Probably no one gives a shit about this other than me, but I’m excited enough to post that after a year, I have found one of my two missing rings.
Almost exactly a year ago, I returned from a Hong Kong trip and couldn’t find this ring or my Keith Richards skull ring. (That post remains one of the top ten most popular posts on this site.)
The story on this ring – it was 1971, I was 17, I had just graduated from high school, I was walking around in Greenwich Village with my cousin from Toronto and I can remember wishing that she wasn’t my cousin. We were walking down MacDougal Street and passed this tiny shop called C’est Magnifique. Along with all of the other jewelry in the window, there were a lot of pieces featuring eye balls – not the cheapo plastic ones you saw everywhere else, ones that looked real.
It was late and the shop was closed so I went back the next day. The woman explained to me that the eyes looked real because they used medical prosthetic eyes along with sterling silver. I had never seen anything like it before … or since. I picked out this ring because the color most closely matched my own eye color. I recall paying $25 for it, which was a vast sum of money for me in those days. Since I bought it within days of my graduation, I always think of it as my high school graduation ring.
It turns out this shop had been around since 1959 and was quite famous – more recent customers included Johnny Depp, Madonna and Iggy Pop, so I was in good company indeed.
Over the years, I would stop into that shop again to take a look around and the woman running it, Josephine Albrizio, would always offer to give the ring a free cleaning. I’m talking 20 years later! Amazing, right?
All things must pass and C’est Magnifique closed for good in 2014. At that point the business was run by Josephine’s grand-nephew Alfred Abrizio III, who has gone on to start his own studio, Sterling Assault. His specialty is jewelry with skulls but he continues to make jewelry with prosthetic eyes.
I wrote to him after thinking that I’d lost my ring and he told me he still had all the original molds so he could do an exact recreation of my ring. I was still contemplating placing an order with him but now I don’t need to – although some of the other designs on his site are also really intriguing.
I’m just thrilled to have this back. Now I need to replace my skull ring, which I think I will finally do in time for my birthday in a few months.