Jupiter in Jade and a stoney-eyed Madman. And a new King is coming.

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I’m really digging this recent pair of custom orders.  Skull rings with gemstones?  I’ve got two unique takes here: one a Jupiter and one a Big Voodoo.

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Both are fully sugared up – the Jupiter with jadeite eyes and a full sugar aztec theme around the rest of the ring.  The other has a central image of an owl and then yellow and black stones for the eyes.  I’ll be putting more shots of both of them up on my Instagram page.  If you dont follow me there, you should.  It’s where I put most of my special sale announcements and show a lot of progress.

I’ve done a few custom Jupiter skull rings recently. The form is so classic that we can really go nuts with the surface and still get something with a lot of structure to it.  Setting gemstones in it is a bit of a war.

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But this one turned out great.  See a few more shots below.

I’m very proud of this ring, obviously.  Weird to make a piece of art that I’m actually happy with, but the last few rings I’ve done have just turned out so f’king well.  I DID fuck up a Tiki that I’m currently re-making for a client.  Sorry about that.   This one and the Tiki are my toughest sculpts so the chance of me totally laying an egg is a bit higher.

I set out (like seven years ago or  something) to make the best skull ring you could get.  Standing on the shoulders of giants like Courts and Hackett, Tony Creed, CrazyPig, and Ruby Crush, I wanted to make the largest, solid-but-wearable skull ring on the market – at least in the United States.  Like the man said, “If your’e going to try, go all the way. All the way.”


So did I do it?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I think what I realized when I made the Jupiter was that there is no “best” ring.  There are simply levels and at the top of the levels is this little bar.  And leaning on the bar are these badass skullsmiths like Julian Lamb, Tony Creed, Courts and Hackett, the Deadringers maniacs, and Armand at Crazy Pig and a few other guys like John Mettier at JM Customs Skull Rings and Demitri Bakogiorgis who makes so much freakin’ product I don’t know how he has time to eat.  The ghost of Dave at Dave’s Custom Skullrings  is there who probably wins the award for craziest website.  Josh Warner is there, but but good luck getting one of his skullrings nowadays.  (He designed this amazing Club Ring which is taking the world by storm, and rightly so.)   Every day, more people make it to this bar and they all have the same realization:  it doesn’t stop.

Because the guys sitting next to you are still learning and you’re still learning and everyone still feels like there’s so much more to do.  Everyone is inspiring too.  Somebody drops a new piece and everyone says “damn, I have to up my game.”  When I see Into the Fire Jewelry put out these badass blackened skull that look like they were carved out of obsidian or Ruby Crush drops this fucking amazing gemstone ring…….

So…..

I’m going to design a new jawless skull ring that will replace the King Skull as THE fucking jawless ring on the market.  Just sit tight and you’ll see progress throughout the year.  I hope to have it live for Xmas, but you know me.  I’m slow as shit.  I’m going to retire the current King model and redesign it.  I love it too, but it’s time for a change.

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If you’re the owner of my classic King Skull, hang onto that puppy tight because it will soon be ‘out of print’ so to speak.  I love this fucking ring.   I could keep making them, sure, but i kind of like the idea of the piece being completely retired out of respect and given over to the ages.  Makes it more of a collector’s item and preserves the purity of the design.

It’s also with a heavy heart that I announce that the Gentleman ring is officially out of pre-orders and will be going live on the site in a few weeks.  Stay tuned for more of that as well.  Look at that freakin’ master wax:

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So I’ll leave you with an inspirational video.  What?

The Red Devil

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I’ve had a few requests for skull rings with gemstone eyes recently and I have a pair that I wanted to show off because the results were just so cool.

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This bad boy is a fully customized Little Voodoo with a pentagram centered on the forehead and a little bit of sugar around the shank.  Yet another example of how the Little Voodoo can be customized despite the small surface area.

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This is a small skull ring, dig?  Or at least it’s small for my line.  It does best with one central image and then some minor ornamentation to support it.  Sometimes i get clients who request a smaller ring but have a ton of imagery they want to include.  If this is YOU, then you should really spring for the Big Voodoo.  Don’t worry about being able to ‘pull off’ a bigger ring.  It’s all about how you wear it.

Speaking of bigger rings.

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Another red-eyed demon – this one a Jupiter with the stones set DEEP in the socket.  Fangs as well.  Pretty slick, right?  This was a tough one to build.

And then there’s this:

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This is a Jupiter Skull ring with blue sapphire eyes.   Kinda hard to see in the photos, but there’s even a starburst specular highlight in the stones.  This is another example of the Jupiter ‘sugared up.’  Yeah, its a big ring, but we can fit a lot more imagery on the surface too.

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I’ve also had a few requests for a smaller, more understated ‘realistic’ skull like the King Skull or the Jupiter….something about the size of the Voodoo, but with the classic lines of the realistic series.  I’m eventually going to do something like that, but I haven’t finished the Gentleman yet either and I have to take one thing at a time.

Still on the waitlist right now, but I’m taking new orders in late August so hang tight and stay tuned.

In my hands I hold the ashes……

It’s taken me months of design, carving, redesign, recarving, and redesigning yet again, but I’ve finally finished what I consider to be the ultimate square gemstone ring.  The Leonids master cast is finally finished and set with kingman turquoise straight outta the mouth of the mine.

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I’ve talked about the design in the previous post, so I’ll just get straight in to how proud I am of the final product.

She’s going to be for sale in January, though I have sold a few pre-orders that will be shipping in the next three or four weeks.  Running at $495 a pop, she’s sporting a full 28mm in height and features two hand-carved skulls on either side of the shank.  We can knock a tooth out or two if you want them to look banged up or we can round out the eyes for more of a sugar skull look.  Room on the foreheads of each for initials or whatever else you want.

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On the back of the shank, I’ve put in a single eye and a bone crossbar.  Kind of morbid?  Maybe, but this bad motherfucker is the sculptural embodiment of some of the themes of Blood Meridian (probably my favorite novel)  and I wanted it to be as elegant as it is brutal.

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Like I said before, I’m getting the stones direct from the mine, so turnaround time is a little slower than usual.  I’ve sold 6 of my first batch of stones in pre-order and I’ll probably sell the next group just as quickly before these finally go up on the site in January.  Color and inflection of the stones will vary and I’d caution you guys to be careful with these.  They’re tough as hell, but turquoise is a more delicate stone and if punching things is a regular part of your routine, I might suggest ordering a Jupiter from me instead so you don’t crack and screw up these gorgeous baby-blues.  Or at least take it off first.

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The Root of all Evel

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After a summer of carving and hacking, casting and polishing, the Evel Knievel ring is finished and on its way to Robb.  She’s chunky and will definitely leave a few accidental bruises on loved ones and unlucky friends, but man, what a piece.

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I think Robb is a chef and that puts him in a distinct class of people that I’m very happy to make work for.  I was a short-order cook when I was a teenager and I worked in the restaurant and food service biz starting at 14 years old, so while I’m not a chef myself, I definitely respect it as a warrior class if you know what I mean.

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I also had this badass Evel Knievel toy when I was a kid.  Remember that?  Well I was thinking about it the entire time I was working on this ring.  Evel was a freakin’ superhero in the 70s and 80s.  It’s hard to imagine someone like that being an A-lister now, but he was.  You’d even see updates on his stunts on the national mainstream nightly news.

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Other than that, my summer has been slow and steady.  As I’ve talked about, I’m not taking as many orders as usual and trying to focus on some other projects.  I do have some cool pieces in the pipeline right now, but a good deal of my time has been spent moving my shop to bigger and better digs and grilling all kinds of dead things on my webber.

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It’s really been the summer of the Jupiter.  I’ve had a number of people ordering custom skull rings and while the King Skull was leading the pack for years, there’s  been a rush on my big, hulking, full-jawed Jupiter ring.

I’m working on a custom job that may or may not ever leave my shop using jade eyes and some sugar treatment along with a central image of the Five Rings from Miyamoto Musashi.

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But this one is a long ways off from casting still.  I’ve been working on it alongside one of the coolest King Skull requests I’ve had in a while.  While this Jupiter is completely covered in scroll work and detail-carving, I’ve had a request to do a reduced “aged” King Skull with minimal lines and a streamlined brow.

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This may be a ‘thing.’  In other words, I’m pretty happy with the way this looks and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a run on this kind of simplified form.  I’ve also had a lot of people emailing me and asking if they can get ‘minimized’ skull rings like this.  Obviously this takes inspiration from Courts and Hackett’s Keith Richards ring, but interestingly enough it’s rooted in how the ring looks NOW as opposed to how it was originally designed.

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As you can see, all of the detail is word away into a smooth surface, leaving the basic shape of the skull, the nose and eyes, and a smooth half-cylinder that used to be the upper jaw.  Of course, the King doesn’t look like the Richards ring and NO, I won’t make you a copy of the Richards ring (still get 1 or 2 emails a week asking for that) but the idea of a smoothed-down ring is clearly yet another conceptual tribute to the ring that started it all.

I’ve talked about these cats before, but if you aren’t a long-time reader or you just have a short memory, swing by Courts and Hackett and pick up their Death’s Head ring.  If you’re a skull ring collector, not having one is like collecting fine Swiss watches and not owning a Rolex.  More on that later.

Got stones?

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These shiny new bastards do.

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I’ve had a killer run on custom orders with gemstone eyes recently.  This is it, man.  The kind of work that I live for.  I didn’t invent putting gemstones in a Skull Ring, but I’d like to think I offer an ideal frame for it with this voodoo line.

I finished up a Little Voodoo for Al as well.  Those are natural ruby eyes.

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The rest of the work’s been put in on a classic Big Voodoo with smooth black onyx….

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Oval this time.  Usually I prefer going round with cabochon gemstones like this…gives the ring a very Day of the Dead or Punk Rock feel.  But sometimes I dig keeping the original Voodoo look.

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I’ve also really been into doing bolts on the foreheads of these rings recently.  Very Elvis.

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As you can see, this one’s got some sugar treatment as well.  Freakin’ A.

All of these bad boys are shipping out now to their new homes.  See ya in a few.