Blog > September/October 2006
In the Smarties vs. M&Ms debate, I'm wholly in the M&Ms camp. This is punishable by law in Canada, where we are weirdly protective of Smarties (despite their being from the UK) and ketchup chips (because they are so totally awesome). If you ask me, though, this "Smartie Mother" ring is the closest that chocolate will ever get to being tasty. It's all about the candy shell, people that, and M&Ms come in peanut butter. Ring by London's Solange Azagury-Partridge.
Someone should tell Paris Hilton (and half the people in my neighbourhood) that this is how you wear a tiny dog as an accessory: wrapped around your finger, not stuffed into your purse. Santa Fe metalsmith Kristin Lora has fourteen jewellery collections, ranging from the whimsical (e.g. the glass tube necklace containing a woman wearing hot pants) to the geometrical (e.g. her circle and square pieces) to the animal (e.g. the Jack Russell pictured here). Be sure to check out her cool music boxes as well!
The orchid is the most diverse flowering plant on earth, with anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 species in existence (you may have even tasted one at lunch; the vanilla that goes in your coke is an orchid). London artist Elizabeth Galton has at least a small portion of those covered with her lovely collection of rings, earrings, necklaces and brooches modelled after different varieties of the flower. Pictured here is the "Midas Touch" ring, sterling silver plated in 22k gold (£110).
Bonus link for the weekend: trompe l'oeil ring
Angela Fung is a UK designer who produces jewellery using a combination of industrial materials and semi-precious stones. Her pieces are modern and kinetic; her "quiver" collection, for instance, features quartz spheres balanced on thin sterling spokes so that the stones bobble as you move. The titanium "slide" ring pictured here (£112), with a tourmaline that moves along the tracks, is reminiscent of a pink vehicle zipping along futuristic skyways like something out of The Fifth Element.
This cool slice of gold and jade is a vintage piece from the '70s. When I look at it, I think of grasshoppers, space helmets and green aliens. And maybe key lime pie. Available at the Douglas Rosin Decorative Arts & Antiques gallery in Chicago.
Pretty rings are a dime a dozen. Of course, that's speaking figuratively. Literally speaking, they're more like a few thousand dimes a dozen, which is why I've always admired the pretty and affordable jewellery of Hovey Lee (she's also on my links page). The Hong Kong native, now in San Francisco, designed this cute "Knottie" ring stamped copper metal tied with genuine red leather, only US$32.
I was about to write about these knit rings. But then I saw these sit rings and I was all, "knit rings who?" Given that it is currently late 2006, it's just too bad they're supposed to be available by early 2005. Designer: Suzi Warren of London's Twisted Twee.
I made clear my feelings on bugs a few posts down (a summary, in case you missed it: "ew") but even I can appreciate this cool insect ring by German designer Andreas Zidek. His site is a bit of a navigational mishmash, but poke around and you'll find many interesting pieces (not all of them entomological). This post has been brought to you by the Foundation for the Betterment of Bug-Related Karma.
The Hudson's Bay Company (aka "The Bay"), a chain of department stores here in Canada, is known for being one of the world's oldest corporations and the oldest in North America, having been established in the 1600s. So it's somewhat fitting that The Bay is where I found Calgary-based Neshka, who specializes in another thing famous for being old 40 to 90 million years, in this case: amber. The jewellery, however? Not old. Rather, it is sleek and geometric with a touch of mod, if mod had embraced a palette of browns and yellows.
Leave your shirt-tag showing all day on purpose with this ring by Dunja Karabaic of Rcyclia. The German artist works with recycled bits like twist ties, birdfood bags, dishcloths and, as pictured here, old shirts. Be sure to click every ring; behind each is a mini slide show of more whimsical pieces. Among my faves: "Oleander," the water balloon/plastic bag/hairtie ring pictured at far right.
This piece reminds me of Vancouver's famed "Coaster" rollercoaster not so much because it's loopy (which the Coaster isn't, really; if you want loops, you want the Corkscrew), but because of its construction material: wood! Inspired by bent wood furniture, London-based Mette T. Jensen plies wood in ways you wouldn't think possible to create gorgeous, sculptural jewellery.
This ring series by German designer Karin Seufert is like the product of a Project Runway challenge: what can you do with only a white ball and circle? (And will Michael Kors think it's "farty"?) The stark white rings are hardly representative of the artist's wild, colourful, experimental art jewellery, so be sure to visit her site!
Julia Parkes' jewellery reminds me of macaroni craft art all grown up (in a good way). The English designer's resin pieces contain pasta-like plated curved wires meant to convey the idea of movement. Or, in my case, the idea of carbonara.
Sandström DeWit are Margareth Sandström and Peter De Wit, two artists working out of the high-tech town (and Saab homebase) of Linköping, Sweden. While Peter likes shapes with corners (I love his flat square ring with balancing cube), Margareth favours elliptical forms (the handiwork pictured here is hers; the hand, unknown). Faced with such an impressive display, it's oddly comforting to view their studio photos and see that their workshop contains IKEA furniture; I mean, if I can't share their talent, I can at least share their taste in affordable storage units.
Australia's Blanche Tilden creates modern jewellery using bike chains but also dabbles in strong, minimal rings like the glass and titanium "U-Rings" pictured here (AUD$180). Note: site doesn't work properly in Firefox, so you'll need to load IE.
Lycra and nylon: for some, the ingredients of an unfortunate jazzercize outfit. But in the hands of Japanese artist Yoko Izawa, these fabrics become essential components of some insanely gorgeous jewellery. Her etheral "veiled" rings, like the one pictured here, speak to her interest in "containing, covering, or wrapping things" they're made by stretching woven fabric over glass or lucite. Of course, with my luck, I'll need to carry a spare in my purse or I'll get a run in my ring the minute I step out the door.
If you think this ring is cute, wait 'til you see the rest of Hadar Jacobson's tiny wearable sculptures. Pictured here is a "village ring" from her architectural series but there are urban pieces, too, in case you're more of a city mouse than a country mouse. Beyond the small-scale buildings, the Berkeley artist also has a pictoral series (like miniature bas relief in sterling), a mechanical series (with pint-sized gears and pulleys) and many other pieces ranging from complex textures to more smooth and modern styles. Visit her "old gallery" for photos and her "new gallery" to shop!
Don't you just hate it when you get your favourite teacup stuck in your bubble gum? (Let me tell you, peanut butter did not help to get it out.) This peculiar piece of silver and plastic is from the "blob" series by Italian artist Barbara Uderzo. Her blob rings are "created through experiments on material, by restyling casual shapes and inserting traces of everyday life, relics and curiosities." Which is great, as everyday life, relics and curiosities are three of my favourite things. Visit her site for more experimental jewellery, including the flammable candle rings, edible chocolate rings and miniature cactus rings.
Denmark's Lisbeth Warming is another artist with some pretty, bumpy bands in her collection. I especially like the flat, brushed gold one with repeating hearts (click "vielsesringe" to view more). In case you're sick of seeing or hearing me blab on about bumpy bands, pictured here are three of her botanical pod rings; I like how the organic shapes contrast with the high polish of the metal.
As promised, here's another example of a band with repeating bumps (which looks much better than it sounds). This one is brought to us by Massachusetts jeweller and, of course, RISD grad Carla Caruso (US$36-$350). If you love clean, simple jewellery, I highly advise selling off all your belongings and using the funds to buy her entire collection. You might end up naked and with no furniture, but you'd at least be perfectly accessorized, which is really the most important thing.
I wouldn't call it a trend but, lately, I've been noticing more rings like the one pictured here: simple bands with a repeating bumpy pattern. This silver teardrop piece is by Dallas jeweller Elizabeth Showers (on sale, US$19). I was too lazy decided to save my other examples for next month which is Monday, so see you then!
Check out the pattern on these rings. Look familiar? If I said "styrofoam cups," would it jog your memory? French artist Zabo Chabiland has a gallery of experimental jewellery on display at House of Done, including these two from her "bite" series. Yep, they're teeth marks! Follow the "opéra promo" link to view more rings.
Causation, correlation or coincidence, I don't know, but jewellers who work with enamel tend to create pieces with a mod, pop art sensibility. This bright blue ring by Ulrike Grigorieff is no exception. But the German designer also has a line of rings that incorporate pearls and semi-precious stones, proving she can do "sophisticated" just as well as "cute" (not that one's better than the other, of course!).
In the world of jewellery, almost all leaves are, you know, leaf-shaped. That is to say, smooth, symmetrical and curved on both sides. I'm sure science has a word for this ("elliptical"? my dad is a botanist but I can't even play one on TV). That's why the lobed oak leaves on this ring are such a refreshing change. And then there's that adorable squirrel, everybody's favourite rodent! And the ring itself is made from a real twig, cast into solid silver! And didja see the acorns? It's the ideal fall ring, from Amanda Coleman's Scandinavian woodland collection (£45.00). This RCA grad has tons of fun pieces on her site, so go forth and explore.
Here's another ring that takes the "silver and gemstone" concept but completely modernizes it while staying simple and wearable. Brighton artist Andrea Eserin specializes in fun but minimalist pieces, adding shots of colour (either with resin or gemstones) to sterling silver. Pictured here is her "Twist" ring with bullet peridot.
Butterflies creep me out. I know that's akin to hating puppies and rainbows, but... they're bugs! Big bugs. And their fancy wings just make it worse. It's like, would a cockroach wearing lipstick be pretty? Didn't think so. Of course, carve one out of black jade and make a ring, and I'm all over it. This piece is by Mudan Jewellery (~$106); prices are initially in Singapore dollars but you can switch to USD.
What a difference colour can make. This could be a simple silver and lacquer ring, but the dripping crimson takes it from understated to definite statement. It's part of Swiss artist Susanne Klemm's "tango" series, a collection of vaguely threatening red and silver rings. In stark contrast is her nature-inspired "seasons" collection, which is all snowflakes and orchids and... well, topless men (that's nature, right?), but you'll have to see that for yourselves.
I absolutely hate to stereotype, but one look at these rings and I knew the designer had to be a man. Swiss jeweller Daniel Chiquet uses the principles of tectonics, tension and tasselation to design pieces you can take apart and reconstruct. But it's not the mechanical nature of these rings that gave him away; beyond that, there's just something so masculine about the designs, even though I've seen plenty of women create sharp, angular, geometric rings. It must be the jewellery equivalent of the Axe effect, minus the nausea.
I have an enormous trove of links saved up but when I saw this ring, I knew it couldn't stand in line politely, waiting for its turn. It had to jump the queue and be posted. Immediately. Jennifer Flume, a Berliner who studied at the genius factory otherwise known as RISD, brings us these brilliant stacking photo rings. The concept, she explains, is "the idea of wearing our memories on our body. We all cherish memories and we often record our memories in photographs. Photographs of people, animals, places or objects. Burial ring is a series of picture rings in various shapes.... It can be worn spread displaying the pictures, or closed keeping them private." Visit her site to see her ring of family photographs; the souvenir city rings pictured here featuring shots of NYC, London, Paris and Berlin are available at Schenkshop for €9,50 each.
Like her jewellery, Melissa Borrell moves around a lot. Having perfected her craft while moving from Houston to Boston to Paris to San Francisco to Rhode Island to New York, the designer is now known for pieces that incorporate motion and transformation. The abacus ring (pictured here), part of the "Is it a Ring?" series, has movable rungs which can be shifted depending on where you want to put your finger. For the best example of her fascination with pieces that change upon being handled, check out the mountain earrings in her "lines" collection.
It's all fine and dandy to take a weird object, stick a shank on it and call it a ring, but I'm often most impressed by those that manage a fresh spin on a classic idea especially without sacrificing simplicity. These rings from Brazilian Yael Sonia do just that. I love how the open band creates a setting for the large, irregularly-faceted gemstone!
I've written about skull rings before. If I wanted to, I could link to one daily and never run out they're everywhere! I generally try to avoid repeating myself (said the girl who posts about rings every day), but let me just mention a few more interesting head bones. Pictured here is a creative variation: a skull outline in profile (did you notice at first glance?) by Adam Foster.
- Exhibitionist's stacking skull rings, something you don't see often (he's also got tons of other skull styles at his site, which I also mentioned last October)
- Stephen Webster's double-headed ring with black sapphire pavé and ruby eyes (see also his skull intaglio pieces)
- Grinning skull ring at Pilgrim
- Tiny, delicate piece by the duo famous for their Tibetan-influenced jewellery, Me & Ro (go to page 3)
- Mexican "Day of the Dead"-style silver skull at Gringas & Co. (scroll down a bit) I love this one
- Blue-eyed skull at Zarigani Works
Belgian goldsmith Hubert Bliard's got a dazzling online gallery and I'm just talking about the photography. It just so happens that his rings are pretty fantastic as well (refer to photographic evidence at left) but, with those skills and that DoF, he could post a gallery of discarded paper towels and I'd be just as wowed. Lucky for us, he's got his camera trained instead on his sanded, hammered and polished works of gold.
If you're looking to escape a jewellery rut, I prescribe Lindsey Mann. She's like a squirt of lime in your coke, taking what you already love and adding just the right zing of unfamiliarity. Tired of stripes and polka dots? Her pieces come in gingham! Had enough of birds and wings? She's got propellors! Done with the cameo and silhouette trend? Then check out her brooches made from sewing pattern ladies! Her gallery of printed aluminium, plastic and silver jewellery is a must-see. So go see it.
Would you buy a spoon that's all bent out of shape? You might if it were re-bent into an even better shape like, say, a circle that fits neatly around your finger. Barking Irons, though known more for their fabulous vintage t-shirt designs, also forges rings and pendants from antique spoons emblazoned with images of turn-of-the-century New York (their present-day hometown). Pictured here is the "North River" ring, US$295.
That grey emblem isn't an instructional diagram it's the logo for Japan's Harvest, designers, creators and purveyors of colourful wooden rings made from recycled skateboards! Available in six styles and many colours, they retail for ¥7,000 (about US$60) each. Personally, I'm eyeing the skull brooches. And I think they're eyeing me back.
Bonus link pet peeve: the thrill of finding the coolest ring ever only to be followed by the disappointment of realizing I'd need fingers as fat as rolled-up napkins to wear it.
So you've got on your dagger earrings (US$110) and your large blade necklace (US$130) would this Colosseum ring be too matchy? The silver and gold one-of-a-kind piece by MassArt instructor Donna Veverka is just one in a series inspired by classical, gothic and Renaissance architecture (her amphitheater is my favourite). The majority of her regular collection, however, revolves around ancient weapons, like the aforementioned daggers and blades. Who knew sharp and pointy could be so wearable?
These shapely silver rings are the creation of seasoned Dutch jeweller Richard Walraven. They remind me of Playdough pasta makers or, more deliciously, cookie cutters. The only thing is, it isn't quite clear to me just where the finger is supposed to go. "Vingertopringen" seems to suggest they're to be worn on your fingertips, which weirds me out a bit, but then I just think a bit more about cookies and it's all good.
When you're named Alice, as I happen to be, you endure a lifetime of people declaring, "Like Alice in Wonderland!" upon being introduced. It is never Alice B. Toklas, Alice in Chains or even Alice from Dilbert, always just that adventurous, blue-dressed blonde. This can lead to an involuntary twitching in response to anything Wonderland-related, so it was not without trepidation that I visited Drink Me, Alice. Luckily, the Australian jewellery site was stocked with cute pieces featuring vintage drawings encased in resin like the adjustable owl ring pictured here, $31.00 AUD. Flowers, deer and skulls also available, but not a white rabbit in sight (phew).
Beate Weiss is another artist I mentioned previously, in passing, without linking to the artist's site directly. (Note to self: stop doing that, will ya?) Her portfolio is like an illustrated field guide to the fulgent flora of fairy la-la land. I luuuurve it.
Bonus links (plural!) for the weekend: (1) Svenja John, who, of all the jewellers out there currently not making rings, is the one I most wish would make rings, and (2) the silliest US$4,250 you could ever spend.