As subversive as the name of these rings may sound, Cartier’s and Chanel’s anti-pretty bands are, in fact, graceful and totally wearable
By Mao Shan Wang
Even for those who are not big on jewellery, rings have a special appeal. They’re usually discreet and, if not encrusted with gemstones, possibly wallet friendly. In a jewellery store, I tend to look at rings more often than I would other bigger, attention-grabbing pieces of bijoux. I avoid bracelets and bangles since my grandmother, blessed her soul, often told me how thieves would sever my wrists to strip me of whatever sparklies I might have on. It’s the same with necklaces, apparently—except decapitation, I’m sure you’ll agree, has a more frightening and gruesome ring—pun definitely not intended.
If you are in the market for a ring that is not a wedding band or not dependent on the generosity or wealth of a suitor, two with names that rhyme can be considered: Cartier’s Clash de Cartier and Chanel’s Coco Crash. Whether it’s a Clash (incidentally, also the name of a series of Comme des Garçons perfume) or Crash, both names are rather synonymous, and suggest confrontation with the conventional. Yet, to me, both are designed to appeal to those with a weakness for fine things, rather than tug at your predilection for those that tend to divide opinions. They hark back to symbolisms and visual signatures of the past without vitiating the respective brand’s sights that are cast further into the future.
Clash and Crush, both include bracelets and earrings, but, as mentioned earlier, I am drawn to the rings. Clash de Cartier, which recently had a pop-up event to promote the entire jewellery line, offers a more intricate design, which looks like cuff-links held together by studs you’d more likely find on MCM bags than on a piece of jewellery. The studs, which include the pyramidal and the conical, are evocative of a punk tradition, which Cartier admits to arousing, without calling out the name of a certain band from the height of the punk rock era. To me, that earns the Clash extra points, as well as its potential, forgive my imagination, as an defensive/offensive weapon.
Chanel’s Coco Crush ring is based on the house’s signature quilt, first introduced by Coco Chanel herself in 1955. The diamond quilting was initially used for handbags—specifically the 2.55—before it started to appear on wallets, shoes, jackets, watch straps, eyewear, even as imprint on cosmetics, such as compact powders. It has become a symbol of aspiration; one that is over-subscribed, which may be desirable for the many who find pleasure in the immediately identifiable, but, to me, has less of a draw because the obvious brings consumption too close to conspicuous. Or, perhaps it just requires persuasion to put me on a quilt trip.
Cartier Clash de Cartier gold ring, SGD4,250, is available at Cartier. Chanel Coco Crush gold ring, from SGD2,940, is available at Chanel. Product photos: respective brands