Austin’s Ring Museum
Austin’s Fine Jewelry presents our gift to Las Cruces: the Austin’s Ring Museum. To quote Keith, “This may be the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to rings.”
Keith shares his passion for rings!
A consummate lifelong collector, Keith began collecting rings a couple decades ago. As the collection grew, Austin established the ring museum in 2013. It’s now the repository of 8,000 to 10,000 rings Keith has collected. There is space, however, to display only about 40 percent of the collection, so displays are changed about every six weeks. It pays to visit frequently.
People adorn their bodies with ear rings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. But rings are far more than decoration. The ring may have its origins 5,000 years ago or longer. In modern times, it’s used to represent marriage. But you’ll find rings purchased for newborn babies (something to grow into), graduations, clubs — like Scouts, FFA, and 4H — fraternal, military, business and sports awards. If you can think of an organization or a special occasion, there’s probably a ring dedicated to it.
Besides rings in precious metals and gem stones, you’ll find Southwest Indian jewelry in turquoise and silver, toy rings based on comic book characters like Superman, gadget and novelty rings, like spy rings and decoder rings, rings of Greek and Roman antiquity, a collection of Superbowl rings, and many more rings of imaginative creators.
The Austin Ring Museum is open the same hours as the store. Treat yourself with a visit. Here’s a taste of what you can expect…
Southwest Native American Rings (Navajo, Zuni, Hopi): 1960 to Present
One of the most important and integral parts of American history involves the history of Native Americans. Southwest Native American artwork is a reflection not just of 19th century Native American culture, but also the relationship of that culture with Mexican and American settlers of the time. Much of the silver work shows Mexican influence in both style and technique. What is more interesting is how that work evolved: the artistry and innovations that brought about modern Southwest jewelry is simply astounding.
Classic Cowboy Rings
Once upon a time, a young boy’s favorite entertainment was his cowboy hero’s radio or television program. Stars like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Tom Mix became icons for their portrayal of rough-riding cowboys of the silver screen. Characters like the Lone Ranger took cowboy mythos to a whole new level. An enormous number of novelty rings were created during this era: gun rings, decoder rings, picture rings, spyglass rings, etc. We’ve compiled a healthy collection of these imaginative pieces of popular culture.
Superbowl Ring Reproductions
We’ve all seen the “bling” Superbowl champions wear on their ring fingers. These one of a kind rings — although there’s one for every member of the team — are made from precious metals and diamonds. Lots of people would like to see them, and you can. Keith purchased a complete set of Superbowl ring reproductions — economically made with cubic zirconia, not diamonds.
From the Phantom to the Green Lantern to the Planeteers, rings have always been an important part of hero and superhero mythos. Often, a superhero acquires their power from a ring. Many heroes like Batman or James Bond use special gadget rings. Throughout the 20th century, novelty rings for these superheroes have proved some of the most popular toys for young children.