Robert Procop’s Poison Ring holds a disproportionately hefty number of secrets for something so diminutive. Open the bezel to reveal a thumbprint-size vessel concealing a diamond- and emerald-inlaid dagger attached by a chain. Swing open the side doors to expose a yellow diamond on one side, meant to represent good luck, and a golden peacock—a symbol of protection—on the other. “The ring is made for the woman to operate with the click of a fingernail,” says Procop, the designer behind Angelina Jolie’s exquisite engagement ring and her partner on the Style of Jolie jewelry collection. The artisans Procop works with are often inspired by “historical intrigues,” he says. “A poison ring was used in the Turkish and French royal courts, occasionally holding special gems and often holding more dangerous betrayals.”
Poison rings, aka locket rings, boast an ancient heritage. They originated in the Far East and India several hundred years B.C. as secure vessels in which to transport valuables. During the 16th century in Europe, they frequently concealed holy relics: bits of bone, teeth, or hair that supposedly hailed from Christian saints or martyrs. European royals latched on to the style during the Renaissance, often hiding Lilliputian paintings of loved ones underneath a ring’s bezel.
A vision in blues and greens, the surface of the ring is more gemstone than metal. Inside and out, the piece features 2.52 cts. t.w. aquamarines, 1.17 cts. t.w. tsavorites, 2.24 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, 0.92 ct. t.w. white diamonds, and 1.48 cts. t.w. emeralds. A mix of 18k yellow, white, and rose gold rounds out its materials.
This piece is one-of-a-kind, but Procop says his firm plans to make several poison rings, “all with different design elements”: “We start with our sketches and journey through a process of selecting gems, precious metals, and other ornamental aspects.” Ultimately, he says, “I enjoy a jewel that has dimension, beauty, and mystery.”
More From Mine to Store:
+ Vacheron Constantin’s Limited-Edition China Limodoron Watch
+ Hemmerle’s 19th-Century Lilliputian Painting-Inspired Earrings
+ Indian Designer Bina Goenka’s 18k Gold Minaudière