One of the (many) great things about the recent Skull Cup 2011 was the chance to see designers who you would not normally cross paths with. Not just because most of the designers were relatively obscure, but because I think that most of us who collect silver stick to what we like and rarely move from a pretty single-minded remit. Probably because we all have limited funds and can only afford to buy what matches everything else and can’t really afford any experiments, but also because you do develop a very close relationship with your silver – it is after all, with you for life.
The Skull Cup was a rare opportunity to remove yourself from the selection process and choose the objective “King of Skull Rings” not just the one you would like to wear. For this reason I think the results do represent the competition well, as they do favor progression and technical superiority, as well as outright gimmickry. Out of the top ten Skull Laboratory was one brand that I was previously entirely unaware of and it being there forced me to investigate further – and boy was it worth my time.
Skull Laboratory is still a relatively young brand with only a handful of stockists, but he is clearly capable of innovative work and simply by virtue of finding things that haven’t yet been done with skull rings is clearly one to watch:
You just have to admire the extent of the detail here – it goes everywhere, interrupts the horns and goes right inside the band.
Brass with lizard and jigsaw over every single inch – this must have taken an age to engrave into the wax.
I love the idea of a secret design just for the wearer and the fact that it is even more detailed than the exterior has to be a rarity.
This is a brass version of the ring that came third in the Skull Cup – shame it isn’t bronze…
And in silver, apparently he chose this design for the competition so that it would stand out. It is certainly not a conventional shape compared to a traditional skull ring and as always the inside of the band is the real icing on the cake.
This one might well be my favorite, turquoise is a little bit out of vogue these days thanks to the saturation of it in the first Japanese silver boom, but I really hope it can come back.
Complete tattoo coverage, just like Rebecca!
And right round inside – I really like this one. If he had had time to make one of these with slightly more defined engraving I reckon he would have easily won the Skull Cup.
Nice little gold skull detailing on this model.
I like how each one of his skulls is a complete redesign. Gone are the days of one skull design lasting you a career.
But having said that, Skull Laboratory does not have a huge range of designs at the moment, but this is one guy with a whole lot of promise.
And there you have it, skill, talent, soul and skulls. What more do you need? My silver will always be at the core of my personal style, because at the end of the day I can always wear plain jeans and a t-shirt and my silver will do all the hard work for me.
Definitely check out this guy’s blog which also has some of his anime inspired pieces which are a little departure from his skulls, but still excellent. And stick around here for the yet more silver in the future…