Betony Vernon: Jewel Tools

Clit clips, nipple rings, waist chains… there’s no shortage of body jewellery for women who want to explore their sexuality. So what’s out there for men who want to enhance their orgasms and enjoy a little sexual ceremony? Designer and sexual anthropologist Betony Vernon introduces William Wood to her jewel tools and the concept of a second skin…

A stand-out, versatile and quality set of jewellery is a must for every well-groomed woman.  And increasingly it is not just matching ear studs, bracelets and necklaces. Chokers and long dangling single earrings are the hot items this season, or so I am told. Body jewellery is also very much on the ‘must have’ list. Sumptuous ankle and waist-chains have adorned celebrity beach bodies this summer. And, of course, more women are embracing piercings. It is now rarer to see a bare navel than one with a stud or ring in it. Women are being that much more daring and sporting bars and rings on their lady parts.

Being one among those from a slightly older generation, I can only admire this creativity and adornment. My first sighting of anyone wearing erotic jewellery was back in the early 1980s when I came across a stunningly beautiful woman in a men’s magazine who had a gold ring in her labia. It looked absolutely sensational. And she really stood out from the crowd – none of the other glamour models had anything like it.

And that sparked a desire that took about twenty years to fulfil. Why, I thought at the time, couldn’t a bloke have something so beautiful to wear on his most important appendage?

A decade or two later, when the whole notion of body jewellery for men became more accepted and Prince Alberts began to appear on the scene, I did consider getting a piercing. But it looked frightfully complicated. And – sorry to any readers who have (or whose partners have) a PA, while I thought I could stand the pain all right, I was put off by the length of the healing process and the thought of having to sit down for a pee every time I visited the gents’ toilet. I looked into alternatives, but none quite seemed to achieve what I wanted.

I was not quite sure what I wanted, apart from something dazzling, different and sensuous, yet also masculine, to adorn my most valued member.

Sado Chic Collection by Betony Vernon, image by Lara Gillberto

Sado Chic Collection by Betony Vernon, image by Lara Gillberto

And then, while surfing the net, I chanced upon a series of salons run by Coco de Mer in London. There was one called ‘Jewel Tools’ being fronted by a talented, upcoming designer called Betony Vernon who specialised in creating jewels that also have a sexual aspect; jewels which not only looked really good, but feel great and also have a function as some form of sexual plaything or tool. What is more, having looked at her website, all her pieces are designed brilliantly and strikingly original. No-one I had come across was thinking, designing or creating anything like this.

So, I checked that men could attend, booked on to the salon and turned up at Coco de Mer’s shop on a cold, damp, wintry afternoon. Once inside I immediately realised that I was the only bloke there.

Oh dear.

I needn’t have worried. The weather might have been cold and inhospitable, but inside it was warm and welcoming. The women were so lovely and encouraging – delighted that a man was interested in this whole area – and as soon as Betony started to explain her work and show us her designs we were captivated.

She started by explaining her interest in jewellery and how she tried to design pieces that didn’t just look good, but also felt good to wear and use. And so she introduced us to the whole jewel tool concept, and took us through her Paradise Found Fine Erotic Jewelry collection. She showed us rings that doubled as massagers; necklaces that doubled as whips. The originality was striking; but even more was the passion that she put into her work. This was clearly a woman driven by her desire to create stunning instruments to enhance sexual desire. The fact that all her pieces could pass as a standard item of jewellery – ring, necklace, bracelet – made them that much more sensuous. You could wear them all the time and no-one need be aware of their deeper, sexual purpose.

Second Skin by Lara

Second Skin by Betony Vernon, image by Lara Gillberto

Lara Gillberto

There was one piece that particularly fired my imagination. Interestingly, it was outwardly one of the least sexual pieces, but one of the most sensual ones. It was a silver plate that slipped over the thumb and rested in the palm of the hand. It covered about half the palm and was a perfect – and I mean perfect – fit on her hand. Betony referred to it as a ‘second skin’.

And it was right then that I realised this was the type of piece I wanted for myself. A second skin of some description, but I was not really sure what, or how. But I did know where.

At the end of the salon, I waited behind and asked if I could see the palm piece again. As I felt it, I asked if Betony ever took on commissions.

Given that she was the expert in the jewel tool world I did not hold out much hope that this sought-after purveyor of the finest sensual jewellery in the world would find time for the likes of Mr Wood.

To her eternal credit, and sensing that both my imagination and passion had been ignited by her presentation, she said that she would see what she could do.

I didn’t hear from her again for about six weeks, when she emailed me some ‘rough’ sketches, or so she said in the accompanying note. But the drawings she had attached to her note were anything but ‘rough’ and she had come back with the most divine ideas. In fact she came up with two I loved, and this is the story of my favourite piece.

Betony Vernon

Shaft slip by Betony Vernon

She called it a shaft slip. And I instantly knew that she had got what I was after. This was the expression, in sterling silver, of the palm piece. It was a type of ring, about 4cm thick, that fitted tightly under the helmet of the penis. But there was more, the whole piece had a tiny ridge round the top and bottom edges. And the underside had a cut-out V exposing the frenulum – as any bloke will tell you, this is the most sensitive bit of the penis. Leaving it open was a masterstroke by a jewellery genius.

The downside was that the shaft slip would only stay in place if it was a perfect – totally perfect – fit. This would need some serious crafting and Betony explained how to make a very accurate replica of my little fella, which she would then use to make a millimeter perfect, silver ring.

The process sounded fairly straightforward. I was to go to a craft shop and get something called alginate (and had to ensure I got the right sort – the stuff that you can use for moulding fingers, hands, feet, etc). Pour it into a container. Get a stiffy. Pop on a condom. Dip the condom-covered stiffy into the container. Keep it dead still for around 15 minutes. Withdraw. Wait a day or so for the alginate to set. Mix up some plaster of Paris. Pour it into the hole in the alginate left by my little fella. Wait for that to set. Peel off the alginate (which, once set, is a bit like a thick jelly). And voilà – a perfect copy of my pecker.

All I had to do was pop it in the post and let Betony work her magic.

If only it was that simple!

Problem no.1 – alginate is a liquid before it sets. So you have to keep the container horizontal or it will spill. Erect penises can only be immersed in horizontal containers full of liquid alginate if they are lowered from above. So, this meant balancing on cushions and chairs and doing that most excruciating of ab exercises – the plank – until the alginate had set. And my abs just were not up to this.

Problem no.2 – an over-filled container will spill alginate displaced by your penis. I didn’t make this allowance and my first attempt ended with the slurpy, porridge-like substance spilling out all over the floor.

Problem no 3. – you have to maintain a stiffy for a fair time. Given problems no. 1 and no.2 it is hardly surprising that my little fella did not stand to attention long enough. I had to restart the whole process and this time I put a favourite DVD on and chose a scene which never fails to get the desired reaction. But to make absolutely sure that there was a rock solid hard-on I held the base of the shaft firmly. As I was later to discover, a touch too firmly. And this was a big mistake, which would cause problem no. 4 later on in the process.

About an hour later the alginate had set and I’d cleaned up the mess from all over the floor and myself. The next day I mixed up plaster of Paris and poured it into the hole in the alginate where my penis had been. And a day later I was able to remove the mould and see what I thought was a perfect replica of my little fella. It is rather odd looking at it at face level, something you simply never do. I have to say, I was rather proud, not just of my crafting achievements, but also the size. It was a bit bigger than I thought.

So, I despatched it to Betony and waited. About six weeks later I got a message that she had something to show me. As it I happened I was in France on business around that time, so I extended my stay a bit and called in to her studio where she showed me her creation.

There, sitting on a counter was the shiny, silver ring, exactly as she had drawn. On its own it looked rather like a Victorian serviette ring. Elegant, stylish and classy.

She picked it up and handed it to me. I felt it in the palm of my hand: it was smooth, solid and simply ‘right’. It certainly met the masculine part of the brief, but I wondered if it would be a tad too heavy? Would my little fella be up to it? Would he be able to stand upright in his full glory with it on? Would he even make it to a right angle?

So later I tried it on. And this was when problem no. 4 became apparent.

On the positive side, my member could lift the shaft slip up all right. But, in my endeavours to keep my stiffy as hard as possible during those mad, mould-making moments, I had squeezed a bit too much and made myself a bit bigger than I really am. The size of the plaster of Paris mould now made sense. I really was not that big.


And that meant that the shaft slip slipped off!

However, with a little trimming of the girth of the slip back in the workshop (about 1 cm was removed, which may not sound much, but it made a massive difference to the circumference of the slip), all was made well and the fit was now absolutely perfect. And I mean absolutely perfect. A second skin. And while it looked good on its own, when worn it looked sensational, and felt just fantastic.

And so I had it: the jewel I had yearned for, but never knew existed. Created by a master craftswoman, passionate about her work. It is my utter treasure, which makes appearances in the bedroom (and other rooms for that matter) whenever the mood is right. It is a stunning adornment which dazzles and delights. It can become the centre piece of lovemaking and pleasuring (though has to be taken off during intercourse). And it has opened a door to a whole new avenue of sexual adventure, excitement and pleasure.

Dazzled I have been.

Thank you so very much, Betony, you are a genius.

But that is not quite the end. Betony has also crafted another, more intricate and daring piece and I might be persuaded to regale this story in a future article…

Betony Vernon’s new collection Paradise Found is available online here. 

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