What comes to your mind when you think of Jack London? For me, it’s fierce mountainsides and rangy wild animals.
But how about one-of-a-kind couture jewelry sparkling with colored diamonds and pink sapphires?
Okay, there are a few degrees of separation between the illustrious Mr. London and the glorious pink sapphire pachyderm you see before you. I promise we’ll get there.
The Pink Elephant and the Tipsy Writer ring is one of the latest masterpieces in the Maneater line from fabulous NYC-based jewelry designer Wendy Brandes. The Maneater line, like much of Wendy’s work, is inspired by strong women.
In the designer’s own words:
“The [Maneater] rings are inspired by my lifelong interest in powerful women. My signature Wendy Brandes jewelry line started with pieces that were named after real-life bad-ass women, including the warrior queen Xenobia and the 12th-century Empress Matilda. A lot of these strong women have been called “dragon lady” or “man eater” in pejorative ways. A tough man is just a guy doing his job, but there always has to be some kind of mean-sounding name for a tough woman, right? I got to thinking that some of these wimmins might have relished being called these names. I’m sure 7th-century Empress Wu would have been like, “Ha ha ha! Dragon lady! YOU’RE RIGHT!” before she executed the guy who spoke those words. Accordingly, each Maneater ring has a triumphant animal on top and a man tucked away inside the band.”
Wendy explained in a later interview that she wanted to include an elephant in her Maneater series because the majestic, matriarchal creatures so perfectly embody her theme of female power.
Why a pink elephant? It’s inspired by the euphemism “seeing pink elephants,” which refers to drunken hallucinations. This was apparently an evolution of the older phrase “seeing snakes” or to “see snakes in one’s boots,” which meant the same thing.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the idiom evolved, and instead of drunken hallucinations of snakes, the trend of the day was to see brightly colored wild animals of all sorts – blue monkeys, pink elephants, a whole technicolor jungle. In 1913, Jack London wrote in John Barleycorn that his character was seeing “blue mice and pink elephants,” thereby creating one of the very first literary uses of the phrase.
I’d heard of “seeing pink elephants” before, but mainly associated it with that trippy musical number from Dumbo and my favorite fancy beer.
As an homage to Jack London’s idiom and so many great writers of the past (and present) who didn’t mind having a drink or two, here is the man tucked inside the band of the Pink Elephant and the Tipsy Writer ring:
Poor fellow looks a bit the worse for wear. Don’t worry, the tipsy writer isn’t supposed to be Jack London or any writer in particular. It’s actually based on a photo of Carey Grant.
If you recognized the name of jewelry designer Wendy Brandes, that may be because I’ve shown you some of her fabulous punctuation-shaped jewelry on the Riot before. She’s an artist worth knowing and – I can personally attest – a hoot over cocktails.
What do you think of this ring? I’m especially interested to hear your thoughts, Jack London fans and fellow writers.