Blog > March/April 2006
It must be frustrating, being Mother Nature. She's all nice and hospitable, going, "Welcome to my humble abode. It's a bit small, but it was a few billion years in the making and the fish seem to like it..." and we just run in waving our arms about, immediately tearing down curtains and rearranging her furniture, all, "Hey, nice trees, but they're in the way!" *chop* So, sometimes it's nice to sit back and let nature do the designing again, to let us see things as they were meant to be and not after they've been cut, sanded, polished, faceted, mounted and set in gold. Pictured above, Sheridan Kennedy's bonsai ring wisely retains the natural shape and arrangement of coral; at left, Eliphan Jewellery's Surasit Liphan uses silver and resin to mimic what nature created. Coincidentally, both artists are based in Australia, though Liphan originally hails from Thailand.
German jeweller Ursula Gnüdinger's work is at once sleek and voluminous, like Pantene hair. Despite its bold appearance, her jewellery's also lightweight, thanks to what she calls "metal mix" webs of fine steel that she covers with gold and silver to create deceptively airy pieces. Think of the insides as being teased and hairsprayed! Which would mean they're modern on the outside but '80s at heart. Sounds familiar.
Munich silversmith Helge Ott looks a little like Peter Gallagher and his jewellery looks a little like niiiice. I don't read German (except phonetically) but, according to the Babelfish translator, "elementary basic forms step surrounding area, which they penetrate and take up to itself into a tension-rich dialogue with that it.... Tension and immediacy lend them the immanent duality of peace and movement, unanimity and openness, centring and spaceseizing effect to its work." I couldn't have said it better myself. In English, maybe, but not in German. Spaceseizing!
In her words, Meiri Ishida's work consists of "color, humor, mixture, continuation, emission, and concentration." Of these elements, she picks colour as the "transcendent sensation." That's no surprise if you take a look at the Japanese artist's work, like the silver, paper and braided yarn ring pictured here. My favourite is the extravagantly colourful "spiral city" series, which combines felt, plastic, glass, silver and gold. As all good things should.
RISD instructor Brian Bergeron's tire rings certainly tread creative ground (pun intended, with apologies). Made for serious biking and auto racing aficionados like himself, they allow enthusiasts to express their passion for wheel-related activities without having to walk around in spandex and leather gloves 24/7. For that, we all thank him. Prices range from US$64.60 for a silver mountain bike tire to US$5,071.84 for a platinum car tire. Cool for riders and pedestrians alike!
My first thought upon seeing this fabulous mesh ring? Harrgghhhghghghhggghhrrhhhghrrrhhh. My second and third thoughts? More of the same. Yes, I've now perfected my Homer Simpson drool, thanks to Rina Tairo and her gorgeous jewellery. Her "droplet" pieces, like the ring pictured here, are striking yet totally wearable. The Helsinki-born artist, now a resident of the UK, also offers mesh bands (harrrghhh), solid metal styles (nnngghhrrrr) and a "pebbles" collection that includes the fab "double ring" (mmm, doubly). Most everything you see on her site is available in both gold and silver, with your choice of different gemstones.
Have you ever had a nightmare about thirteen black cats crossing your path as you walk under a ladder on a cracked sidewalk? Did you just answer "no" and then knock on wood? Then Rusty Pistachio of PNUT Jewelry is your man. The punk musician, who has a Masters degree in metals from SUNY, draws inspiration from tattoo art to create all sorts of chunky jewellery with lucky charms as a major theme. His rings feature many variations on the horseshoe, as well as bands engraved with words like "lucky" and "hope" or "evil" and "jinx" for the fate-tempters among you. Pictured here is the lucky horseshoe ring, US$85.
Though celebrated mostly for his Braille rings, New York's Christopher Roule also does organic albeit in two different ways. His "wing" collection is modelled after the wings of the fly, mosquito and wasp, while his "pulse" collection draws on the most organic machine of all: the human heart. Visit your friendly neighbourhood doctor, get a printout of your electrocardiograph, and send it into the desiginer; he'll then etch your personal EKG onto a pendant or ring along with your name and the date. Price starts at US$495, not including the doctor's bill.
If you're a crafter with an inferiority complex, brace yourself. Sydney's Jane Pollard takes handcrafting to another level by creating jewellery using string that she makes herself. Because store-bought string is for sissies. Lazy, lazy sissies. Once the string is prepared, buckles and buttons from her vast collection of vintage glass, plastic and bakelite found objects are strung together and transformed into an eclectic array of colourful jewellery, as exemplified by the quirky red, turquoise and ivory ring pictured here. It's kind of like Pashupatina for your fingers! Your lazy fingers.
I've never paid much attention to the major fashion houses when it comes to jewellery, so I figured it was about time I check out what they have to offer. A lot of it pretty much reminded me of why I never paid much attention to the major fashion houses when it comes to jewellery. However, nestled amongst all the diamonds and pearls, there were some pleasant surprises. This chunky "nougat" ring by Dior (pictured at right) was one of my favourites; you can also get it with an onyx clockface embedded on top. Also by Dior were some pretty rose rings ("Gwendoline"), an elegant and understated wedding band ("Câlin") and even a skull ring with diamond teeth. On the other hand, they had a series of monstrosities called "incroyables et merveilleuses." Well, they at least got the "incroyables" part right. Visit diorjoaillerie.com, click "product search," and select "rings" from the "category" dropdown list. Another pleasant surprise was Gucci, and not just because its site was unexpectedly user-friendly, complete with online shopping not that I have US$1,790 to drop on the gold "flora" ring pictured at left. After that figure, US$240 sounds like a downright bargain, especially when it nets you a sleek unisex plaited (not plated) ring like this. (If you're asked to select your country upon visiting those Gucci links, pick a country and then re-click my links to see the rings.)
Lots of cool and unusual pieces at n*m*oni designs from Brooklyn, like the plastic and sterling ring pictured here. Rings start on page six but it's definitely worth scrolling through the entire collection to see all the nature-y (that's a word) yet not immediately identifiable forms. I'm not sure if that bubbly appendage is supposed to be anything, but perhaps it's meant to vaguely resemble a sea anemone or sea n*m*oni, if*u*prefer.
It amuses me that, whether intentional or not, this wedding ring looks like a bloody gash along someone's finger. Or midsection. Either way, I like it! Copper and silver "fragment" wedding ring by Dutch artist Marjo van den Bekerom.
The female obsession with footwear is not a stereotype to which I subscribe but I know enough shoe-crazy, jewellery-loving women to concede that this ring might, for some, represent a kind of... accessory zenith. It's almost as though Monaco's Brigitte Giraudi, the designer behind Miss Bibi jewellery (and creator of this eye-catching heel), were daring any self-proclaimed fashion junkie not to buy this. Then again, her other pieces feature a miniature magnifying glass, a knife, a revolver and a candlestick, so maybe her target market is actually the chic women of the Clue boardgame fanclub.
Metalsmith Norma Gaytán grew up in Mexico and now divides her time between New York and Brussels. (Meanwhile, I divide my time between my desk chair and my couch.) In her "lines" collection, she combines precious metals with what you might call a precious fiber: silk! In this ring, she knots thread where you'd normally expect a stone. The blue hue also gives the ring a somewhat nautical look, which is good news for the trendy; apparently, the sailor look is "in" this season. If you like to keep up with that sort of thing but can't figure out how to make your Gilligan hat look business casual, this could be just the piece you need.
Easter is coming. I can tell because my mouth is full of crunchy Cadbury mini eggs (not creme eggs, let's be clear on that!). People think Hallowe'en candy is dangerous but it's those damn eggs that get me every year. Those damn, delicious, deceptively small pastel eggs. It doesn't hurt that the egg shape is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in nature, as London-based Rachel Seddon knows. These hand-forged silver and gold "Robin" rings are part of a series of ovoid jewellery by this artist.
I've seen puzzle-shaped rings before (like the one by Kiel Mead) but this piece, a winner in the 2006 iF Product Design Awards, is an actual 3D puzzle "composed of symmetrical parts arranged in pairs that fit each other" (hey, I never said the puzzle was challenging) "and a single part that works like a key, crossing the ring from one side to another forming a curvature that suits the finger." It's pictured here in 18k gold but is also available in silver on designer Antonio Bernardo's site, which you should visit to view more of his great work. My favourites: the snake ring (which is actually five rings interlocked) and the squeeze ring. If my currency conversion is correct, the price of the puzzle ring (1,250 Brazilian Reais) works out to US$580.
If this bed-of-nails style ring proves too painful to wear, don't worry the designer has thoughtfully provided a pillow-lined version as well. You might lose a little street cred but at least your finger will be puncture-free. Dutch-born but now based in Germany, jeweller Theo Smeets is a professor for jewellery and object design at the University of Applied Arts in Trier. Visit his site to see more of his very creative collection; I also love the snail ring from 1995 and flame ring from 1991.
D Lynn Reed has done something I never thought possible: create a pearl ring that's actually kind of... edgy. It still has some of the inherent elegance of pearls, though, so it's perfect for those days when you've got high tea in the afternoon and then a White Stripes show at night, as you probably do most weekends. Hand-fabricated sterling silver band with freshwater pearl, US$65.00.
Quartz is usually faceted, which makes this smooth piece by Illinois' Laura Kitsos a refreshing find. The lack of bezel (notice how the stone is attached directly to the band) makes it extra cool. I love the smokey colour and matte silver, too! US$120, available in sizes 2-12.
I like contrasting textures, like the crispy shell vs gooey inside of a roasted marshmallow or the hard chocolate vs soft ice cream of a dip cone. Or maybe I just like high-calorie sweets. No, there's definitely something about contrasting textures like the unyielding silver vs cushiony cotton of Heather Skowood's "Fluff" collection. Choose from an assortment of designs including a heart, sieve, X, vent (pictured here) and starburst.
Plexiglass and gold is not a combination you see often but Beate Klockmann marries the two interestingly, weirdly and beautifully in this ring. Visit her site and keep clicking the arrows at the bottom of each page to view more of her fantastic work. Maybe it's just the way her pieces are photographed, but I really like the stark, remote feel of her jewellery. If you're pressed for time, cheat by clicking here to view my favourite page :) Have a great weekend, all!
So it turns out that Laura, the correspondent who so kindly mentioned The Carrotbox on BBC Radio 1, is the same Laura who goes to all the best New York rock shows and blogs about them on The Modern Age. She was nice enough to send me an mp3 of the segment thanks!
Back to rings... with the weather warming up in most parts, it might be time to start putting away those wool sweaters, but here's one wool piece you can wear year-round: the beaded felt ring by Jenn Docherty (formerly known as SparrowGoods). Made of felted merino, silver beads and an adjustable silver-plated base, they come in 30(!) colours and go for a mere US$12. For rings that are 100% felt (albeit 1000% the cost), you can check out Kelly Mulloy's pretty jewellery and other objects.
Maps fascinate me. Road maps, in particular, are great examples of information design: visually complex yet simple to understand. I also love the graphic design of all those dots, stars, twisting lines and blue pools as does Suzanne Schmid of Zanne Jewelry, who figured that those familiar symbols of geography would make great accessories! There are no rings on her website but you can find them for sale at Fluid Style. Pictured here is the men's Spain ring, US$55; women's bands are also available for US$50.
Jelena Behrend was born and raised in Serbia but now resides in New York, where she meets with clients by appointment only and specializes in handcrafting custom pieces. Luckily for the rest of us, she also offers a regular collection for sale. This signature ring, featuring her cute bird logo in sterling silver, is US$225. It's also available (for $15 more) at Free People, who've recently begun carrying her pieces.
Apparently, my site was mentioned this morning on BBC Radio 1 exciting! Thanks to DJ Jo Whiley and her New York correspondent, Laura, and welcome to all you BBC listeners :)
Good thing it's Monday, because you may need all week to take in the volume of creativity on display at German gallery akène. The navigation can be tricky but it's fun to click around never knowing what you might see! Every time I thought I finished a section, I clicked an arrow and found myself gaping at still more incredible art. Pictured here, clockwise from top left: green postcard ring by Barbara Schmidt, iron ring by Ewa Doerenkamp, flower ring by Beate Weiss, beaded ring by Henriette & Martin Tomasi, silver and enamel ring by Tania Gallas.
Rings have nothing to do with brooches. I could elaborate on my point, but I think you can work it out for yourself: a ring possesses many ring-like attributes that a brooch does not, and vice versa. Surf a few hundred jewellery sites like I have, though, and you start to notice that some people lump the two categories together as though they were leftovers tossed into a mystery stew. They have separate sections for necklaces, earrings and bracelets, and then "rings and brooches." Lumped. Together. Why? I do not know. Perhaps Elfi Spiewack wondered the same thing and settled on that old solution of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" when she designed this awesome brooch/ring duo. The link will lead you to more of her fabulous work as well as to some other talented designers (notably Jane Dodd and Anna Wallis).
Bernardaud makes lots of pretty things with porcelain. I don't want to ruin the surprise for you but they might possibly, just maybe, make rings as well.
Mary Kanda, on the other hand, definitely doesn't make rings. No, really, she doesn't. But I had to link to her because everyone should see her happy, colourful jewellery made of inlaid glass beads and tile grout!
Jean Grisoni and his team of ten are a creative force in the true sense of the phrase. Their clients include Estée Lauder, Lego and the Louvre Museum, and their work encompasses everything from logo creation to photography to perfume-bottle design to architecture! Oh yes, and jewellery design, of course. While they also create pieces for other jewellers, this "African ring" of oxidized steel and 18k gold was created under the Jean Grisoni name. And really, why give the credit to anyone else when you produce something so cool?
Bonus link: USB ring
Cambridge, Massachusetts' Sheila Corkery is the woman behind this lovely horseshoe and enamel ring (US$800 for 18k gold or US$290 for silver). I LOVE that red hue and how it looks like a pool of hot, melted wax. If you happen to not like the red, the bad news is that you might be crazy, but the good news is the ring is also available without the enamel. Visit her site to check out this, the mushroom ring and other great pieces.
Spring means flowers and flowers mean tulips! I like simplicity in all things, including flowers; I've always favoured the smooth lines of (non-red) tulips, orchids and their ilk over the petal-mania of roses and chrysanthemums. The cute tulip ring pictured here is by max b. designs and goes for US$85 at trunkt. To view an entire collection dedicated to this humble flower, see the work of Turkey's Özlem Tuna.
By the way, today marks the launch of glassfiction, my personal line of handmade glass rings. I've been selling my pieces for a few weeks now but the line finally has a name! There's less variety there now than there is usually, but I'll be listing more styles soon.
You may want to take this piece and spread it on a slice of French bread, but it's actually a sculptural bone ring (US$55) from Coreen Cordova's Spring 2006 line.
In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, take a moment to learn all about the Claddagh ring, one of the most recognizable jewellery designs I can think of. Then, in less educational but far more entertaining celebration of St. Patrick's Day, go have a Guinness!
In the "amusing to me only" category, we have a photo of a ring on a carrot (third one down). I once toyed with that idea for my own product shots but, let's face it, I'm no Martin Parr.
Many of the items on Andrea Corson's site are one-of-a-kind, so if you like it, grab it! My favourite piece is the "floss daily" necklace (which, I promise, is far prettier than it sounds). I also like this fish ring, even though it reminds me of the pet fish that died in my "care" when I was a child. There's nothing quite like finding a fish lying sideways on the bottom of your aquarium, tapping the glass to see what's wrong, and having the fish slowwwly float to the surface of the water in its sideways position... all while its eyes its cold, bulgy eyes! are fixated on you, even in death. *shudder* But the ring? The ring is cute. US$220.
Israel's Sharon Lanciano works with one of my favourite materials: acrylic. One of her best styles features a silver base with an interchangeable acrylic top so you can plug in whatever colour suits your mood that day! "Deep Blue Sea," the ring pictured here, is a gorgeous piece of swirly blue and clear acrylic wrapped around a silver band and looks cool enough to soothe a sore throat. It's on sale for US$241.73 at Orange Jewelry, which offers free worldwide shipping.
Further proof that some people are brilliant geniuses and I am not one of them: Finland's Terhi Tolvanen made this ring out of a common drugstore item. Can you guess what it is before clicking to find out?
Bonus link: for a ring that's bursting with springtime cheer, turn to Sydney's Elizabeth Bower (nevermind that in Australia, they're actually bursting into, you know, autumn).
It's always a pleasure to come across gemstone jewellery that doesn't look like... well, all other gemstone jewellery. "Gold band with diamonds" isn't a phrase that fires the imagination but I like the way it's interpreted by Jessica Hengen. This piece, from her "texture" collection, is US$520 for 14k or US$660 for 18k gold.
I could've sworn I've written about Wouters & Hendrix before but I can't find a reference on my site! That means I've been severely remiss, because Antwerp's Katrin Wouters and Karen Hendrix are longstanding favourites of mine. Their pieces are always delicately feminine without being too precious. In North America, W&H jewellery can be found at Aloha Rag; this silver, coral and carnelian "Famous 5" ring set goes for a very reasonable US$270. Right now, they're also offering a limited edition box set to mark W&H's 20th anniversary. Each numbered box (only 200 were produced) contains two necklaces, two pairs of earrings, two brooches, one ring and a signed booklet all for $1010. That's not an insignificant amount of money but I think it's surprisingly well-priced considering you get seven pieces from a pair of well-established designers.
Calgary's Kari Woo is a jewellery designer and mixed media artist who draws inspiration from architecture and notions of space. I've been waiting for her site to be updated with more pieces but, in the meantime, there are a couple of rings (like the "protection" ring pictured here) and a nice array of brooches to be viewed. Some of the brooches remind me of another designer I admire, Teresa Robinson of smallthings.
While the thought of a disappearing ring horrifies me to no end, Berliner Susanne Sous loves to experiment with impermanent media when designing her jewellery. She's made rings out of butter, out of wax (complete with burning wick) and out of ice, as pictured at right. According to this article, "Each ring sells for approximately $43 US dollars. Upon wearing, the ring melts within minutes." On the bright side, you don't have to worry about sizing.
This sprout of knots is one of many interesting shapes you can find at Amsterdam's Floor Max (click the "collectie" link to view the gallery; some more pieces are filed under "projecten"). The designer likes to work with thin electrical wire to create powerful pieces out of fragile material.
Bonus link: Australia's Mark Vaarwerk. You'd never guess the rings (on page six) were made from plastic shopping bags!
One of my favourite places to browse is Shop SCAD, the online showcase for students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design. [I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and, since then, SCAD was mentioned on Daily Candy. That probably means many of you have recently visited the site not that it wasn't well-known to begin with but oh well!] Currently, I'm obsessing over Allyson Ross's bird bath ring (pictured here, US$120) and migration ring (US$250). (Thankfully, my fear of birds is confined mostly to birds in the flesh.) For something a little more wearable, I also love Kathryn Riechert's precious budding tree rings surprisingly affordable at US$28 for two trees or US$24 for one.
This is what happens when you get an animal-loving silversmith with a penchant for crochet. Welcome to the world of Felieke van der Leest.
Japan's Q-pot offers eleven collections of adorable jewellery with such unlikely themes as whipped cream and cheese (er, that's two separate themes, not some cruel, unappetizing combination, although they do combine whipped cream and chocolate with mouth-watering results). Pictured here is a black apple ring from their fruit collection, which also includes slices of melon and banana. Appropriately, there's also a tooth collection, though they seem to have skipped over a "bathroom scale" series. The pieces even come with themed packaging! Start at the homepage for links to each delicious group. What an ideal gift for a foodie friend or dentist!
For northern residents, summer seems like a distant mirage in February but, once March rolls around, warm rays and tank tops don't seem so impossibly far away anymore! With the help of this shell ring, maybe you can will the good weather to come just a little earlier this year. Look at it, try not to think about how it resembles a slimy snail shell, and imagine the sand between your toes. Ahh. Real seashell, US$285 at vivre.com.