Almost 10 years ago to the day — during New York Fashion Week — I introduced one of my most famous and enduring jewelry designs: my sterling-silver swear ring set.
The rings immediately took off with my gorgeous, adventurous blogging customers including Queen Michelle of Kingdom of Style …
… and Julia of the Thank You Project. Julia was my first customer in Russia AND the first customer to ask for her swear rings to be gold-plated.
Buyers at big retailers like Bloomingdale’s fell in love with the rings too, but they all talked themselves out of the purchase. They told me they were scared to take something like this to their bosses. Of course, as I always say, “Never Is the Next New Thing™,” so everyone eventually got used to the idea of naughty jewelry. Did the stores then buy their swear rings from me? Nah, why do business with a small designer when you can just copy her? Topshop did it first in, turning out a cheap brass version of my unique font FOUR YEARS after I introduced the style.
They knew they did wrong …
… but it still wound up costing me $3,000 in legal fees to get the rings out of the stores as well as off the website.
After that, some wholesaler started churning out an even more identical-looking version of the rings, and I wound up playing a game of retailer Whack-A-Mole, requesting that the various stores that purchased the copies stop selling them. (Most of the stores were very cooperative.)
There’s no way to stop this kind of design plagiarism, of course, but I wasn’t going to take it lying down either. It devalues my product and brand when a company makes a sloppier version with cheaper materials while making it look nearly as good as the original in photos. People just look at the pictures and say to the originator, “You’re ripping us off for hundreds of dollars when clearly this is just worth $22!” Um, no. Sorry. Beautifully finished silver costs a lot more than poor quality brass copies. In fact, the knock-offs are guaranteed to be marked up from cost many times more than my work is. Knock-offs are only worth doing if the factory is spending $1 and getting $22 back.
While I never got the big retailer sales, I did get some press …
… including this nice mention from InStyle.com.
Not that long ago, the swear rings wound up on Bella Hadid in Paper Magazine. I mean, these things have had a long life!
The swear rings were requested for shoots so often that I put aside a few pristine sets so that one batch could go out while the previously shot group was getting repolished (a lot of times jewelry isn’t handled very carefully on set). That led to a big surprise for me today, because — while doing a deep dive into inventory — I found those specially saved sets! I’ve got three in regular silver and two in gold-plated silver.
So, if you feel like you’ve got no fucks to give these days, you can buy yourself a set! But don’t delay, because these are the very last of the swear rings. I won’t be making any more. The style had a good long run, but I’m discontinuing my work in silver in order to concentrate on gold and platinum designs. (I’ll talk about that more in a future post.) A lot of my silver designs do work in the other metals, but not rings of this size! Get this iconic, trendsetting original while you can. If you follow me on Instagram, you can DM me for a special price for my IG followers.