The Background: Animals / by Melany Wimpee

Swan Ring.jpg

Design Description

The Animals collection is a series of animal jewellery that is seriously statement-making. The animals are highly detailed and produced at an unexpectedly large scale. The practical elements, the chains on the necklaces and the bands on the rings, are finished in a simple way to allow the figure to sit in a prominent position.

To complement the large scale and fine detail, the rings are finished in a high gloss in either silver or gold. Despite the size, the pieces are comfortable to wear.


I first designed the Rhino Ring while still in school. I had a final review in an advanced jewellery class where we were expected to determine our own body of work for critique. As a major in interior design, rather than jewellery, I was feeling that I did not have enough work to show. We learned casting that semester, so I thought it a brilliant idea to think of everything I could possibly cast to make as many pieces as I could quickly (you can find similar ‘what can I cast and turn into jewellery’ thinking in many mainstream jewellery collections). I tried a couple wax forms, found objects, even a strawberry, but the rhino head cut from a children’s toy was the most successful.

Years later, I continued to develop the piece to refine it for production. I made the elk as a Christmas gift for one of my best friends, who loved my ring but preferred something unique. The swan was added when I started to feel the others were small. There is a winged lion and longhorn necklace that I do not often show and I’ve always wanted to add a duck ring.

Since its original production, several years ago now, the Rhino Ring has been featured on Fashion Star, Good Morning America and everywhere my talented friend Kara Laricks goes. The Elk Necklace was worn by Jo Andres, wife of Steve Buscemi on the red carpet to the premiere of Boardwalk Empire. And the Swan Ring is still a favourite amongst photographers and stylists.