Author-researcher, Paul Bélard recently published the concluding volume of his two books focusing on Elvis’ rings.
They say first impressions last! The cover image of Elvis’ famous TCB ring is truly striking and sets the tone for what is an impressive examination of another 100+ rings that Elvis owned during his lifetime.
As a photo-journal, Elvis The King of the Rings Volume 2 is more than a photobook, and while the mostly color images dominate, the narrative component contains valuable and interesting information.
The description for each ring is detailed, providing its history, design, gold purity (karat), weight (carat), value, and other relevant information. For example, after detailing Elvis’ Lapis lazuli, Gold & Diamond ring (pp150-151), Bélard adds an excerpt from a letter from Charlie Hodge:
“This oblong shaped lapis gold ring with diamonds surrounding the blue lapis was a ring that Elvis wore quite often in the middle 1970’s. It was one of his favorite rings as he always like [sic] lapis.”
For many rings, such as an unusual Turquoise and Siver ring (pp 158-159), the description provides finer detail to enhance the reader’s understanding and appreciation of the ring:
The beautiful design features nine small sections on the face into which small, deep blue and red shards of turquoise have been set. Elvis loved turquoise and bought any number of pieces of jewelry featuring the blue and red stones, and it is worth mentioning that the nine sections corresponds to his “power number” in numerology, which is also “9”.
For those rings sold at auction (most have been), the author includes details of rings sold at auction including the date of sale, price estimate, and actual sale price.
Elvis’ TCB ring has four pages devoted to it, while other rings are covered over one-two pages.
The author also includes many Letters and Certificates of Authenticity for particular rings. A number are comprehensive and very interesting to read. These include letters by J.D. Sumner, Janice Fadal, and James P. Byers.
The stories in the book also highlight Elvis’ great generosity to others and the positive feelings it brought him.
Regarding an imposing Diamond & Gold ring (pp112-115) gifted by Elvis to his friend and karate instructor, Ed Parker, Parker wrote in his book, Inside Elvis:
“…. I commented that it was ruggedly masculine, a magnificent piece. He then asked me to try it on, and as I looked at him I immediately recognized that unmistakable look in his eyes. Sure enough when he discovered that the ring fit my left pinkie finger, he announced it was my birthday present from him. As we got into his limousine, I kept examining and admiring the ring. His features then broadened into another of his familiar facial expressions – one of contentment and happiness.”
The story behind a Gold-Plated ring with four panels is fascinating, including the symbolic nature of four faces and a half a page overview by Elvis’ cousin, Patsy Presley (pp190-191). There is also a narrative section devoted to Patsy Presley’s Collection.
Elvis gave away a large number of his rings and some of the collections where they were later sourced from included Lowell Hays Jewelers, Eddie Fadal, Charlie Hodge, Patsy Presley, Lamar Fike, collector Tom Salva, Janelle McComb, Sam Thompson, Greg Page (the original “Yellow Wiggle”), Savid Stanley, German Elvis Presley Museum, and several lucky fans.
The images of the rings are in full color and as Kees Mouwen and I commented in our review of Elvis The King of the Rings Volume 1 , the amount of bling on show is jaw dropping!
Each ring is generally pictured by itself on one page (the pages are roughly A4 size) with supporting information on the facing page, and where available a photo of Elvis wearing the ring (not all of these are in color). Other images feature Elvis wearing rings, but not always the ring being highlighted.
Some of the visual highlights (and there are many!) are:
- Silver Eagle Ring- a sterling silver carved eagle set in black lacquer like material. The eagle is surrounded by a serrated circle while the rest of the ring is decorated with rocks set in earth toned shoulders. (p34)
- Gold Indian Head ring – fantastic looking 14 karat gold ring with striking Indian head on its top surface (p 68-69)
- Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” ring – the 0.18 carat diamond is centered in a starburst, set in a square concentric surround which is pyramid shaped (p80)
- Gold & Sterling Silver Crucifix ring – a very unusual item (pp 84-85)
- Gold & Diamond horseshoe (and horse’s head) ring which Elvis gave away to a lucky fan in March 1956 (p89)
- Ginger Alden’s Engagement ring - including a stunning color image of a stunning looking ring (pp92-93)
- Diamond & Gold ring given to Ed Parker in 1974 - it comprises 24 clustered diamonds and has a honeycomb like surrounds (p115)
- Gold Onyx & Diamond ring – with an outer border of twenty diamonds and a single diamond dazzling in the black onyx center hole (pp 126-127)
- Superlative Pink stone and Gold Ring (p169)
- Blue Sapphire, Gold & Diamond ring – an intricate looking ring with number “8” designed out of a set of fifteen blue sapphires (pp206-207)
Many of the rings have unusual designs when you see them up close. For example:
- A Silver ring – sterling silver with the letter “E” embedded in the top plaque has a medieval look to it (p48)
- Another horseshoe and horse’s head ring with 20 diamonds on the horseshoe and ruby eyes for the horse’s head is certainly different and an unusual looking ring (p86)
- A Sapphire, Gold and Diamond ring featuring a 4-5 carat black star sapphire surrounded by clustered gold and diamonds looks like a rock you might find while out walking (pp156-157)
- An irregular (jagged) Gold & Diamond ring (pp 176-177)
- A yellow flower-shaped Gold & Diamond ring that is hard to describe, it looks so different to other rings. It is perhaps one more befitting the stylized flamboyance of another singing great, Elton John (p186)
- Gold & Diamond TCB ring that looks like twisted metal with a lone diamond almost hidden at the top of the ring (pp 202-203)
- A Diamond & Gold ring that could be mistaken for an elaborate brass knuckle (p232)
Not all of the rings are attractive (at least in this reviewer’s mind), but they do highlight the diverse array of designs, shapes, colors, etc, that attracted Elvis. For example, I found not to my liking:
- A Gold Onyx and Diamond Ring to be quite ordinary (ugly) (p147)
- Similarly, a Black Star Sapphire, Gold & Diamond Ring (p200)
- A multi-layered Gold & Diamond ring where its 56 diamonds look like balls in a game (pp184-185)
What is evident in seeing photos of Elvis wearing the rings is how he carefully matched his rings and clothing. A great example is him wearing his Silver & Turquoise ring during rehearsals for Elvis That’s The Way It Is. Elvis’ multi-colored shirt and the ring complement each other superbly (p 163).
After finishing my journey through Elvis King of the Rings Volume 2 I had only one concern, that I wished Paul Bélard had used quality gloss paper stock, as this would give each image even greater shine/resonance. While I understand this would involve a significantly higher cost to produce the book, given that Elvis’ jewelry is stunning in both its color and design, I feel it deserves that extra dimension.
Verdict: That Paul Bélard has been able to already release two volumes (more than 500 pages) showcasing and documenting just several hundred of Elvis’ rings is testament to the incredible amount of research he has undertaken (a third volume is likely). The result is that both volumes are an impressive visual and narrative record of one of Elvis’ favorite pastimes. What is on display in The King of the Rings Volume 2 leaves no doubt as to the importance of rings in Elvis’ life and offers great insight to his taste and likings when purchasing new pieces. I look forward to the next volumes from the author about Elvis’ jewelry. They will include a third volume around rings as well as books about watches (the early draft of this book look great), bracelets, and pendants. I just hope that Paul Bélard will invest more and publish them using gloss paper stock.
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Copies of Elvis The King of the Rings Volume 2 can be ordered directly from the author Paul Bélard at email@example.com or from Amazon.
See our review of the first volume of the author’s two-volume set, The King of the Rings, below.
|Review by Nigel Patterson.
-Copyright EIN /Elvis-Day-By-Day September 2022
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Book Review: 'Elvis The King of the Rings Vol 1': Author-researcher Paul Belard's new book doesn’t cover a specific period of time, it covers a “shiny” part of our man's life, his love for big and glittery jewelry, specifically rings.
Elvis liked expensive things: cars, motorcycles, clothes, and jewelry. His jewels befitted a king. He wore sumptuous pendants hung on heavy gold chains; huge lavish rings dripping of rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, and emeralds; bracelets of gold and precious gems.
The singer Robert Goulet described Elvis’ penchant for generosity: “I remember once we sat together backstage for two hours. And he was a charming, delightful man. And at one point I said, “That’s a beautiful ring you have there.” He said, “You like it?” I said, “It’s beautiful!” He took it off his hand and put it on mine. He gave me his ring.”
Belard's new book features 254 pages dedicated to Elvis’ love of rings.
The photos include close-ups of so much glorious "Bling" along with stories of Elvis wearing them on-stage and even where they ended up.
Go here to read our review by Kees Mouwen and Nigel Patterson
(Book Review, Source:DayByDay/ElvisInformationNetwork)