Thou shalt not covet. Yea, right. There’s nothing to do but covet these absolutely astonishing rings by London jeweller Theo Fennell from his Masterworks collection. I spotted them in one of last year’s Vanity Fair magazines that I paged through again this weekend (when I had five minutes to myself), and then spotted them featured on the super-super-super cool Messy Nessy Blog. Which I took as a sign that I also needed to showcase them. I’ve never really been one for rings but these are a game changer for me. The exterior of each piece is exquisite enough, but what adds to their appeal is that each ring hides an extraordinarily detailed design that reveals a whimsical narrative inside. Each is a work of art, like little treasures that beg to be examined again and again.
The Chinese Secret Garden Ring
The Chinese Secret Garden Ring is hand-crafted from 18ct yellow and rose golds and takes its inspiration from a traditional Chinese garden and the beautiful birds that inhabit it. The top of the ring frames an African green tourmaline, surrounded by a row of diamonds, while the body of the ring has been engraved with ornamental cherry blossom. The miniature Chinese doors on either side of the ring open up to reveal two hand-painted enamel scenes of a sedge of cranes – traditionally symbolic of longevity, purity and a serene passage through life.
The Hermitage Ring
The Hermitage ring takes its inspiration ‘from the Aquamarine’s beautiful reflections and the way it mimics the sheen of the warm, shallow, tropical waters’. The design opens to reveal a miniature 18ct rose gold hermit crab set with rubies who has made his home on the seabed. The body of the ring, in yellow, rose and white golds portrays a magical underwater world inhabited by seahorses, turtles and fish – all of which have been deep-engraved by hand and set with pave diamonds.
The Adam & Eve Ring
The Adam & Eve is hand-crafted from 18ct yellow gold, with a snake carved from petrified lignum vitae, ‘the wood of life’. Surrounded by pave diamonds, a red enamelled ‘apple of temptation’ has been hidden. But there’s more. Lift up the delicate fig leaves on the side, and revealed are the miniature enamel paintings of Adam and Eve, naked and being expelled from the garden.
Kissing Frogs Ring
A sugarloaf, ethically sourced emerald is surrounded by a hand-engraved and enameled bull rush scene, opening to reveal two little frogs kissing.
Over The Rainbow
Somewhere, over the rainbow, this ring is mine! Inspired by the story of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, crafted from 18ct yellow gold and set with pave diamonds, the rock crystal dome has been carved with clouds that show a hand painted rainbow, opening up to reveal the treasure. The wooden doors on either side of the ring open to reveal two village scenes, both of which have been hand-enamelled.
The Opening Wardrobe Ring
This hand crafted ‘wardrobe’ ring opens to reveal hand painted enamel scenes of Narnia. On the top of the wardrobe are a gun case, a hat box and a suitcase that opens to reveal a minutely detailed spider. Long live Aslan!
The Black Diamond Castle Ring
A black diamond surrounded by glimmering diamonds sit in a mount that has been fashioned as a brick castle with an opening draw bridge, with chain mechanism, revealing the castle within.
The Mole & Toad Ring
Paying homage to The Wind In The Willows, toad and mole are perched on a miniature gold bridge, deep in conversation. Made of gold, the ring features opening gates, a hand-engraved bridge and river to the rhodiumed figurines, who are underneath a rock crystal dome surrounded by diamonds.
Emerald City Ring
There’s no place like home… Another extraordinarily detailed ring revealing the yellow brick road and an enamel image of Dorothy and her friends easing on down.
Opal Dawn Ring
A beautiful opal surrounded by diamonds features engraved dragonflies & butterflies among the bulrushes below a peridot heart on either side, bringing to mind the British countryside. The ring opens to reveal a hand-painted enamel scene of the sun setting across the water. I keep thinking of that lovely, swoonsomely romantic dawn scene near the end of the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, where Darcy tells Lizzie, ‘You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love… I love… I love you’. I feel the same way about these rings!
So which would you choose, given the gazillion or so pounds they cost? I’m sweet on Mole & Toad, Over The Rainbow, and the Chinese Secret Garden.