While Beyonc once sang, “Put a ring on it,” jewelry designer Ruta Fox is encouraging women to exercise a little bit of self-love – and buy their own diamonds!
The Greenville, South Carolina-based jewelry designer and entrepreneur is the creator of The Ah Ring – a diamond pinky band with a name that stands for “A, available, and h, happy.”
“Single is the new lifestyle. It’s becoming more and more prevalent – there’s definitely a trend that more people are living single for a longer time,” Fox tells PEOPLE of her customer base.
In 2001, Fox, who is single herself, was working in the creative department at Bloomingdales in New York City and desperately seeking a new career with back problems sidelining her department store gig.
She recalled looking out the window one evening from her tiny apartment, watching singles carrying pizza boxes home from work – dinner for one. And soon, the idea for a single ladies ring hit her.
“I figured, Why wait for a man to buy you diamonds? Married and engaged women have their rings. There was nothing on the market for single women to buy for themselves. So I created one,” Fox says.
“I wanted to turn a negative thing on its ear. For however long you are single, feel good about being wherever you are. It’s all about being confident, joyful and happy. The Ah Ring kind of symbolizes that feeling.”
Her diamond pinky ring, which she sells from her website, divinediamonds.com, and delivers in a red velvet pouch, costs $450 and has 11 glittering stones that circle the band. It serves as permission, she adds, for many young women to buy themselves a nice piece of jewelry, honoring their success in the moment.
It also moves beyond an old wives tale that says if a woman bought herself diamonds, she’d never get them from a man, says Fox, who has sold about 6,000 rings and counts many celebrities, including Kate Hudson, Tyra Banks and Gwyneth Paltrow, as fans.
“I have tons of notes from women. They tell me that their ring actually meant something. It was very special to them, it resonated with them. Women were deeply attached to the feeling, the emotional part of it. My pinky ring – it’s a celebration of being single,” she says.
That sort of solidarity continues to resonate with today’s 20-somethings, a new generation of women continuing their educations and getting settled into their careers.
“I think that ring has kind of become an inspiration for a lot of women who are choosing to get married later, it’s become their symbol,” says Sherri Langburt, CEO of an influencer marketing agency in New York City who is a fan of Fox’s story.
“All the world has become their own Carrie Bradshaws,” she adds of Sex in the City‘s introspective single-girl heroine and role model.
“I don’t think marriage is the No. 1 priority for a lot of these women,” Langburt adds. “They are single, and marriage isn’t their focus. They have carved out their own amazing existence, and it’s like ‘I don’t need a car from a man, a house from a man, or a ring.'”
Los Angeles Realtor Michelle Oliver, who is now married, continues to wear two of Fox’s rings stacked on her pinky. She notes that Fox also champions the ring’s name as “attached and happy,” too.
“I view wearing mine as having an independent spirit. It’s not anti-marriage, it’s self-empowering. Yes, I am married, but there remains a contemporary side of me as a women who is available – for living. That’s the spirit and symbolism Fox wants to convey. She believes women should be happy whether they are single or married. I think this is a nice way to show that unity, and I think women respond to that.”