Fashion Note: Dangerous Digits

I love rings. My hands feel strange if I’m not wearing one. I’ve amassed a collection of gaudy cocktail rings over the years, most of them salvaged from thrift shops and antique stores, and I usually go for the multi-color and sparkly variety. Lately I’ve toned it down a bit though, opting for simple and classic bands inherited from my grandmothers and guaranteed not to leave moldy-looking stamps on my skin every time I wash my hands.

But’s accessories index has put me in the mood for a change. The surrealist creations of Jack Vartanian include spooky black spiders, bronze scorpions, and silver handcuffs, but my favorite is the leopard, made from 18k gold and black diamonds. I love its naturalistic pose – my cat sits like this on the arm of my couch all the time.

Directly above: Jack Vartanian Leopard Ring. At top: Three-Finger Tribal Spike Ring by Pamela Love. It’s the perfect accessory for a solitary walk home at the end of the night. Just be careful when you hug your friends good-bye.

I also love the organic shapes and colors of Kimberly McDonald‘s Fall 2011 collection. The asymmetry and inky outlines on this one caught my eye, and I think I could wear it for ages and never get tired of looking at it. I’d stare at the speckled indigo center and contemplate the limitless expanses of the universe. McDonald uses a variety of naturally derived geodes and agates, combined with untreated precious materials and reclaimed gold, so her nature-lover aesthetic is reflected in her process. Which makes me want one even more, because that’s how I would operate if I was a rad jewelry designer.

Kimberly McDonald Cocktail Ring. Doesn’t the middle part remind you of the universe?

But the initial inspiration for this post is the ring-as-weapon trend made evident in’s selection. I like that they’re masculine and a bit punk. I’d juxtapose the Mawi versions with pink glittery nail polish or a floral dress, something innocent and girly. The finished look would say, “I’m sweet, but don’t screw with me.”

Spike Ring by Mawi
Devil Horn Ring by Mawi

Pamela Love‘s also got quite a range of spiky, pointy, dangerous-looking rings featured in both the Spring and Fall collections of 2011. Aside from the brass-knuckles version pictured at the top, there are several others that could probably inflict serious pain with minimal effort. For example:

Bronze Stake Ring by Pamela Love


Barb Ring by Pamela Love

They’re interesting and unusual, and I’d wear them. Even if they didn’t go with my outfit, I’d keep them in my evening bag and just wear one to walk home at the end of a late night. However, they could be tricky at times, and would require significant caution whilst petting your dog, drinking a martini, or using the ladies room…

Speaking of rings, did you know that Karl Lagerfeld’s ring (and glove) obsession is derived from his mother’s insistence that his hands are unattractive? Alicia Drake writes about it in The Beautiful Fall, her deliciously addictive dual biography of Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.

I have to say though, he wears them well.

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