Japan Earthquake Relief: A symbolic charity accessory

Competition Details


by Vajira Ruthirakanok


Our accessory will be a new take on an old symbol: the engagement ring. Rather than a symbol of love between two people, our accessory will indicate a love of and engagement with our shared world. Instead of waiting for the perfect love and the funds to afford a traditional, expensive engagement ring, this ring will be emotionally and economically feasible for everyone. Everyone can make a vow of love to the world in an affordable expression of togetherness.

Our ring communicates this message through its inscription and materials. The ring, unadorned on the outside, will be engraved on the inside with the words “I AM WITH YOU.” The engraving will be coated in pink fluorescent dye. The choice of pink moves beyond the symbolic association of romantic love by serving as a life-saving tool to reunite: this fluorescent color will glow when exposed to searchlights. By removing the ring and exposing its engraved message, any wearer in a disaster can be quickly rejoined with rescuers and loved ones. As we enter an era of heightened natural disasters, this ring’s function provides an equally fluorescent warning about climate change.

The process of gathering materials is another opportunity for those in Japan and worldwide. The ring’s metal will come from melted-down coins donated by project participants, whoever they are, wherever they are, and however much. By mixing and melting currencies, the material of this accessory will also express the melting down of borders, enabling a deeper sense of togetherness. Just as we re-appropriated the traditional romantic symbols of the color pink and the engagement ring, we will rethink the concept of value by reusing the physical form that runs the world: money. Furthermore, by making use of donated coins, this project will not require new materials or minerals from nature. The donated coins that form this ring will campaign a new way to think about the world: with charity and sustainable design.

The ring will be released in five different models: copper, nickel, silver, brass and mixed metal from different international coins. Whether partially or in full, proceeds from the sale will go to buy fluorescent searchlights for rescuers around the world, bringing full circle our accessory’s purpose of joining people together. With the ring, we hope to create a new cultural symbol and practical tool to unite, protect and be present with each other.