The Signet Ring as Bearer of Symbols

By Katja PoljanacMore from this author

Athene, the Holy St. Peter with mustache… Noble figures were portrayed on the heads of the ring as an honor. While these were generally Olympic gods in antiquity, they were replaced by depictions of saints as Christianity emerged. Secular persons of high standing needed to be crowned monarchs in order to be honored with commemorative or burial jewelry to mar marriages or deaths.

signet ring

Signet ring, Egyptian, 3rd century BC, Jewelry Museum Pforzheim

Spencer Gaudoin, signet ring "Barbie", silver, rose quartz

…or Barbie. As an icon of pop culture, she embodied the perfect ideal of beauty as interchangeable mannequin until the emergence of supermodels. Doted on by her boyfriend "Ken" and millions of little girls' hearts, she started her victorious crusade in 1959 at the American Toy Fair in New York and has since risen to become a global top seller. Spencer Gaudoin takes an ironic poke at the mass product, honoring it as an item of jewelry and a unique piece, in which her perfect forms take on the guise of a traditional signet ring in an almost self-evident manner.

by Katja Poljanac

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Katja Poljanac

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