High Society Collection was founded by Erin Rose Gardner, a studio artist based in Portland, Oregon.   Her work includes sterling silver and brass puzzle rings made up of four unique, interconnected bands, which can be worn individually or together in a configuration – a contemporary twist on the traditional puzzle ring.

Erin studied metalsmithing and jewellery at the University of Oregon and was awarded a US-wide fellowship at graduation in 2007 – a recognition of her emerging talent.  During her studies Erin was inspired by a ring she’d been given by a boyfriend at 16, and that she’d worn for five years before the relationship ended. The piece had almost become part of her, and she was conscious of the bare space it had occupied, so made other rings to replace it.  

While working with the ring she was surprised by the number of friends and family who recognised the design, saying they knew someone who owned the same ring.  Erin was intrigued by this mass-produced ring which held such important emotional significance for her; and the idea that behind every ring is a personal story.  “I think of jewellery as an ever-evolving thing,” she says. 

Erin started looking at the characteristics of other standardised jewellery to which sentiment is attached.  Visiting pawn shops, and searching through family and friends’ jewellery collections, she adapted generic rings, moulding them and casting solder copies. 

The Fellowship award was a monetary one, and this allowed Erin to travel to Birmingham, UK and Guangdong Province in China where she visited factories and examined jewellery as an industrially produced commodity.  This research into art versus consumer based jewellery has inspired her to “produce idea-based jewellery that is accessible to a broad audience”.

Erin meticulously handcrafts each piece with a hammer and anvil in her studio in Oregon.  She then fabricates, casts, solders, saws, files, sizes and polishes until each piece is perfect.  High Society Puzzle Rings are beautiful and fun.  Erin designed and made her own wedding ring last year – an 18K gold version of her special puzzle ring.