All smiles: How a grillz jewellery making class in London became an international hit

What started as a passion project quickly exploded in popularity. We get the story behind the grillz-making workshop at Cockpit London

Man wearing teeth grillz he made at jewellery class
(Image credit: Karolina Brodnicka, courtesy K2 jewellery academy)

Cockpit, the Bloomsbury craft studios nestled in a storied enclave in North London has been producing noted designer-makers since a cabinet maker took over the former cockfighting arena in 1745. Today, it is home to 150 craft businesses, of which jewellery designers make up a good number. K2 Academy of Contemporary Jewellery, known for educational courses that mix conventional and experimental traditions in jewellery design is also based at Cockpit. Their ‘Introduction To Grillz Making’ course has become such a hit that a July Summer school has just been added to the curriculum.

Grillz jewellery workshop participant and jewellers bench

At the jewellery bench; course leader Melvin Faria

(Image credit: Karolina Brodnicka, courtesy K2 Academy)

The course was a passion project for K2 employee and jeweller Karolina Brodnicka, who had made her own distinctive ‘Silver Drip Grillz’. She tracked down self-taught grillz maker and jewellery designer Melvin Faria and together they launched the first course in September 2023, which attracted students from as far afield as Berlin and Antwerp.

A woman making teeth jewels at a jewellery class in London

Perfecting resin technique

(Image credit: Karolina Brodnicka, courtesy K2 Jewellery Academy)

It was a set of ill-fitting custom-made grillz prompted K2 student Luke Wilson to sign up at Cockpit and make his own. That it was taught in person, in small groups allowing for one-on-one attention, stood out to him against a sea of more expensive and less interactive online courses. Plus, he had experience of handling tools (a requirement of the course) from making rings and a pendant.

Making Grillz teeth jewels at a jewellery making class in London

Metal polishing

(Image credit: Karolina Brodnicka, courtesy K2 Jewellery Academy)

On the course, supplies nod as much to the dental technician’s lab as they do to the jeweller’s bench. Think plastic trays filled with colourful putty for taking dental impressions. Faria teaches students how to carefully carve gum lines, which helps give the grillz grip. And, when tooth jewellery or ‘grillz’ fail to hug incisors and canines as intended, a niche product like Poligrip – once associated with false teeth and the elderly – is a must. The grillz are first modelled in wax or dental resin before casting and at this stage specialist tools are introduced that help achieve the same precise thickness of the tooth covering, front and back.

People making grillz teeth jewels at a jewellery class

Course leader Melvin Faria demonstrating how to work with dental resin; Luke Wilson inspecting his silver grillz

(Image credit: Karolina Brodnicka, courtesy K2 Jewellery Academy)

As the class progresses drills hum as prototypes are shaved to help create the perfect fit. Students leave armed with a fistful of printouts detailing the process with suggestions of casting companies to visit in the intervening weeks before the next session. When they return for the final class, teeth coverings have been cast, mostly in silver. These are polished, fitted, and perfected under Faria’s watchful eye.

Brixton bar manager Andre Baptiste made his in 9ct gold to match those he already wears. Like many who enrol on this course the outcome is to launch a business. “I have people lined up and now feel confident to do my own thing,” he says, with a smile.

Grillz Summer School for Beginners starts July 19 at Cockpit


Elisa Anniss is a London journalist specialising in the luxury industries. She is a contributor to Aston Martin Magazine and The Financial Times. Anniss is also an associate lecturer at University of the Arts London