Sustainable and toxin-free living

Sustainable and toxin-free living

Vanessa Lianne’s Custom Recycled Gold Signet Ring Is a New Heirloom


Back when I was a sorority girl (oh yes, I was) I had everything monogrammed. My sheets, towels, tote bags – basically anything that could be sewn on had my letters on it. It helped that I worked at a canvas bag seller and monogram kiosk in the mall in high school. Back then I was in full on prep mode. Pastels, cable knits, and polo shirts ruled the day. Custom signet rings were not on my radar. But if they had been, you know I would have gotten one.

My initials are RAW. (My first name is Ruth, after my late grandmother, but I’ve always gone by my middle name, Alden.) Pretty badass, right? Except I thought that was a little embarrassing, to have such biker chick initials. Luckily, monograms have you put the last letter larger in the middle. Which is what I happily did.

Handmade recycled gold pinkie signet ring with ethically sourced diamonds

I no longer wear pastel cable knits. And I no longer have anything monogrammed. But when Vanessa Lianne, the sustainable Brooklyn jeweler I profiled in 2015, offered me one of her  pinkie signet rings*, I loved the idea. Hers are modern and streamlined, not fussy or girly. I considered using one of her fun suggested engravings: WTF’ ‘BAE’ ‘FML’ ‘XO’ ‘LOL’ ‘FIF’ (future is female). (She also does MOM, which would make an amazing push present.) But for such a beautiful lifetime ring, I wanted something more serious. I considered my initials again. RAW. It would be kind of fun if friends and strangers thought I was sending an encoded message about how edgy I am. Or that I’ve left my heart open to heartbreak. Or that I say whatever comes to mind. (Which is kind of true.) So I chose to put these three letters on the ring.

I also went to Catbird and pretended to be shopping for rings so I could get my pinky measured. I have tiny pinkies: 1.5.

Most signet rings are oversized and aggressive in their ornate carvings. But this one is slim. The pinkie ring is available with one full cut, ethically sourced white diamond; four diamonds; or fully paved with diamonds, which comes out to approximately 20 of the sparklers. You can also choose the metal: recycled sterling silver, gold vermeil, or recycled 14kt gold. I received the recycled gold and four-diamond version, the three letters stamped with confidence on the front.

Eco-friendly signet ring

It slipped right on my finger, and I haven’t taken it off since. I don’t see myself ever taking it off. It’s an heirloom, just like my Ruthie ankle bracelet from my grandmother.

The angularity of the classic pinkie signet ring represents a departure from Vanessa Lianne‘s usual style, which is handmade and organic. She handmakes all her jewelry in her Brooklyn studio. If she needs something plated, she works with only the environmentally friendly platers in Manhattan.

It takes about three to four weeks to make this ring, so if you want it for Christmas, order it by December 1st!

*So generously for free. As always I only accept merchandise from brands I believe are doing good things. 


  • Alden Wicker

    Alden Wicker is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick — and How We Can Fight Back (Putnam). She splits her time between managing her internationally recognized platform on safe and sustainable fashion,, and contributing to publications such as The New York Times, Vox, Wired, Vogue, and more. She’s made expert appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air, the BBC, and Al Jazeera to speak on consumer sustainability and the fashion system’s effect on people and the planet.

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