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It’s the imaginary character the brand is based on. I am basically designing the content of her jewelry box. She lives in Paris but she has an Indian name. Bangla means "from Bengal", and begum means "lady" in South Asia's Muslim culture. But it’s also a family name. In the case of my character, Bangla Begum is her full name.
I worked in the startup world for several years and I remember being surprised by how many official brand stories, stories that sound so good and candid, are just invented. Not embellished, just flat-out invented. So if storytelling if fiction, why not fully embrace it and invent a fictional character?
I wanted something with Begum, I wanted the BB alliteration, and I wanted a bicultural name. I liked Bijli Begum: bijli in Hindi means “electricity”. The electric Begum, quite a program. But a friend told me it was too hard to pronounce. He said I should find something with more weight, to balance the majesty of Begum. Something like...Bangla Begum.
I think of her as my imaginary best friend. She’s a mix of real women I know and others I met in books or movies. I lived in India my entire twenties so it made sense for me to give her an Indian name: some of my closest friends are from there. But it's not really clear where Bangla Begum is from. All I can tell you is that she lives in Paris. If you want to know more about who she is, I have been asking writers to describe her: you can read their portraits of her here.
My name is Fanny and I founded Bangla Begum in 2019 after designing jewelry for 11 years, first in India where I used to live, and then in Paris (I am French) where I co-founded a fine jewelry startup. A couple of years ago I left my startup, took some time to think, and launched Bangla Begum.
My first job ever was being the “eye” of a French jeweller in India. Which sounds way more glamorous than it was. At first I was sick all the time, there was no Internet. I was just sorting and pairing gemstones, and doing export paperwork. But I learned a lot. After a few years I started designing my own jewelry, then after a few more years I co-founded a fine jewelry startup called Gemmyo, for which I moved back to Paris. At first I was just doing the stone buying, then we decided to be a brand and I became creative director. After five years of startup life, I left.
I studied philosophy :-) Later on I did study gemmology, but just a little. I took a course in technical drawing too but I found it restricted me more than anything, creatively speaking. I also did a coding course, which doesn't help with jewelry but helped me launch Bangla Begum!
I’m in an open relationship with jewelry. I like the way costume jewelry allows us to play and experiment, as customers and as designers, but I also like yellow gold, old diamonds, weird gemstones. I was always a little frustrated by the segmentation in the jewelry world: it’s always just gold, or just costume, or just bridal. Even workshops operate like this, even though it’s the same techniques. With Bangla Begum, I didn’t want to price out anyone, but I didn’t want to limit myself either. And I think people appreciate this. They understand that some pieces are spectacular and difficult to make, hence expensive, and that some pieces are more fun and affordable. I think consumers are highly sophisticated, they get it!
A friend of mine says it's “jewelry with chutzpah.” People often say it’s intriguing, and I think they mean they’re intrigued by the story behind each piece. I’ve also been told I make literary jewelry, which I like a lot. There is definitely a big narrative element in what I do, and literature, the written word, is very important to me. Even this website is built as an homage to type! What is sure is that for me, jewelry is not an accessory. It’s a medium, a shield, a trace, sometimes a punch in the face. My friend Nathalie wrote beautifully about this here.
I wanted to design a signet ring to make fun of people wearing signet rings. I looked at Neapolitan ex-votos, terracotta fragments, antique votive shapes, and I got the idea of making a signet ring in the shape of a woman’s breast. However, when the first prototype came back from the factory, the joke became something else. Something powerful about our joys and our sorrows, our strengths and our fault lines: something about women. A client told me her Boob ring is her “small totem of everything”. I couldn't say it better.
The Boob ring is made in a historic workshop in Picardie, in the North of France.
Sometimes! But demand has now overtaken supply. We keep sourcing these lovely vintage boxes, but we now have our own custom-made boxes too. They are made in small batches by a French workshop who makes these old-school boxes the Place Vendôme still uses. Actually, we wanted them to look like vintage packaging, so instead of our logo, we put the logo of an imaginary jewelry store.
A very relatable dilemna! Keep in mind that vermeil, however vibrant and golden, is a surface treatment. With time, water, life, and your laptop’s keypad, it will get a patina. Personally, I like it a lot: I like patina in general, in people and things, and I prefer a light shade of gold to a bright yellow one. But if what matters to you is an impeccable colour, then maybe go for silver. Or 18kt gold but...it is a whole different budget!
Yes, ideally you should avoid putting it in contact with liquids and soap.
About three weeks. If you are ordering from outside the EU, allow another week or so for shipping.
Order our free ring sizer . We ship it worldwide! If the Boob ring is a surprise and you don't want her to try on a ring sizer, you can always order her ring in a size you deem fit and ask for a resizing afterwards (the first one is free). Just note that returning the ring to us from outside France will be at your expense.
Not at all, we sell a lot of 41, 42, 43, 44! Please note also that unlike most brands, our metrics is *homothetic*: the overall volume of the ring varies according to your finger size.
The Boob ring was designed for the small finger: it is where it fully lives its signet ring’s destiny. But some women wear it on their ring finger too, with as much panache and meaning. Women who visit the atelier to try on the Boob ring have often never worn a signet ring: it is usually why they are hesitating. In 99% of cases, once they try it on their small finger, they are won over. So if you can, why don't you visit us at the atelier? And if you can't, remember that returns and exchanges are free, so feel free to order it for a specific finger and change your mind later!
We do keep a small stock of Boob rings at the atelier, so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to a ccommodate your request. That said, if you need a Boob ring urgently and are not 100% sure of your wife's size, a good option is to gift a visit to the atelier. Your wife will be able to chose the metal she likes and we will measure her exact finger size. She will still have something lovely to unwrap, as we send invitations to the atelier on beautifully calligraphed, gold-stamped cards, gift-wrapped like a present. If you would like to go ahead with this, just send us an email at email@example.com.
Yes, sure! I’m really interested in putting sex into jewelry, so there will be more boobs, and erotica in general, in the future.
Yes, the Boob ring is full: you feel it on your finger. During prototyping, the factory wanted to make it hollow but I said no. I like this slight weight that makes us never forget it. Even the 18kt version, I didn’t want to hollow out: it’s in the Boob ring’s nature to be full of matter. Like us.
You can. We give you the option at the time of checkout to pay the full price or in 2 or 3 interest-free instalments.
We do. We use La Poste and DHL for non-EU deliveries and we are insured separately for all our shipments. So if anything goes amiss, we’re covered.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can sometimes accommodate emergency requests on sold out pieces!
Online only! But you are welcome at our atelier in Paris' 11th arrondissement. All you have to do is book an appointment here.
We use 18kt gold, which means it contains 75% of pure gold (75% of 24kt = 18kt). The Boob ring’s and the gourmettes' gold content is guaranteed by an official gold hallmark.
We produce the Boob ring, the Travel vase and the Ada earrings on order. The rest is produced regularly, but in very small quantities. If we are between productions, you may to wait a little for the next delivery.
Almost everything is made in France. We work with a small foundry, a metal engraving workshop, an assembling workshop and a prototyping studio, all in Paris, and we order everything, from chains to clasps and small metal bits, from local suppliers. Our surface treatments (gold, silver, varnish, enamel) are done just outside Paris. The Boob ring and the gourmettes are made in the North of France and we order our glass beads from a small factory in the Poitou. Only the Magic ring is made abroad, in Italy, because glyptic (the art of engraving gemstones) doesn't exist in France anymore.
Our goal is to produce as locally as possible and in the cleanest possible way packaging that you don't want to throw away. For 18kt gold pieces we use a mix of vintage jewelry boxes from all over the world and jewelry boxes made for us by a historic French factory. For other items, we use jewelry pouches made of old linen and small boxes made in Europe with FSC certified paper. Our gift bags are made of kraft paper, just like our shipping boxes (we source them from Austria). As for our cards, postcards, and the shredding inside our shipping boxes, they are all 100% recycled.
Ethical can mean different things. Technically, to claim a metal piece as ethical, the whole casting cylinder used to make the piece needs to be filled with ethically sourced metal. For the moment, our production is way too small to fill a whole cylinder and there isn’t enough ethical metal available for our workshops to switch entirely to ethical metal. However, they already comply with stringent standards of metal tracability and waste water treatment. In the end, producing locally, slowly, in small quantities and with workshops we visit often and pay fairly, this is what being ethical means to us.
Good question. No industry extracting metal and gemstones from the earth will ever be ethical. Sorry. But we are doing what we can to make it a gentler process. We produce very small quantities of very small objects that you will keep for a long time. And we designed a client experience with the lightest possible carbon footprint.