Blog > May/June 2006
That spectacular carving, that brilliant hue, that extraordinary shape what better way to wrap up the week than with this gorgeous offering from London artist Charlotte De Syllas? The jade and white gold "Lily Leaf" ring pictured here exemplifies her expertise in stone carving, a talent which, according to her, "has come to characterise [her] work." Take a moment to admire the pineapple-y texture on this piece, then (if you're North American) go enjoy your long weekend! Happy Canada Day and Fourth of July!
Spending time in Japan means doing a lot (I mean a lot) of walking, but it also means doing a lot (I mean a lot) of eating.
Maybe more eating than walking, even.
Goldplated pig ring by Stockholm design student Anna Tascha Larsson, also available in solid silver and/or with the piggie on its back. Check out her site for the cool earphone necklace, too!
Among the many highlights of my vacation in Japan was pausing in the disorienting heat to sip my thirtieth or so bottle of cold green tea (ample vending machines = non-stop hydration) and, once semi-refreshed, realizing with a delighted squeal that by pure chance I was standing in front of Tokyo's Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry which also meant I was standing in front of corazón+corazón, the school's jewellery shop, which I've been stalking online for months! Their webpage doesn't come close to representing the number of tiny treasures crammed into that tiny space. I bought the only non-metallic piece I could find, the clear plastic tubing with lilac rhinestone pictured here; the shop people weren't sure what that silver-painted bit is made of, but I bought it anyway. The artist, identified merely as Y. Odazima, calls it a "martini ring" according to the guy working there (who is, as it turns out, also the guy who built their website), the ring allows drinkers and teetotallers alike to enjoy a martini. There were some cuter, brighter stones as well, but they were in a different style, with the gem facing sideways so that you could only see a thin slice of colour. In typical Japanese fashion, my inexpensive souvenir (¥1,500 or ~$15) was wrapped in tissue, sealed with a sticker, placed in a cloth drawstring bag, which was in turn secured in a clear cellophane bag, sealed with a sticker, and then placed in a paper bag, which, yes, was sealed. So wasteful, but so cute.
Whew. I'm back, and my trip was very awesome. Is there a word for that flurry of catch-up activity when you come back from being away for a bit? No? Well, that's ok because there is a ring for it (by now you should know there's a ring for every occasion) it's the Busy Person's Ring by Stephanie Lindsey. The Texan used to make metal furniture, but these days she's creating jewellery from vintage postcards combined with silver and resin.
These rings from Studio Numen are nothing short of stunning.
With that, I'm off on a two-week holiday to my (or my parents', anyway) motherland, Japan. Woo!
See you in a couple of weeks!
The Netherlands' An Alleweireldt, creator of the playful jewellery line Oxx (aka Oxx), is a graduate of London's Royal College of Art. As is so often the case when I'm writing about creative jewellers, I found myself staring at all her great pieces and being unable to choose just one to feature here. But then I saw this ring and, somehow, I couldn't say "no." Or was it that I had to say "yes"? File this one under "gift idea for that indecisive friend who takes an hour to try on one pair of jeans."
Lily Yung is a jeweller and print-maker who also dabbles in immunology (if you can call earning a Ph.D. "dabbling"). The Toronto-based artist works with non-precious materials such as beads, plastic and metal wire; she often weaves the materials together using various textile techniques which she's developed and adapted. Pictured here is one of her non-woven computer-aided designs, a rubber ring, just like the one Morrissey used to croon about before he embarked on his crappy solo career.
Today is 6/6/6 on the calendar, and you know what that means. That's right it's Awesome Rings from Poland Day! Read to celebrate? Let's go:
- Tomasz Zylka
- Klementyna Pielaszkiewicz
- Jacek Byczewski
- Tomasz Ciosmak 
- Marcin Sieradzki
- Rafal Burczynski (pictured here)
Italian jeweller Giampaolo Babetto has had a long, much-celebrated career, beginning when he entered the Istituto d'Arte Pietro Selvatico in Padua in 1963. That's 43 years of creating "architectural objects for the body," as he likes to describe his geometric pieces. Pictured here is a red pigment and gold ring from 1993; not only does it look good, it's got two sizes built right in! To view more of his work, select a decade from the "archivio" menu in the navigation bar, wait for the entire page to load, then roll over the shadowy images for a full-colour version.
People may have their preferences when it comes to choosing between gold and silver, but I'll take my metal the way I take my eyeliner: black. I've been spotting more and more oxidized silver these days, but none as flat-out flippin' cool as these pieces (and more) from Kathleen Bailey's "relic" collection. You heard me! I said flippin', that's how cool they are. I want. I want bad.
Boston-based Yoshiko Yamamoto makes all sorts of jewellery and other objects from metal, stone and enamel, but my favourite by far are her fabulous rings. The piece pictured here is a glorious tangle of silver hoops, kind of like a miniature child's playground gone wild which is why its name, "jangle gym," is either the most brilliantly intentional or the most serendipitous typo ever committed to, um, screen. Sterling silver, US$700.
German designer Michaela Binder was inspired by World Cup fever when she used her love of silver and felt to create a soccer-themed collection. (This is the part where I spare you the obligatory spiel about how Europeans don't call it soccer and blah blah blah.) Thoughtfully, she's made the felt bits interchangeable in anticipation of your fever subsiding; you can pull out the green and insert whatever colour, sport-related or otherwise, suits your mood that day! The square ring pictured here is €250; there's also a circular ball design for €195. To see a bit more of her work, be sure to scroll down on the first page.
If there's one law of jewellery-making, it's this: silver + acrylic = funky. As sure as chocolate + peanut butter = delicious (don't even think of disagreeing with me on that one), the sum of silver and acrylic is always something eye-catching. Philadelphia's Debra Adelson has the forumla down pat with her array of tableware, giftware, Judaica and jewellery made of hand-carved acrylic and hand-smithed sterling silver. Pictured at right are two of her stackable rings, US$25 each.
The rings at cbijoux, gallery of French designer Cédric Chevalley, are made of so much awesome that I'm just going to let the site do its own talking. Click everything you can and remember that "suivant" is French for "next." Pictured here: "La Vie" cactus ring, Madonna ring and Fransiska Venrath's deer ring.
One look at this ring and it's like I've reached some kind of Zen state I'm suddenly relaxed and soothed and sipping green tea on a yoga mat. Which is weird, right? Because doesn't it actually look like two pink flowers riding the Tilt-a-Whirl? In a pretty, calming sort of way? "Le jardin de la Comtesse de Taiwan" ring by Luxembourg artist Claude Schmitz; visit his site and click the arrows for more spare but striking jewellery.
I wish I could find more information on Nelson, BC artist Nicole Bigg, but I sent Google on a worldwide search and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and the one ring pictured here, at left. I love the worn colour and texture on that band so much, I barely notice the green gem tacked on top. "By merging pattern, colour and shape," she says, "I am sharing a piece of myself with you." I can't wait 'til she throws us a few more pieces at nicolebigg.com, currently under construction.
When not working as an art director for Saks, Shu, Nikon and myriad other companies who might as well be on my payroll, Franz Schnaas does not make jewellery. What he does make is "body furniture," like the ice-coils ring pictured here (described as being made of "glass pixels" and mysterious "translucent coil matter"). His pellucid bracelets, necklaces and rings have an etheral, space-age quality but while his pieces may evoke the future, the modest US$25 price tag evokes grabbing one now.
This ring is... intriguing. It's not my style at all, but it's arresting for its mesh of contradictory styles sort of like when you see a woman in a business suit wearing runners instead of heels on the way to work, or that one "serious" episode of "Three's Company" with Janet and her dance lessons. The shank, made of platinum and diamond pavé, is rigid and traditional. But then you have that unexpected citrine piece loitering on top in all its freeform glory, like a delicious glob of honey... with a crunchy diamond centre. One-of-a-kind "Magic Pool" ring by Eve J. Alfillé, US$3,530.
Many people dream of what they could do if they won the lottery. How about a more realistic dream? Like, say, if your hand suddenly grew a sixth finger, one that was removable and plastic? Imagine all the things you could do with a spare, detachable finger! Well, this pointy ring could make your dreams come true (you can thank me later). If I owned this piece, I'd be putting it to swift use, pressing elevator buttons, poking people in the eye, tapping impatiently, maybe even plunging it into a barrel of dry beans, Amélie style. Silver and perspex ring by London jeweller Dani Crompton, £65.
There are spaghetti rings.
And then there are spaghetti rings (click "do it yourself").
Pictured here: Londoner Disa Allsopp's 7-strand 18k gold and sterling ring, £210. Not pictured here: two al dente noodles tied in a knot, by Dutch artist Marijke Schurink.
If your reaction to being called "princess" is "thank you," Pinkbox is calling your name. Their Royal Crown collection is like a series of miniature white gold tiaras, each intricately detailed and unapologetically precious. Pictured here is "Hera," priced at 3,200 Hong Kong dollars (or a less regal $410 in US greenbacks).
Okay, maybe this ring isn't the prettiest you've ever seen, but it has a great personality. Like many contemporary artists, Indiana's Arthur Hash sculpts non-traditional materials into non-traditional jewellery; pictured at left is the cast-plastic "two-faced" ring. Visit his site for more pieces in plastic, petrified dinosaur bone, sleek acrylic, and a bracelet which I thought was made of tasty potato chips but which actually... wasn't. Really, really wasn't.
The jewellery of San Francisco's Sarah Jane Hassler would look at home in an IKEA catalogue: it's streamlined, yet playful and unafraid of colour. Luckily, with this silver and acrylic piece, there's no assembly required unless, of course, you are Sarah Jane Hassler, in which case, I urge you to continue with your assembling activities.
Looking at the odd hybrid of silver and grey plastic in Katja Prins' jewellery is like looking at a mashup of an '80s toybox: GI Joes mixed with Transformers. (Man, were The Transformers great, or what? How could a decade produce something so cool yet expect its girls to play with glitter-assed ponies?) Pictured here is a ring from the Dutch artist's 2004 "Machines are Us" series. Peruse all her archived work for a collection of weirdly fascinating pieces; 2002's "Anatorium" is my favourite.
In this age of paper cups with cardboard sleeves, Royal Doulton might be happy to know that at least one person still appreciates their porcelain wares. Belgium's Silke Fleischer pulls one of those "but of course!" moves (as creative types are wont to do) by transforming an object that has already been encircling people's fingers for centuries. For more from this graduate of jewellery design and applied ceramic arts, go to her "me" section and then click "portfolio."
Quail eggs, fishing line, microchips all in a day's jewellery design for Germany's Yvonne Fischer. The appeal of the little microprocessor? "The different colours refracting on the tiny structures on board of the chips offer a grand entrance to these small helpers," she explains. In addition to designing her unconventional pieces, she offers jewellery classes for couples who wish to create each other's wedding bands "often with comical results!" (Ok, she didn't really say that last part, but you know she's totally thinking it.)
I like ice cream. And I like this ring. I like this ring because it says to me, "I like ice cream. And I like ice cream sundaes. And I'm going to have my sundae with chocolate sauce and chopped nuts. Also, strawberries. And some mini marshmallows, M&Ms, Oreo crumbles, gummi bears, toffee chips, candied walnuts, whipped cream, maraschino cherries and rainbow sprinkles. In a waffle cone." When jewellery speaks to you like that, how can you say no? Ring by German goldsmith Karl Fritsch; view some of his other styles here.
Oh my god. That skull ring is still there. Let's feast our eyes on something more pretty and soothing, shall we? Look left. Ahhh. This achromatic beauty is by a Dutch silversmith, Rotterdam's Hester Zagt. The design, also available as a necklace and earrings, is vaguely barnacle-like which I mean in the best possible sense. (And you thought "oooh, barnacly!" couldn't be taken as a compliment.) That beaded matte silver band is the perfect balance for the two focal pieces. Just lovely!
Can someone help me understand this ring? It's by Disney Couture? Which... I've seen the t-shirts so I know the brand is not an intentional joke, but still... what? And it has no discernable Disney nor any couture going on but it has gold and wait, gold plating and a circle of pink rhinestones and a not-even-cute skull that seems to be glued (I guess?) on a... a piece of... fabric? Cheap, clashy, polyester-y, folded-awkwardly lavender fabric? Am I getting this right? And it's US$45? Am I on Candid Camera?
When a trip to an industrial springs manufacturer inspires an architecture student to create jewellery, you get the straight lines and steel coils of La Mollla (yes, with three Ls, for extra L-ness). Originally from Turin, Italy and now living in Paris, creator Tiziana Redavid launched her jewellery career when she took a car spring and turned it into a bracelet. Today, she works with both metal and resin, producing cool, sleek pieces with lots of texture and colour. I love the bumpy "chapelet" ring (€28) and chunky "melting square" rings (€17.50) pictured here. Note: rolling over the collection names will pull up a photo but be sure to actually click the links to see more from each line.
Oregon's Shannon Nichols has three great collections in "mod," "organic" and "vintage;" for once, my favourite isn't "organic" but rather the candy-like shapes and colours of her vintage line. The refreshing spearmint hue of the ring pictured here is ideal for spring! Another standout is this yummy-looking purple glass gem, which looks so deliciously raspberry-flavoured, I'm willing to put up with any silvery aftertaste.
Seattle's Alisa Miller calls this cool piece the artichoke ring. I see the "choke" part, but more in the sense of "to death, with its menacing tentacles." The metalsmith names astronomy, botany and fashion as influences. She states, "The focus of my work is using repetitive elements to create texture and pattern.... I fabricate using copper, silver, and enamel. [T]hese elements work together to create designs that suggest a larger pattern on the piece."
"Oh, this old thing?" you'd chuckle nonchalantly as he noticed your ring. "It's just the skull of René Descartes looking at itself in a mirror! Probably wondering if cogito ergo sum still applies." Gold and coral René Descartes ring by German artist Manfred Bischoff.
I don't know why, but I have a sudden urge to run really fast, summersault through the air, and land with an awkward thud in a cloud of chalk. And then I want a panel of foreigners to judge my performance out of ten.
Gold, platinum and diamond ring by Wilhelm Buchert; visit BuchertBuege for more from this German goldsmith and his late wife, Ute Buchert-Büge.