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11/02/2010

Take Two Earrings and Call The Artist in the Morning

You would never mistake Ball for Tiffany, even if it were on Fifth Avenue instead of tiffany jewelry.

The shop, which opened in October at 500 Greenwich Street, features the works of its namesake artist and jewelry maker, Lillian Ball, who finds inspiration in unlikely everyday objects. The most striking example is her drug collection. Ms. Ball makes necklaces, rings, pendants and earrings in the shape of pharmaceuticals whose shapes catch her fancy. She does not lack inspiration.

Her epiphany came several years ago aboard a plane as she was about to swallow a vitamin E pill. As the sunlight hit the translucent capsule, she thought, ''Wow, this would look great cast in gold.'' At that moment, a jewelry line was born.

Ms. Ball, who is especially attracted by the geometry of medications, began using white, yellow and rose gold, along with sterling silver, to cast replicas of Advil, the oblong headache remedy; Viagra, the blue, diamond-shaped potency restorer; triangular sleeping pills with rounded corners; and the inspirational Elsa Peretti Teardrop Earrings E pills. Some drugs, like Prozac, were rejected; Ms. Ball says she found its ordinary capsule shape too boring.

At the shop, individual items of jewelry are displayed next to the pharmaceuticals that inspired them; there are pills in glass containers, including Minizide, which Ms. Ball takes for tendinitis, and chemical beakers hang in the windows.

One customer bought a set of earrings inspired by headache medicine for her daughter as a wedding president. Her Atlas Cube Earrings, she told Ms. Ball, was that she thought the groom would be ''a real headache.'' WICKHAM BOYLE

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