Story and Photos by Jennifer Edmondson, Originally Published February 2019 via Laughing Frog Studio
Spoon rings have a been around for as long as I can remember in my 50+ years. In fact, I am willing to bet that you have a spoon or other silverware ring that belonged your mom or grandmother; I bet you cherish it. In fact, there are some families that have spoon rings that they have been passing down for generations along with the family lore as to how the ring initially found its way into the family. This is such a romantic idea, have you ever wondered how making silverware jewelry came about?
Early Years of Spoon Rings — 17th Century– Romantic Love
There is lore that spoon rings date back to 17th century England – and the legend is very romantic. It is said that servants working in manor houses would steal sterling silverware from their master’s homes and craft them into bands because they could not afford a true wedding band. Furthermore, it has been said that Robin Hood gave his beloved Maid Marian a ring made from a stolen spoon. Given his penchant of stealing from the rich to give to the poor, this legend is not too hard to believe and truly romantic.
That romantic history of spoon rings really is no surprise as spoons themselves are rooted in a romantic love tradition from Wales dating back to the 15th century. The Welsh tradition is that a man carved a wooden lovespoon by hand to give to his love interest as a means of showing his affection and proving that he would be able to provide for her and the family.
Spoon Rings in the Modern Era — 20th Century — Free Love
The romantic and loving tradition of making a spoon ring for a loved one continued through the years following Victorian England and across the globe. It turns out many more people had access to “fancy” silverware with advent and popularity of the silver-plating (electroplating) process in the mid-1800s. This process allowed families to have silver sets but instead of costly sterling silver, they could now have silver plate at a fraction of the cost but just as beautiful. As a result of this technology, the tradition of making spoon rings continued for decades and reached a fever pitch in the late middle 20th century with advent of the Hippie movement in the 1960s/1970s.
The Hippies rejected the middle-class society because they felt it was dominated by materialism and repression. In response, they developed their own distinctive lifestyle which, among other things, included a more “casual style” in terms of personal expression and they preferred handmade creations to mass produced products. In addition, they had a deep respect for the earth and nature and featured love, in all forms not just romantic, as a basic tenet of their lifestyle.
It is no surprise that silverware rings were frequently made during this period. It was a wonderful way to express oneself, or love towards another, while honoring the earth by recycling (the term upcycled* had not been created yet) and snubbing the establishment by taking a fancy symbol of materialism and cutting it up to create a whole new item with new meaning and purpose. Many rejected the typical diamond engagement ring in favor of these rings as an expression of love.
As we enter the new millennium, these Hippies are entering their golden years. While many of these Hippies probably no longer flaunt their hippie-ness and probably dress a little more mainstream, you will occasionally see a handmade spoon ring from “back in the day” on their hand. And if not on their hand, you will certainly find it in their jewelry box where, not doubt, their young adult grandchildren have discovered the rings and are now asking to borrow them.
Spoon Rings in the New Millennium — Love of the Earth
Silverware rings are having a bit of a renaissance as we enter the new millennium. This renaissance is due to do the Millennials, which is a more populated generation than the Baby Boomers that included the Hippie movement. Indeed, Millennials are similar to Hippies in that they tend to reject mass materialism, they value handmade, stylish and locally-sourced products and they have a fierce sense of protecting the earth. In fact, 73% millennials are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand (2015 Nielson Global Corporate Sustainability Report article).
The millennials are leading the charge on trends like downsizing, tiny houses, minimalism, capsule wardrobes and more. “This is a generation that is bigger than the boomers in population, but their wallets are smaller, and they are more into the style of life than the stuff of life.” (The Robin Report, 2016). Really, it’s no surprise that Millennials are seeking out spoon rings and other silverware jewelry pieces. It appeals to their sense of style, sustainability and economy minded approach to living. While, as a generation, that tend to be less sentimental about things and possessions, they appreciate the innate beauty of a vintage silverware and the wonderful craftsmanship that goes into a handmade silverware jewelry piece.
Silverware Jewelry – The Real Deal
At Laughing Frog Studio, we HAND CREATE each piece of upcycled silverware jewelry that we make. Because we upcycle our creations from silverware, that means that you are getting an actual vintage/antique piece of silverware, and the history that comes with it. Additionally, you will receive an item that is hand crafted by talented artisans rather than an item that is mass produced with new metals from a casting of a piece of silverware. While these mass produced CAST rings are called spoon rings, they are not authentic because they are made from cast new metals and they are not made in the same spirit as a spoon ring which promotes love, authenticity, history and sustainability.
At Laughing Frog Studio we make many upcycled silverware creations in addition to the beloved spoon ring. We make bracelets, earrings, necklaces, money clips, barrettes, belt buckles, key chains, bookmarks and more! We can even make creations with your family silverware! With your handmade creation, you will receive some history of the piece – manufacturer, pattern name and pattern year.
Now that you are immersed in the romanticism and history of spoon rings, perhaps you should get one for yourself or a loved one. Shop Laughing Frog Studio for upcycled silverware rings and other remarkable creations.
*Note: What is Upcycled vs. Recycled? Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials, useless products or castaway items into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. Simply put it means reusing a material without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use. Recycling on the other hand is the process of turning waste into a reusable material or product. So while upcycled silverware is taking a piece of silverware and making a piece of jewelry, recycled silverware would be taking the silverware, melting it down and so that the silver/base metal can be used to make a whole new product.
Laughing Frog Studio is a husband and wife team making upcycled silverware jewelry, accessories, housewares and more. Laughing Frog Studio’s mission is to create high-quality, handmade, unique and one-of-a-kind upcycled vintage silverware jewelry, accessories and housewares that enchant the creative spirit, honor the eco-friendly lifestyle, and spread kindness and a sprinkle of humor as often as possible.
Visit at laughingfrogstudio.com