No item of jewellery embodies the spirit of individuality quite like the signet ring. Dating back several centuries, this chunky piece of finger-bling was originally designed to serve as a personal stamp for important documents, in place of penned signatures.
Intended to be nearly as unique as a thumbprint, each ring was highly personalised down to every intricately engraved detail. Now, traditional signet rings serve as precious heirlooms. Passed down from generation to generation, they are a beautiful way to connect people who have never met and yet are family all the same. But what if you wanted to create your own heirloom?
Enter cult brand O Thongthai. Helmed by Thai jewellery designer Chanyaporn Thongthai, who prefers to be called O, the young brand is putting Thai design on the map by fusing an edgy industrial aesthetic with luxury gemstones. With patrons like A$AP Rocky and MIA—style icons in their own right—personalisation is a key tenet of O Thongthai’s design ethos.
“I do a lot of bespoke services for clients. They come back to us because we treat them like friends and family, and genuinely believe that anything they can imagine is possible,” says Thongthai. The brand’s signature signet ring, for example, comes in a classic oval shape with an interminable variety of metal and gemstone combinations to choose from.
Whether it is the accessible rose quartz, the exotic zebra jasper or precious diamonds that you are looking for, there isn’t a stone Thongthai can’t find. “Bangkok is the heart of gemstones, so if you can think of it, I’ll source it for you. I have different contacts for different stones, so nothing is out of bounds,” she says. While she looks out for the best quality, her heart lies in designs that are off-beat and unconventional. “I like a stone with character and clarity, but sometimes I prefer things a bit funky. If it has a few colours or a colour shift, I’ll love it even more.”
The Central Saint Martins alumnus found her passion for making jewellery early. She dropped out of high school at 15 to pursue the craft in a workshop in Bangkok. “My first memory of jewellery comes from my mother’s pinkie rings. She has a great selection of rings, particularly in ruby. I remember looking at her ring and asking her if I could wear one too,” says the London-based 28-year-old.
Today, Thongthai’s brand is a go-to for the hip crowd chasing fashion freedom. Regardless of age, gender or budget, her clientele seeks her out for the fact that her brand doesn’t prescribe rules. Gendered jewellery, for example, is a thing of the past in her mind. “I think anyone should wear anything they feel is right for them. Look at me! I’m a Libra, but I wear our new zodiac necklace in Scorpio instead. It’s just about having fun.”
When it comes to the kind of customer her brand draws, Thongthai says that anyone with an eye for good design and an understanding of the value of investment-quality jewellery is welcome to the party. She adds a cryptic comment that exemplifies the seductive allure of her brand: “I design for anyone. It’s like, if you know, you know.”