The Duchess of Sussex recently wore the 1972 Tennis Pinky Ring from the brand Shiffon Co., which was founded by Shilpa Yarlagadda. The ring, which starts at $2,800, is currently available for preorder on the brand’s site.
HuffPost spoke with Yarlagadda about the inspiration behind the new ring, how it honors the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and what it was like seeing the duchess wear one of her pieces (again!).
The Duchess of Sussex wears Shiffon Co.'s 1972 Tennis Pinky Ring at Prince Harry's Invictus Games on April 17 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)
The Shiffon Co. CEO told HuffPost by phone Thursday that it’s always important to her that her jewelry, which she describes as both “minimalistic and timeless,” also includes symbolism and a story.
The 25-year-old Harvard grad said she was drawn to tennis in particular for this ring after learning more about the pay disparity that exists in sports. Tennis is currently one of the only sports that offers equal pay for both men and women for its major tournaments (though it still has significant progress to make outside of smaller tournaments).
The ring is also meant to honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance and helped facilitate equality in women’s sports.
“We called it the 1972 Tennis Pinky Ring because we wanted to honor 1972 and how far women have come,” Yarlagadda said, adding that the brand is also donating 19.72% of the profits from the ring toward its Women in Sports investment fund.
The waitlist for the ring came out on June 23, the day that Title IX was passed in 1972, and only 1,972 will be released in total.
Yarlagadda also said that she really wanted the design of ring, which includes wrap-around diamonds, to pay homage to the iconic tennis bracelet.
A close-up of Shiffon Co.'s forthcoming 1972 Tennis Pinky Ring. (Photo: Shiffon Co.)
The jewelry maker called it a “huge honor” to see women she admires wear her designs, as they “are such amazing role models.”
“They’ve done so much for the women’s movement and to see all of them together wearing this is so meaningful,” the founder said. “I think there’s so much power when women come together, and the whole premise of Shiffon and our mission is really about women supporting women.”
Yarlagadda added that it’s also inspiring to see people discussing “really important issues that are happening in the world, simply because of piece of jewelry.”
It was also especially significant to see the Duchess of Sussex wearing her latest design, as the Shiffon Co. CEO says that she grew up watching “Suits” and was a part of One Young World, a global forum for young leaders that Meghan also worked with.
“Meghan is someone I’ve always really admired,” Yarlagadda said. “I just think she’s just so thoughtful about how she gives back to women, and she’s really lended her platform to so many amazing causes and women that I’ve discovered actually through her.”
The duchess previously made headlines for wearing the first ring from Yarlagadda’s line, called the duet pinkie ring, for her and Prince Harry’s Time magazine cover in September 2021.
Half of the profits from the ring go straight to The Startup Girl Foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of Shiffon Co. that helps fund fellow female entrepreneurs.
Yarlagadda, who worked with Michelle Obama in 2020 on a pair of hoop earrings on behalf of the “When We All Vote” movement, also teased that she has an exciting partnership on the horizon, but won’t say with whom just yet.
The only hints she’s giving away are that it’s someone who is a part of the women’s movement, and has worn the brand’s jewelry before.
In the meantime, look out for the official launch of the 1972 ring, coming soon to a pinkie near you.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.