The Forging of The
One Ring of Power TM
By Paul Badali
Long ago a young man read a book which excited his
imagination and pointed out the path he should walk in life. The book was
Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and today he is the jewelry artist behind Badali
Jewelry Specialties, Inc., which is licensed through Tolkien Enterprises to make and market The One Ring,
Isildur's bane, The Ruling Ring, The Precious; in gold, silver, gold plate, and
platinum. This is his story:
I read "The Hobbit" for the first time in 1967 as a junior
in Branford High School in Branford, Connecticut. It was the first book I had
ever read in it's entirety on my own. I was a very poor reader and it took lots
of time, effort, and commitment on my part to read the entire book. But
Tolkien's style and the content of The Hobbit captivated my interest and I was
compelled to persevere. I read well now at age 50, and could fill a large trunk
with the science fiction and fantasy novels I have read since. The reading of
"The Hobbit" that first time was a turning point in my life. I have been shaped
and molded by that first experience with JRR Tolkien in very real ways.
Branford High Chemistry Club, 1969. Paul Badali center
From left to right around me are John Carubia,
Robert Lillquist, James Nickou, Peter Anderson
I went on to read "The Lord of the Rings" in 1969 through
1971 at college; Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It gave me a stronger
push down the same path in life that "The Hobbit" had helped set me to walking.
Later I read The Silmarillion. 30 years later, here I am a jeweler, crafting
The Ruling Ring and other fantasy related jewelry; Dragons, Snakes, Spiders, and
custom Norse Rune Rings at our website
www.badalijewelry.com. In searching for a name
for our first daughter in 1975, I suggested Lothlorian. My wife liked the
sound and idea, but shortened it to Loria (loth LORIA n). So even my first born
child bears a J.R.R Tolkien inspired name, and is proud of it by the way. But we
have jumped ahead, and left out many steps on the path.
Loria Badali, has appeared in Napoleon Dynamite
and worked in regional theatre for 5 years.
In 1955 my father built a small cinder block house in
Branford, Connecticut. I spent my young years there surrounded by nature; Long
Island Sound a 5 minute walk out the front door, thousands of acres of virgin
woods out the back, and Altmansburger's pond in the middle. I was not social or
athletic; quite a loner actually. I was a Nature Boy. Trees, squirrels, fish and
rocks were my early companions.
Fishing at Altmanburger's
pond, where I discovered
many of the marvels of Nature.
In 1956, at age 5, I found The Crystal.
There was a land fill called "The Dump" just north of our house. People threw
all kinds of fascinating objects there for me to play with, and occasionally
truck loads of dirt and rock were brought in to cover it up. My mother forbade
me to play there, of course. One day while playing there a bright flash of light
in fresh fill dirt caught my eye, and my heart skipped a beat. With small hands
I reached out to uncover and lift a large, clear, sparkling stone from the dirt.
I had never experienced such a feeling before; the rush of anticipation at the
first glimpse of a buried treasure before it was entirely visible. Then
uncovering it, and watching it take shape and become fully revealed. The joy of
holding it, the magic of discovery, the thrill of possession. The total awe at
the marvelous beauty of Nature's perfection as expressed in a crystal. I had
never held a crystal before. It was magical! Have you ever seen the art work on
the cover of the Moody Blues album "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor" of a small
boy reaching for a dangling crystal? That picture reminds me of how it felt.
I had that crystal until 6th grade, when I brought it to
school for a rock collection the class was doing, and it disappeared. Crystals
will do that; switch owners when it is time. Kind of like The Precious
actually. But by that time the crystal had well cast it's spell on my life. My
love for the mineral kingdom of rocks, fossils, gems, and minerals, but
especially large crystals has persisted to this day and grown much deeper. It is
a very large part of the reason that I am a jeweler.
The finding of that first crystal gave me not only a love
of crystals and minerals, but also a love for the thrill of finding treasures in
the earth. I have been an avid rockhound since that time. I hunted for garnets
and fish fossils in Connecticut in my youth. Here in Utah I love going to Topaz
Mountain to find topaz and red beryl crystals. I have dug opals and sapphires in
Idaho. I took up metal detecting in 1977 to find buried coins. And I began
mining gold under water with a gold dredge in 1985. As an adult, I enjoy
collecting antique marbles for many of the same reasons. I know exact what Bilbo
felt when first he picked up the Arkenstone. My first crystal was my own small
arkenstone. I love finding things in the earth.
Dredging gold on the Klamath River, California.
In 1970, I was passing the hobby shop in the basement of
the Wilkinson center at BYU, and noticed an acquaintance doing - something. I
went in to see what he was doing, got involved, and an hour later I had just
completed cutting and polishing my first gemstone - a tigereye. He was doing
Lapidary; cutting and polishing gems. A week later we were out in the Utah
desert finding agate, and a week after that I was making Christmas presents with
the gems I had found and cut. I purchased ready made settings at Stan's Rock
Shop to mount the stones into necklaces and broaches. Stan Jones loved opal, and
his enthusiasm and love for opal rubbed off on me. Today, I set diamonds into
gold and platinum every day as a master jeweler; but opal is still my favorite
Stan's ready made settings left much to be desired. In
1974 I learned to silversmith so that I could create my own settings. I
continued my study of jewelry design in the Metal Smithing and Jewelry Design
classes at Weber State College from 1975 through 1977. Later, I actually had the
opportunity to go back and teach that same class at what is now Weber State
University from 1990 through 1992. The student had become the master. It was
great fun, and several of my students became very good friends, and even
I opened my first jewelry store in 1975. I graduated from
college in 1978 with a BS in Zoology and Botany (I told you I was a Nature Boy).
I taught junior high science for 2 years, and high school biology for 7 before
coming back to the jewelry business.
Working on a ring at an arts and crafts show in 1976
And so we come to the making of The One Ring. As a
jeweler, being highly influenced by the writings of J.R.R Tolkien, it was
inevitable that I would craft The One Ring of Power. I had always wanted a
replica of the ring that made Bilbo Baggins invisible, and which Frodo Baggins
would carry to Mount Doom. I probably made my earliest attempts in 1975 or so;
crude attempts to be sure. I set about to make it in a serious way in 1997, had
unsatisfying results several times, and finally produced a flattened style good
enough to sell in 1998. In 1999 that was refined to the more rounded comfort fit
style I make now.
I had no idea that anyone owned the trademarks to J.R.R.
Tolkien's works when I started selling the rings. A customer asked if I was
licensed with Tolkien Enterprises soon after I started, and I responded "Who is
It turns out that the Tolkien Family Estate sold the
rights to "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" to Saul Zaentz, owner of
Fantasy Records and movie producer. Saul Zaentz is the man who discovered and
recorded Creedence Clearwater Revival (the Golliwogs before their recording
contract with Fantasy) and produced "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1975
and "The Lord of the Rings" animated movie in 1978. He produced the movie soon
after he acquired the Tolkien rights, and created a licensing company called
Tolkien Enterprises to
license the rights to other artists. I contacted Tolkien Enterprises and
negotiated licensing rights so that I could continue to make and sell The One
Some have asked why would anyone want an object of abject
evil like Sauron's Ruling Ring; created to enslave all of Middle Earth under his
dark tyrannical rule. While that is the purpose for which evil created The
Ruling Ring, that is NOT what resulted, nor the only thing The One Ring
represents. I feel the ring is a symbol much like that of the cross to
Christians. The crucifix is in all reality a symbol of the greatest evil
done in this world, but instead it has become a symbol of the greatest sacrifice
ever made to rid the world of a great evil. I feel that the One Ring as
well is a symbol of Frodo's willing sacrifice of his life to rid the world of a
great evil. It is also a symbol of the bonds formed within the
Fellowship's journey and their struggles to overcome evil.
Does not the struggle to overcome evil bring out the best
and the worst in us all? I believe that as the central object of The Lord of
The Rings series, The One Ring also represents all that is good and true in
Middle Earth. To me it represents Bilbo's plain straight-forward manner and
pluck, Frodo's tolerance, patience, and bravery, Gandalf's wisdom and
commitment, Galadriel's beauty of soul and kindness of heart, Aragorn's patience
and strength, Sam's constancy, loyalty, and humility, and the good in many
others who had part in the quest to unmake the evil. It represents the
sacrifice each was willing to make for the greater good; the finest of human
motivations and emotions. It is a moral and ethical if not an almost religious
symbol. It reminds us that right will always triumph where good people refuse
to tolerate evil, and that one individual CAN make a difference. It is a
talisman of hope and faith.
The One Ring Jewelry
Badali Jewelry we make
the Precious in gold,
which we call "Gollum Gold". I have also created The Elven Rings of Power™:
Dwarven Rings of Power™ and
Gollum™ Creature Ring. I am also
licensed with Robert Jordan to create pieces from his popular
Wheel of Time series.
My jewelry is very much a reflection of who and what I am, and I am a reflection
of my experiences in life. Tolkien's writings have had a profound influence on
my thoughts, my feelings, my likes, and my desires. I have been molded by Life
to be the man who would one day craft The One Ring of Power. For more of
our jewelry lines,
Paul Badali received The Award for Advancement of the Business Prosperity in
2002 by the Davis Chamber of Commerce of Utah.