Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 39, Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Cover story

Aneela's magic box of rings

ANEELA HAQUE, Designer Andes

Somehow I have an interest in anything that has a great deal of history attached to it. It mostly happens that during my adventurous travels both abroad and within Bangladesh, I like collecting earrings, rings (finger and toe), hair pins, coins, calligraphy, paintings, recipes, ethnic jewellery, beads, old books, techy graphical pens, art materials, crafts, terracotta, urns, ethnic rugs, textiles, music of various languages; an endless checklist for my travel journal. This travel journal is like some addiction or drug. Yet, I will only focus on one of my personal hobbies here, which are rings collected from my various travels and a few designs I created under my own brand, “Maduli by Aneela”.

I am blessed to be involved as a designer in many fields of art, but my favourite is fashion, which not only deals with clothes but the whole look with accessories, shoes, bags, makeup and hair, etc. Rings are an integral part of looking good, and are applicable for both men and women, depending on the right selection of artistic aesthetics suiting the personalities.

Ages ago my uncle gave my mother a lovely princess ring from Bangkok, which I inherited later. The cone shaped, pyramid-like princess ring with multiple stones from Kaisilver (14K-18k yellow or white gold) of Thailand is an Asian legacy. It was originally made in yellow gold but modern designers introduced white gold. Most princess rings have a fairly narrow band with an equal bandwidth all around. The cone-shaped structure is broad at the base and narrow towards the top of the ring. The setting of multiple uncut gemstones includes rubies, sapphires, emeralds and even diamonds. Another feature that is common to most antique jewellery is an artistic design below the gemstones (under the head of the ring). The ancient princess rings combined different gemstones that were believed to possess special properties.

The Meander, or Greek key, symbolises the eternal flow of things. It dates back to all the ancient Hellenic States of Greece as a symbol of eternity, eternal love and friendship. This is probably one of the reasons why Greek style jewellery will always remain timeless. I fondly remember my simple Greek key silver ring that I made the very reasonable Greek jewellers craft with my Bangladeshi pearl.

The other styles of Greek chunky silver rings have mother of pearls, garnets, peridots, blue sapphires, lapis lazuli on silver, engraved with leafy designs and filigree work. Some are chunky silver with the swirl eternity key styles. These Greek key bands are considered special wedding bands besides being fashionable pieces.

The wedding ring symbolises marriage, a promise of never-ending love, devotion, and loyalty. It is the physical representation of the wedding vows. A plain gold band is the most popular wedding ring with the date and spouse's name engraved. Women usually wear narrow rings, while men wear broader rings. Nowadays, there are many different metals to compete with the gold band, such as titanium and platinum bands.

The wedding band's shape represents an unbroken promise of love and commitment. The circle has no beginning and no end; therefore, the marriage has no end.

The earliest wedding rings were not placed around the finger, but around the extremities. Since mortality rates were high and life expectancies were low, people came to the conclusion that a person's spirit could just flow out of the body, ending his life. They often tried interesting and superstitious ideas to keep the spirit intact.

For example, an ancient husband would wrap twigs and grass around his new wife's ankles and wrists, believing this would prolong her life.

Sometimes the woman is given a ring when her first child is born, a trilogy ring, usually displaying three brilliant-cut round diamonds, representing the past, present and future.

My Poland collection is dominated by the famous ambers of Poland in brown and yellow settings in abstract-shaped silvers. Nepalese and Tibetans focus on silver with corals, turquoise and lapis. The calligraphic Nepalese temple prayer ring of good luck and Om of Hinduism inspired me to wear them paired with some solid silver rings. Morocco makes beautiful chunky rectangular silver rings with engraved calligraphy or some artistic sketches. Some are embellished with uneven chunky corals, turquoises and lapis lazulis.

Prague is a place I found unusual shaped corals set by a band of wire. The place has an enormous collection of rings with various colours of amber, coral and peal, although they are terribly expensive.

My Chinese calligraphy coins, Bangladeshi Mughal coins, Queen of England gold coins inspired me to make rings. These rings can jazz up any simple attire, be it deshi or western. You will definitely stand out in the crowd.

My flower white gold ring symbolises our Lilies (Shapla) where I added dangling chains with fresh water pearls giving a royal, romantic and Mughal look.

Somehow corals, pearls and rubies touch me the most for their bright, positive colours and characteristics.

I prefer to treat gems as a piece of art which adds value to a finished look just like a painting on a canvas with a signature, and not as some astrology that will dominate my life as a whole. If I am positive and I believe in the present moment with a strong patience, I am sure I can control my fate. These are my very subjective views, not meant to discourage gemology or astrology beliefs. Every religion has its way of believing in one God, and I retain great respect for such.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Aneela Haque
Rings from the personal collection of Aneela Haque


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