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Put a Tooth on It? (And other ring ideas when diamonds just aren’t enough)

The saying is diamonds are a girls best friend right? That may be true for some, but this writer right here is personally more of a pearls type of gal who fidgets with rings so I rarely wear them. Here’s the thing, my Facebook is bursting with wedding announcements and wedding photo profile pics, my TV set is bombarded daily with a slew of programming about single gals working overtime to meet and get a special someone to walk them to the chapel (of their choosing), and of course magazines and the world wide web are doing their part to break down and highlight all sorts of relationship dynamics. The common factor remains this, more people than not have an interest in getting to a marital alter of sorts and the wedding ring is typically a symbol of that activity having occurred.

As the ring fidget-er I’ve proclaimed myself to be, I’ve long since wondered what am I going to do with my wedding ring—you’re not suppose to take that puppy off! I loved that Carrie on Sex and the City made wearing your engagement ring as a necklace famous (but post the ceremony, who does that? Do I want to be the first to start that trend…??) The first time I saw someone with a tattoo wedding ring, I secretly thought, well that sounds like a nifty idea.

1.Tattoo Rings: cute and for some couples a practical alternative!

In a comment area on one an offbeatbride.com web post, a reader shared that,

“My husband is applying to med schools and if he becomes a surgeon, he promised me he’ll get either Rachael or Taken on his ring finger because he’ll have to take his ring off so much. : )”

The website also lists some of the more popular designs people tend to go with,

  • Two simple parallel lines wrapping the entire finger
  • Barbed wire wrapping the finger
  • A ring designed to look like a Celtic knot that is contained within two lines, wrapping the finger
  • A Claddagh ring
  • Your loved one’s name
  • Your loved one’s first initial
  • The date of your wedding in numbers
  • The date of your wedding in Roman numerals
  • A combination of your joined initials with the date of the wedding
  • A “classic ring” look of a simple band with a “stone” tattooed at the top
  • A small design only at the top of the finger, with no band going around it

In a world were people are seemingly more creative and innovative than they used to be, custom rings are getting all sorts of shades of different.

2.Tooth ring anyone? I stared at my phone perplexed recently as a tattoo model I follow on instagram, recently became engaged to her longtime boyfriend and tattoo artist, because her ring was a tooth. I thought, is that a real tooth? Whose tooth is it then? Why would you want a tooth that even looks human on your finger as your wedding ring?? Where do you get a ring like that? Who would make that?!

Well, on Etsy, that  handmade goodies website, those crafty folks think of everything.

Tessa E. Rickard has a unique jewelry line called dolldisasterdesign  where she has created some decidedly original designs for rings, earrings, necklaces, etc, many of which teeth inspired.

“The teeth are vintage fake teeth, they look real, but they are not.”

Hers may be fake teeth, but Australian jewelry designer Polly van der Glas is all about the real thing. Yep, human teeth all the way.

“Human teeth are locally donated and sterilised, and human hair is either locally donated or sourced from India and China. Teeth are particularly difficult to come by, so any donations are gratefully accepted.”

Using sterling silver in conjunction with real human hair and teeth she creates rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Per her website: http://vanderglas.com.au/ and via her Esty page as well: http://www.etsy.com/shop/vanderglas
As I perused the many, many other teeth styling options on Esty (see here to see what I mean), it was there I learned that many are inspired by Victorian mourning/memorial rings.

“Are you familiar with mourning rings? If not, they’re exactly what they sound like: rings (and other types of jewelry, but mostly rings) you wear to commemorate the dead. They were especially popular in Victorian times, and although they can pretty much be anything, they’re usually combinations of gold and onyx and/or porcelain (sometimes painted with urns or graveyard scenes), and many contain locks of the dead person’s hair. Sometimes the hair is just loosely held in an open-able chamber in lieu of a jewel, while other times it’s woven into a pattern.”

Source: The hairpin

Dating back to pre-industrial societies, we’re talking during the time when the Black Death was spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, jewelry gained in popularity as a means to commemorate of the dead. The practice was particularly huge “during the 1800s in England, when Queen Victoria created a mourning ring for the passing of her lover Prince Albert.”

“Memorial rings were often times designed by an individual to be given to their heirs upon their death. In addition, memorial rings were some times given while still alive to remind others of the preciousness of life.”

(Read more: What Is a Mourning Ring?)

3. Now take that ideology, unite it with the concept of synthetic diamond creation, and essentially you get a product pioneered by the Illinois Company LifeGem ™.

Since 2001 they have offered a unique twist on diamond creation:

“they make memorial diamonds from carbon that’s captured during the cremation of human remains, and more recently from locks of hair. The diamonds give family members a lasting memento, one that’s beautiful and can be worn continuously.

LifeGem recommends you use one of their certified cremation facilities for best results, but the company says it can nearly always retrieve enough carbon to make diamonds from previously cremated individuals, even if the cremation occurred years ago.”

(they can even produce diamonds from pet remains…)

Now talk about creepy beautiful. Check out the provided link to their website. Quite stunning. Their website homepage encapsulates their motivation in a rather lovely way.

“Love. Life’s single greatest risk. Life’s single greatest reward. Love captures your heart in a second and holds it for eternity. You have experienced a love without equal.

You have had someone truly special in your life and mere words simply will not do.”

Now I don’t know if that’s the kind of engagement ring I’d want to receive passed down from grandma (yeah the one filled with grandpa’s ashes!) but somehow it helps make the symbolism behind giving a tooth ring more plausible. Though I’d probably go the faux teeth route, just saying.

If precious stones do remain your thing, more power to you! This fantastic article from the Engagement Ring Guru Unique Engagement Rings That Go Beyond Individuality, gets into the nitty gritty of some really special and unique engagement rings influenced by different cultures. Some of their finding include:

 Puzzle rings: Composed of 4 to 12 interlocking bands that, when properly arranged, create a smooth interwoven ring. The concept was that if a party removed it to cheat on the partner, they would be unable to reconnect it properly, warning the betrothed of the infidelity.

Gimmel rings: With Gimmel rings, each of the engaged couple wore one band of a 2 bands ring. When the pair wed, the bands were rejoined, usually remaining with the woman.

Celtic Engagement Rings: These unique engagement rings set themselves apart by frequently using several different hued stones. Rubies, emeralds, sometimes colored diamonds are set in a filigreed band.

Mokume Gane: Not European, but Japanese, the term translates to mean ‘wood grain metal”. It is an ancient Japanese technique of forging precious metals into distinctive swirling patterns, and layering different metals atop one another to create that swirling effect.

Acronym rings: Not precisely cultural, acronym rings are a Victorian era style where the first letter of each of the types of stones set into the piece spell out a sentiment. One example is the “Dearest Ring”. Using:


4. Back to the world of body modification till death do us part ring concepts, the dermal engagement ring

Photo Credit:checknoutmyink

Above: Video of Microdermal Anchor Finger Engagement Ring

Last but certainly not least on my listings of alternative ring ideas,

5.Fingerprint Wedding Bands

brent&jess make each creation by hand using the ancient lost wax casting method. They’re really mixing it up!

“Our truly unique, patented process enables us to get REAL finger texture, not a representation or drawing of it–even your well-earned scars will show up! We are very proud that we do not enhance your print with computers. You will certainly see why all our customers are so thrilled to have their special someone’s actual imprint with them at all times.”

What will they think of next…?

Photo credit for featured picture: CaityStrange on Etsy


About maggie.

Maggie Barnes is a nonprofit and for profit business content specialist / social media consultant; and social sciences web writer interested in everything from psychology and sexuality, to technology, race, and economics. She is passionate about good communication and information accessibility.

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