Blog > November/December 2006
I've mentioned pink-haired Franziska Venrath before (in May), but the Swiss artist really requires a full post of her own. Dog heads, frog princes, gnomes trapped in resin like Pee-wee's Playhouse, her world is whimsical with just a glimmer of creepy underneath the surface. And then there are the Barbie rings, like the one pictured here (you did recognize her from her eyes, right?). You know, she and Margaux Lange ought to get together and watch Dexter sometime.
Please note that posting will be sporadic for the next couple of weeks. I'm sure you can figure out why. I hope you're all enjoying the holiday season so far!
New Zealand's Marty Jestin creates cool, graphic pieces using recycled materials. At left is the awesome "Beam Me Up!" ring (NZ$350), which uses part of a car dashboard! And at far left are the perfect complement to my love of shiny faucets. See more here.
If his bio photos are any indication, Italian designer Ivan Sicigano loves spending time on the water. It's a bit paradoxical, then, that his jewellery looks positively desiccated. His rings, like the piece pictured here, are as porous as brittle bones; others are scaly, cracked and peeling like a parched desert floor. Yet, somehow, he makes these qualities look gorgeous. Too bad the jewellery thing panned out he could've been a great dermatologist.
Say the words "hedgehog" and "chocolate" together around here and everyone thinks of these. Over in Paris, however, jeweller Lorenz Bäumer has a different idea namely, this sparkling hedgehog ring featuring 6.1 carats of chocolate diamonds set in 18k gold. And, like the edible version with its truffle filling, this one has something special inside: empty space. Swivel its body and you'll find a small compartment, perfect for hiding the Excedrin you'll need from the sugar crash after gorging on chocolate hedgehogs.
This is the time of year for all things luxe! Get in the mood by browsing the work of Munich's Susa Beck, whose ornate pieces are tailor-made (or maybe that should be "jeweller-made") for special occasions. Pictured here are her "Starlake" (right) and "Vanity Fair" rings.
It's nice when serious artists can take a moment to stop being so serious. Harold O'Connor is an accomplished goldsmith who's been practicing for over forty years and whose work appears in museums around the world, including the Smithsonian. But that doesn't mean he's not above a little 18k gold and silver steak ring. I bet everyone tells him how well done it is.
Rowboats, barnacles, starfish, pebbles... it's all fresh air and coastal living at Decamp (even the name is outdoorsy). Designer Annie Decamp has a great collection that I can only describe as "modern and classic," cliché as that may sound. Everything feels familiar (there's the "classic") but new (and there's the "modern"). Ok, yes, the ring with the baby bird crying in its nest scares me just a little but this designer is still one of my new favourites. Pictured here are her rowboat rings, US$184 each. [Whoa! Her site has totally changed since I wrote this post but, lucky for me, she still has a link to the previous version.]
I just took a look at the past few posts and WOW, is there ever a lack of cheery colours! You'd think it were winter or something. Let's juice things up a bit: check out Israel's Orna Lalo.
This fabulous piece is a ring and a brooch. To wear as a ring, just stick your finger through it. To wear as a brooch, stick the pin through it. My gosh, is there anything modern science can't do? By English designer Heidi Butler.
Look, it's the anti-cocktail ring! This piece may not have a honking five carat sparkler on top but, thanks to its strikingly unusual proportions, the tiny gold cube is still a stand-out. But if that's not enough for you, the cube's been highly polished so it looks like a sparkling diamond from afar (I'm thinking you'd have to be way afar to make that mistake, but I'll take the designer's word for it). See more interesting shapes from the UK's Victoria Stockbridge at podshops.com.
The sword, with its long, lean silhouette, lends itself very nicely to dangling that's why you see it so often in earrings and necklaces, hanging off chains and swinging to and fro. But how do you get a shape like that to look good on a finger? Here's one way, by New York's Viola Valone (14k gold, US$860).
The object in this photo might not look like a ring to you, but it is just add ink. This "Stempelschmuck" from Kwikshop, a Berlin store with walk-up window access only, is a rubber stamp you can use to temporarily brand yourself with one of four words: goldring, diamantring (both self-explanatory), verlobungsring (engagement ring) or ehering (wedding ring). But at just €5 per stamp, why limit yourself?
Can it really be that time of year again?
Not to harp on the commercial aspect of the holidays or anything but good luck with your shopping, should you choose to venture into one of those "mall" thingamajigs.
Festive silver ring by Dutch designer Daniëlle Koninkx.
Different rings, different designers, same name: the Love Knot. On the left: sterling silver, brass and black enamel paint, by Brisbane, Australia's Marisa Molin. On the right: a hunk of sterling silver, great for everyday wear, by Luca (at Vert New York).
Speaking of wraparounds, did you know that the woman synonymous with the wrap dress also has a line of fine jewellery? Designed by H.Stern for Diane von Furstenberg, the eye- catching power rings are fabulously chunky but not too over-the-top. Available in classic gold (US$2,100), brushed gold (US$3,300), quartz (pictured here, US$3,600) or encrusted in diamonds (US$17,000 or, as I like to think of it, fifty wrap dresses).
Super sleek, super polished, super... Italian. That's the consistent aesthetic at Pianegonda, founded by brother and sister Franco and Maria Luisa Pianegonda in Vicenza, Italy. Even a cursory glance through their catalogue leaves a strong impression; the next time you spot a Pianegonda piece, you'll know it. While the ring pictured here is adorned with a cluster of their signature circles, it's the more streamlined wraparound heart that first caught my eye.
See? I'm not only about the bold, modern rings. Once in a while, even I can let out a teensy sigh over something ornate and delicate, something pretty. And if it's pretty you want, there's plenty of it at Zhen U.N. (pronounced, apparently, "genuine"), website of St. Louis designer Jennifer Yuan (or "jenyuan" get it?). Pictured here is her "Divine Blues" ring, 18k gold with tear-shaped apatites, US$755.
And here, to wrap up the week, we finally have a solution to that dilemma of how to wear gloves and rings at the same time. Say thanks to German designer Caro Bärtling, who also has awesome needlepoint rings like the ones by Corina Rietveld that I freaked out about earlier this year.
While we Canadians already had our Thanksgiving in October (we're on a metric calendar, you see), today's the big holiday south of the border. If you want to dress for the occasion without resorting to turkey-print socks, this sleek wishbone ring should do the trick. Just slip it on and have fun resisting the urge to pull it apart. 18k rose gold wishbone ring, US$750, by L.A.-based Jennifer Meyer, a former Hollywood publicist.
Norwegian artist and teacher Heidi Sand creates Spirographic jewellery and bowls, where the focus is on repeating patterns and circular forms. The "rotating" rings pictured here emphasize straight lines, but most of her other work has a pretty, ornamental, lace-like quality.
They call themselves Han Cholo and you navigate the site by controlling a joystick: welcome to the sci-fi/hip-hop Tron-iverse created by Brandon Schoolhouse and Guillaume Pajolec, working out of Echo Park in Los Angeles. Visit for the pop-lockin' silhouette pendants, stay for the light sabre sound effects. Pictured here: turntable baby ring, US$140 for silver, $160 for gold-plated or $1,520 for 14k gold.
These may look like charm bracelets but, unless you're new here, you know they're actually rings! Carolina Bucci, born into a Florentine family who's been making jewellery since 1885, does a great job of straddling the line between fun and fine jewellery. Pictured here are rings from her "Aster" collection.
Ooh, I am loving these rings. Hunky quartz, large facets, brushed metal: three elements that go together like chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. They're the jewellery equivalent of s'mores, is what I'm saying. Delicious. To see s'more, including some fab honeycomb rings, check out Berlin's Sigrid Widmoser.
Bonus link for the weekend: Scotland's Alison Macleod and her bra bits.
Tons of tiny treasures to be found at group f.f.f.f., a collective of five not four, as you might infer from their name female Estonian artists: Kristi Paap, Berit Teeäär, Ketli Tiitsar, Maria Valdma and Kaire Rannik. (If you think their names rock, you should see their group photo.) There are some non-tiny treasures, too, as the artists' work extends to larger sculptures and installations as well. Pictured here: Berit Teeäär's cork and wax "sink or swim" ring.
The way these pieces are proportioned, with such large stones hanging off such delicate wire, they look more like wine glass charms than rings to me. And that makes them intriguing. "Stack rings" by Los Angeles designer Amy Dinkins, US$49 at Fall Leaves (her website).
I love the clean, modern and bold style (how many times have I used those words before?) of Argentinian Paula Levy's jewellery. The website's a little maddening but the striking designs are worth it (mostly brushed silver, with some colourful acrylic thrown in the mix as well). This piece is like a more refined take on those stretchy beaded bracelets you see all the time; in ring form with sleek silver "beads," it's completely transformed and completely cool.
Don't let their cute faces fool you. These rings, by San Francisco's Hilary Finck, are more than just your average silver and enamel rings they spin! And not only do they spin, they were made using the rare art of plique-à-jour: an enamelling technique similar to cloisonné, except that rather than being fired on a metal background, the enamel is suspended within the filigree, allowing light to shine through. The result? Enamel that looks like stained glass.
I've already talked about some of the artists who appear in the Friends of Carlotta gallery, but the rest of the photos more than make up for the doubles. I mean, hello, polarbear snowglobe spaceship ring? That alone is worth a week of posts or a thousand words, easy. And wait 'til you hear what this piece is called! "Spacebear Fred on the Search for Flash Gordon" by Bruna Hauert, sterling silver. Have a great weekend, Spacebear Fred!
The MAK contemporary art gallery in Vienna just wrapped up an exhibition of Chapeau!, a series of rings by Dieter Roth in collaboration with goldsmith Hans Langenbacher. The ring tops can be fitted with different chapeaux (as shown here) or even heads. View more images at the Periferia Gallery website; the colourful sketches are just too cute.
Do you know what this is?
This is a ring.
Shaped like panties.
I wonder if that's why the finger looks like it has a wedgie.
"Underwearing" by Geneva artist Natascha Guignard.
Switzerland's Essor (Philipp Thüler, Suzanne Nabulon and Juliette Keller) creates modern jewellery with interchangeable transparent films so you can switch the design on your ring when you want a new look. Their site also features a must-see gallery of other artists; navigate by mousing around the diagram of the room.
This ring does a lot with very little. It's all about the shape, the slight tarnish and the delicate etching; I imagine when worn, it would frame the finger like a royal crest, or look like a pair of trophy antlers on your hand. Quite the jump from its former life as a fork handle! View more delicate outlines of cutlery by Monika Strasser, a German designer based in Zurich, Switzerland who works around the concept of "recycling history."
I'm conflicted. On one hand, I think this is a bold ring: a chunky piece of sterling silver and champagne quartz wrapped in 24k gold. On the other hand, I feel like I should lift up the foil edges, remove the dome and eat the take-out noodles inside. Available at Nava Zahavi, US$815.
It's no secret that Anthropologie has an amazing jewellery selection but the last time I featured one of their rings, it was to poke fun at its unabashed hideousness (I won't link to it again but, trust me, it was bad). Here, once again, the shop strays from its usually refined tastes and offers up this l'amour sauvage ring (US$198). This piece is actually kind of cute, though, in a pigtails and lollipops and knife-wielding-vandals-in-detention kind of way. Now where's Judd Nelson so I can give him my diamond stud earring?
Now this is cool. The fabulous swirly stone in this ring isn't stone at all rather, it's a piece of "Detroit agate." Also called "Fordite," it's made of layers and layers of car paint accumulated over the years inside the spray booth at an automotive plant. Because it's car paint, it's light but relatively durable. Unfortunately, due to changes in spray painting technology, Fordite is now increasingly hard to find. Crummy technology, always ruining things! (I'm kidding! Please don't leave me, technology!) Ring by Michigan's James Blanchard, at Gallery Fifty.