At first glance, my mother and I don’t look a lot alike. She has fair skin and bright blue eyes, framed by soft, strawberry-blonde curls (in fact, my daughter inherited all of these traits), while my dark curls hang thickly around olive-toned features and brown eyes. The similarities lie deeper, except for one identical feature. Our hands. The curves and bends, the lines and even the gestures are identifiable replicas of each other.
I’m reminded daily of my inherited hands. The ring I wear is the same one I saw wrapped around her finger throughout my childhood. The ring passed from generation to generation. I feel lucky to be its bearer.
When you think about it, a ring, simple in its shape and adorning so many hands around us, is filled with the symbolism the wearer grants it. Whether a wedding or engagement ring, a gift from a loved one or souvenir picked up on your travels, it is the one accessory that sparks emotion in us all.
But how often do we think farther back? Before we opened the box and placed it on our finger? They say there is a true connection between the craftsman and the rings they solder, carve and shape. Each ring unique, the imperfections tell a story.
I have never been lucky with jewelry. Bracelets have been lost, necklaces broken or forgotten, but rings are strong, able to withstand the daily bumps, thumps and scrapes of my typical day. That’s why, when I recently discovered jewelry and optical designer, Nastassia Aleinikava, I suddenly thought to grace another finger with a new “friend.”
I saw this ring (pictured above) from her collection, Vojnich’s Manuscript, in a small boutique in Prague just before Christmas. The double-finger design and nature-inspired ornamentation spoke to me. The stores are still closed over here, but I’m counting down the days until I can return to the shop and call this beauty my own.
In case this story sparked a desire to wrap one (or two) of your own fingers in gold, we gathered more local, European golden goodies to choose from below.
The Twice Ring, by Small Affaire, made in silver with 18k gold plating, is a clear showstopper. Meant to be layered , the Twice ring is part of a new collection celebrating the ‘60s and ‘70s. At Small Affaire, led by Nuria Blazquez, they pride themselves on their use of sustainable practices, traditional methods and timeless design.
Ange B Designs
Angela (Ange) B. took her passion for jewelry design and opened her Etsy shop, Ange B Designs, in 2016. This Lunar ring, made from recycled gold, is handmade-to-order by Ange in her little garden workshop in West London. We’d like one for every finger, please.
As stated in her bio, Flora makes objects that are both intimate and meaningful to their owners … jewelry, which not only adorns, but ‘talks’ or sometimes ‘whispers.’ These sculptural rings moved quickly to the top of my wishlist. I’m just not sure whether to wear them or display them.
Oh Marion! We love this little chain-link 18k gold beauty. Hermine launched her business, Douze, in Paris in 2017, with a focus on slower consumption and more responsible fashion. “I also wanted and still want to focus on women, eternal sources of inspiration,” she writes. Her collections are all named for special women in her life.
Each piece of KIND jewelry is handmade in London by founder Tansy Haak. Her signature designs offer a clean, organic look. We love the eclipse ring, with its asymmetric design. In support of the global charity, One Tree Planted, Haak has pledged to donate a tree for every online purchase made. Buy one, get one tree!
Norrfolks’ hand-twisted gold band is stunning in its simplicity, exuding a curvy, feminine character. Designed in Stockholm, each piece is handcrafted of recycled gold in an historical old town south of Madrid, with over five centuries of tradition in crafting fine jewelry.
Welcome to the imaginative universe of jewelry designer Maria Nilsdotter. From her atelier in Stockholm, Nilsdotter creates distinctive pieces that often tell unique stories inspired by Scandinavian folklore, and the mythical landscapes of Swedish painter John Bauer. The handcrafted Bumblebee ring is a standout of her Nocturnal Creatures collection.
Elise Tsikis blends her father’s Greek heritage with her upbringing and arts education in Paris when designing her jewelry, marrying traditional raw materials to a modern and current style. In line with her fairminded practices, the Egra ring uses 24k recycled gold.
Time for a little fun! For the young at heart, the Pinky Promise Ring is part of a collaboration collection between Mood Good and illustrator Holly St Clair. Holly’s iconic illustrations adorn the band and ‘Pinky Promise’ is engraved on the inside. Each piece from Mood Good is designed and made ethically, from recycled metals, in small workshops around East London.
Bepart studio was founded in 2012 by Petra Arbetova, whose philosophy centers around finding the beauty in minimalistic forms, graphic elements & modern simplicity. She designs and hand-fabricates every piece in her studio in Slovakia. The Double Line ring is a subtle design which creates a big enough statement to wear alone, but “also plays well with others,” according to its description.
Vibe Harsløf has become known as a jewelry designer who seamlessly blends Scandinavian minimalism with bold urban influences. Her Elsa collection utilizes Vibe’s favorite gourmette chain, which she has worked with for many years. This delicate two-finger style is effortless and elegant, while the chain adds a cool edge.
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