When I was little, I played with small plastic animals rather than dolls. My favorites were the horses, but I was happy with anything: cows, pigs, elephants, lions, fish, whatever. I would line up the animals in my room and lecture them. In first grade, I frequently tried to sneak an animal to school with me as a sort of pocket-sized security blanket. I always felt more confident when I had a little company within petting distance.
I never totally grew out of that, though my animals became fancier and funnier over the years. When I was in college in New York City in the 1980s — when sidewalk vendors were often selling good arts and crafts rather than plastic handbags made in China — I found a man selling a silver bell shaped like a dragon. The artist told me it was a “happy dragon.” I had to ask: why was it happy? “Because he had a really good knight,” the guy said, turning the dragon over to show me the tiny knight-shaped bell clapper inside. I thought that was the cutest!thing!ever! I bought it, and you can see from my jewelry designs that the concept of hidden treasures left a huge impression on me. I have a gold egg locket that opens up to reveal a silver chicken (who, in turn, opens up to reveal three little eggs) …
… and a gold acorn that houses a tiny gold squirrel.
My love of tiny animal totems inspired my new jewelry collection: the Maneaters. The first design for that collection — my 18K gold Frog and Prince ring — is January’s Jewel of the Month. This complicated piece took me a full year to complete. In October, I gave my Facebook followers a sneak peek of the frog.
If you look closely at that picture, you’ll see the frog’s back is 18K green gold (which is actually yellow with a slight hint of green), while the rest of him is 18K rose gold. Here’s the same view of the finished frog.
… and he has diamond eyes. The frog is perched on an 18K-yellow-gold “branch,” which is studded with a third of a carat of brown diamonds.
The influence of the 1980s dragon bell can be seen inside the ring, where I placed an 18K-white-gold carving of a prince with diamond eyes.
To sum it up, that’s four colors of gold (totaling 22.9 grams of gold), four different-colored gems, and a luxurious little frog “toy” that you can wear openly on your finger instead of hiding it in your pocket.
I’ve made only one Frog and Prince ring and the price is available upon request. If you think you’re ready to splurge, email me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com for more information.
The wax models are ready for my next two Maneater rings, and now that I’ve finished the frog, I’m starting the metal work on the second design. I can’t tell you what that one is yet, but I can tell you what it’s not: a dragon and a knight. I’m saving that one for later!