Blog > January/February 2006
There are only four rings there, but Miyuki Tokunaga shows quite a range of styles within a tiny collection! Pictured here is an ingenious piece made from coloured pencils; the concept is also available as a small or large brooch.
I was going to just bite my tongue about the closing ceremony that took place in Turin on Sunday but, uh... this is a ring blog and the Olympic logo consists of five rings, right? Ok. I have to say that I was quite mortified by most of Vancouver's presentation, and it seems many others feel the same. It did little to represent our city (or co-host city Whistler). Arctic ice-fishing? Quebec's circus? Ontario's Avril Lavigne? Actually, Avril Lavigne, period? It made about as much sense as having Hawaiian dancers inviting you to a Chicago Olympics. Also, way to perpetuate the stereotype that we exist in sub-zero temperatures year-round! I mean, I realize we're hosting the winter games, but we're only a 2½ hour drive from Seattle, for crying out loud. I sure hope we do a better job in 2010.
All right, enough about that. Let me send you away to a Vancouver designer who doesn't make rings but who does produce some gorgeous jewellery nonetheless: Melanie Auld who, incidentally, is married to Canucks goaltender Alex Auld. See, hockey fandom is one Canadian stereotype that actually does apply to this town!
London metalsmith David Goodwin creates fascinating wire structures out of silver and 18k gold. His "helix" rings (like the "helix thimble ring" pictured here) are designed to play with the light and create optical effects. Be sure to navigate through all ten photos!
Ok, now I know you don't need an introduction to Swarovski, but are you like me and normally associate them only with beads and animal figurines? Then maybe you didn't know that they also make super sparkly rings that I can't stop staring at. Yum.
No, that's not a cleaning brush it's a ring made of silver and hair! Aside from having a pretty kick-ass name, Dutch artist Jacomijn van der Donk makes wild jewellery and other objects using hair and bone. Browse his "older work" section for other interesting pieces, such as a winged ring of ivory, gold, pearl and glass, and an eerie necklace composed of miniature drawings on paper. Not surprisingly, much of his work resides in museums rather than at your local Zales.
Dazzle, an English/Scottish exhibition of contemporary craft jewellery, features dozens of talented designers. Having gone through every one, here are my picks for the best rings:
- Lesley Strickland's silver and cellulose rings
- Lindsey Bain's twisted ring
- Kathleen Bailey's sugar crystal rings
- Anna Lewis's printed feather rings
- Sally Moore's loopy rings
- Miranda Sharpe's resin and goldleaf rings
- Georgia Wiseman's structured granule ring
- Ruth Tomlinson's silver and porcelain rings (pictured here)
- Elizabeth Jayne Abbey's architectural pencil drawing ring
- Vicki Ambery Smith's bridge rings (and cool New York Guggenheim-shaped cufflinks!)
Alongside personal favourite Alex + Chloe, Lee Riot gained a lot of attention for its '80s revival mirrored necklaces. But LA's Steven Shein (warning: website has sound), the man behind Lee Riot, also has a collection of cutesy rings. This guy, made from 14k gold, is called "Eddie the elephant head" and goes for US$170. While I'm sure Eddie's a nice fellow and all, I'm strangely drawn to the gold mirror griffen necklace. Wait, did I just say "gold mirror griffen necklace"? I think I need help.
In shop news... I absolutely have to give a huuuuuuge THANK YOU to everyone out there who's expressed interest in my handmade glass rings! It makes me all tingly! I will definitely keep making them, so if you weren't able to find one this time around, please wait for the next update (info is on the what's new page). And thanks again. You guys are too nice.
German jeweller Angela Hübel says she enjoys designing "sculptural rings that create surprising effects on the hands of the women who wear them." One of her signature looks is the "magic island" style pictured here, where one element seems to float inside the other. Another must-see (really, you must! I insist!) is the "between-the-finger" ring, which puts the accents on the spaces between the fingers rather than on the finger itself. Very cool. Also, the hand model on her website has a great manicure.
I should know by now that everytime I find The Coolest Ring Ever, another one comes along to strip that title away. Well, I think it'll be a while before someone tops this one! I freaking adore these rings by Corina Rietveld. It's needlepoint! On a ring! That is just head-explodingly cute! She has some other great rings as well, but it's all about the needlepoint for me. Available for €115.
Amsterdam's Ela Bauer takes the organic look to the extreme with phantasmagorical results. From legume-ish rings (like the silver, silicone and wool piece pictured here) to necklaces that look like you're wearing part of your vascular system as an accessory, she challenges the notion of what makes a "jewel."
Chainmail isn't just for the Dungeons & Dragons set! Chicago's Melissa Banks brings the ancient technique into modern times with her wonderful Rapt in Maille line of jewellery. There are lots of winners in each of her eight collections, but my favourite is this circular ring such a pretty way to wear chainmail without looking like you've just come from the Ren Faire. Priced at merely US$40, it's a total steal for something that was handmade link by link.
I'm speechless. From London, the incomparable Belmacz collection by Julia Muggenburg.
Trained in Germany and now based in San Francisco, Abrasha designs geometric, almost mechanical jewellery that often features a mix of gold and either platinum or stainless steel. My favourite is this ruby ball ring, which looks like some kind of explosive device out of a spy movie! Visit his "process" page for a rare glimpse into the making of a metal ring.
San Francisco-based superdesigners Maaike Evers and Mike Simonian (whose last project was a little thing called the XBOX 360) designed these rings to represent a well-known, well-played game. Can you guess what it is? For the answer, and to see more of their work, visit mike and maaike. Click on the ninth panel, where you can see a glimpse of the rings; more jewellery can be viewed via the twelfth panel.
True to its name, Glitter Limes offers oodles of glitter and oodles of limes not to mention starfruit, melon, persimmons and pears all done up to wear as jewellery! Yes, that's real fruit. If you're more of a sweet tooth, designer and RISD-grad Debbie Tuch also offers a candy collection, including marshmallow peeps, peppermints and these Valentine-appropriate conversation heart rings (US$24). As far as I can tell, you don't get to choose your heart, but fans of Arrested Development (the show, not the band) know better than George Michael (the boy, not the singer-songwriter) the chances of getting a "maybe tonight."
This cute ring with moving shanks is from the "leaf" collection of London designer Stephanie Ray. It's her earrings, however, that caught my eye the most. While I favour the ball chain hooped leaf earrings, she also has a good selection of stud pieces something that's becoming increasingly hard to find in this era where length seems to really matter.
Paul C. Phillips should be more famous. Just check out the talent on display in the former machinist's gallery of industrial style rings (scroll down a bit once you hit the page). His tension settings, in particular, make for some striking and inventive designs like the upside-down quartz pictured here, although (believe it or not) this ring is actually one of his more traditional designs! It's easy to miss, but there's a "next 24" link below the pictures that will take you to even more rings. Click it, and your Monday will automatically be improved!
I know it's hard not to think of February without thinking of Punxsutawney Phil, but there is another Hallmark day in this short month. Get in the spirit of the 14th with this open heart ring a cool spin on a classic shape (18kt gold, US$299). While you're there, check out the rest of the rings, many of which feature a neat mesh design (like this mesh heart). The designer? Fittingly, it's Mesh NY.
Chandalier earrings are nothing new, but the popular shape looks fresh when reborn as a ring. New York-based Mizuki combines 14k gold and green tourmaline drops to create fabulous pieces like the ring pictured here (US$365); she also has a more subtle design featuring a single diamond on a delicate triple chain. If you prefer a less dramatic style, there's this cute ring featuring her signature "caviar" beads (US$115).
Toronto's Erin Tracy is inspired by Japanese design a fact that is more than evident when you look at pieces like this "garden path" ring, which incorporates bamboo and pebbles! Every one of her collections deserves a paragraph of its own but there's an old saying about pictures being worth more than a paragraph (or something like that), so go visit her site and see for yourself (the colourful and modern "layers" rings are another favourite).
Though this isn't strictly jewellery-related, check out the fantastic entries in DWR's 2005 Champagne Chair Contest, in which designers had to build a chair using only parts from a champagne bottle. Incredible creativity at work there!
How much would you pay for a little piece of heaven? Does US$1,600 sound about right? That's the price tag on this incredible 18k "Heaven" ring by designer Anne Fischer; it's made up of a quotation from Dante's The Divine Comedy, Canto I of Paradiso. If you're in a less hallowed state of mind, there's also you saw this coming, right? the Hell ring, which features text from Canto XVI of Purgatorio. The good news is that Hell is cheaper, at just US$600 (sterling silver).
If those De Beers ads make you want to regurgitate your waffles, Todd Reed is your man. In reaction to those obnoxious campaigns, he started working on "a line of jewelry that really did use the 'most perfect diamond in the world' the actual raw diamond, uncut, unpolished, natural perfect geometry." The result is an extensive collection (not just rings), all featuring those gorgeous raw diamonds. I'd take one over a generic Tiffany's piece any day! Also check out the cool citrine ring on his "other" page.
When I talked about cameo rings back in November, I neglected to mention the incredible lucite cameo rings by e. 9th of New York. Look how cool! There are even tiny cameos on the bands of the rings extra cameo goodness for your dollar! There are no rings on her website, but you can and should check out the incredible cuff collection. The rings can be purchased at Girlshop for US$69.
In their words: "Dingdrin means 'thing inside' in German take a look through the lens and it all makes sense... Dingdrin are rings and pendants with integrated microfilms. If you look through the lenses on each side of the ring, you will see pictures, words, drawings, whatever you want to carry around with you as a secret inside your ring. There is a bank of pictures you can choose from, and you can even send your own pictures."
Whenever I see enamel jewellery like this gorgeous ring by Sarah Hood, I wonder why I don't see more of it! It's such a great medium shiny, colourful and a great alternative to gemstones. This particular piece (US$400) is from her "collectible" series, which also includes non-enamel beauties like this awesome necklace featuring photos of leaves within leaf-shaped frames!
Berlin's Oona gallery has some superb modern art jewellery on display. It's usually difficult for me to pick a favourite but I was especially wowed by Marc Monzó's gold ring, pictured here. I mean, it's a ring with rings on it. That's like... chocolate-covered chocolate. How could you possibly go wrong?
Happy 2006! Here's to a very productive new year as productive as, say, the genius "productive jewelry" lines from Akemi Kobayashi. The red piece pictured here may resemble a floppy disc (remember those?) but it's actually jewelry an entire set of jewelry, to be exact. Start here and keep clicking the green arrows to watch things unfold, literally. Theses acrylic wonders are available in a range of pretty colours. For another dazzling exercise in packaging, see her felted wool flower rings.