, here). In my opinion, nothing sets off a matte surface on metal like a burnished edge.
I am also rather interested in teeth, and have quite a collection of real, porcelain, acrylic, plaster models and various paraphernalia and associated tools. So, I determined to make a collection of various (tooth) burnishers.......

Tooth Burnishers by Anastasia Young

Left to Right

  • Kitten milk tooth burnisher (vintage bone handle)

  • Human canine burnisher (vintage bone handle)

  • Agate burnisher (found object; broken)*

  • Houndstooth burnisher (steel, wooden handle laser engraved (by Frieda Munro) and inlaid with epoxy putty; sterling silver ferrule)

  • Found object (tool made from unknown tooth set into a coin with a steel blade)*

  • Fox tooth burnisher (vintage bone handle with crochet hook)

  • Crab claw burnisher (Thames shore find, vintage wooden handle with brass mount)

  • Human tooth burnisher (epoxy resin; acrylic handle - turning by Paul Wells)

  • Shark tooth burnisher (boxwood handle)

  • Retractable agate burnisher*

* I didn't make these ones.