Rock and Bull Story
Who would’ve thought that a $10 trinket from a New York City street vendor could influence an artist for decades? Certainly not Wendy Brandes. Back in the 1980s, the jewelry designer bought a dragon-themed brass bell because the seller told her it “had a really good knight.” When she turned the piece over, she discovered a tiny knight-shape bell clapper sitting inside.
Even today, the piece—with its concept of hidden treasures and concealing cool details—continues to inform her line. A case in point: Brandes’ small but growing series of Maneater rings, inspired by strong women and female characters who literally assume positions of power over men.
“A lot of my other jewelry designs are inspired by strong, historical female figures…women some people would call man-eaters,” says Brandes. Thus far, there are four rings that portray what the designer calls explicit “man-eating situations.”
Rings, she continues, “are the best way of executing this concept. The hidden man is a secret detail for the wearer to enjoy and the wearer can best view that detail when it’s in front of her, on her hand.”
Each is crafted in an antiqued hue of 18k gold with rich texturing carved into the metal. Her first was Frog and Prince followed by Lion and Hunter and Whale and Jonah.
Her newest addition is the Bull and Bullfighter ring, where a massive pavé black diamond bull is poised for battle on the ring’s topside and inside a gold arena outlined in culet-up colorless diamonds, with a matador standing on the underside.
Still to come in the series of eight (because the number symbolizes power): NYC Cab and Passenger, Pink Elephant and Jack London, Roc and Sinbad the Sailor, and finally, Dragon and a Knight—in homage to the design that served as the impetus for the entire collection.