Deadly Weapons

Brass knuckles, brass monkeys, knucks, brass knucks, nuckles…anyway you put it, knuckle dusters make a bold statement.  Usually it’s the kind of statement that says “you really don’t want to mess with me in a dark alley.”  But when you hang them on the same necklace chain as a mini-harmonica and pair them with skinny jeans, summer loafers, and an American Apparel deep V, they really should tell a different tale.  Like perhaps that you enjoy functional jewelry or unique statement pieces or maybe even mobster memorabilia.  Mistakenly wear it to the airport, they take it away at security, slap of the wrist, and you move along, right?

Not so fast.

Apparently, the fine folks at LAX consider you a felon in possession of a deadly weapon and will arrest you on sight.

My friend wore this exact ensemble for his first flight to Seattle and was immediately cuffed and sent to beautiful Culver City to live out 27 hours behind bars.

You guys, he was actually arrested by the fashion police.

So in honor of his time in lock-up for a maybe too-bold fashion statement, here are some time-honored deadly accessories:

Poison Ring


Also known as pillbox rings or snuff rings, poison rings have been around since the sixteenth century in jolly ole Europe.  They contain a hidden compartment underneath the bezel that was used to slip poison into food and drink or for a convenient suicide before dungeon torture and the guillotine.  As barbaric practices gave way to more humane methods, poison was replaced by perfume, crosses, locks of hair, hidden notes and messages, and other keepsakes, earning it a new reputation as a locket ring.

Antique Poison Ring

Antique poison ring. (


Pearl Inlay Derringer


In 19th century Philadelphia, a man named Henry Deringer made the very first pocket-sized pistol.  This model, incidentally, was used by John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  The world took note and Remington was soon manufacturing thousands of the palm pistols under the misspelled moniker, “Derringer.”  Mother-of-pearl grips, often engraved and inscribed, adorned the derringers of many a brothel worker on the western frontier as well as famous cowboys like Wyatt Earp.  A simple slip into the garter and you are fancifully armed and ready to duel.

Pearl Derringer

Derringer with Mother-of-Pearl grips (tumblr)


Dagger Necklace


The origin of this little deadly gem is unknown…at least to me, so for now I’ll just take a few stabs in the dark.  Victorian?  Perhaps originally intended as a letter opener.  Or possibly a torture method in ancient Asia; an agonizingly slow and painful slip under the fingernail.  Free Masons, seamstresses, so many could have a use for a tiny concealed blade.  It’s easy to see why hidden knife necklaces are a current and coveted accessory.

Mermaide Pocket Knife Necklace

Mermaid Pocket Knife Necklace by Contrary on Etsy

Knuckle Dusters


And hey why not, all hail the original offender.  Authentic brass knuckles are made of steel, surprisingly enough, and wrap around the knuckles for maximum tissue and bone disruption upon impact in hand-to-hand combat.  Popularized during the American Civil War, knuckle dusters are now illegal in many countries, but are trending throughout today’s fashionable youth, doubling as belt buckles and pendants.   Fun fact: the French call brass knuckles “The American Punch.”

Antique Brass Knuckles

19th century brass knuckles (


Pew Pew!



  1. i loooooove this!!!!!! that pearl handgun is incredible!!!!
    i’m a fan of the locket ring thing as well, really cool! and i particularly enjoy that knuckledusters have been adapted onto the tops of box clutches (famously from alexander mcqueen)! :) x

  2. love

  3. ohhhhhhh I love the ring! and the derringer!!
    weapons were so much prettier back then weren’t they?

  4. I didn’t know people used to use dagger necklaces. You gave me a little inspiration for a story I’m writing :)

  5. I think I must own a poison ring. Not like, you know, so I can poison anyone…just because it’s super-cool to have! ;)

  6. obsessed with heavy jewelry like this :) so cute, also love studs!!

    Do you mind checking out my fashion blog:,
    its new and your opinion would mean the world to me!

  7. Wow, that’s crazy! What a cool article!!! Thanks for sharing-
    Courtney Hosny

  8. Lovely post! I had exactly the same dagger necklace back in my teenage years. And I would love to have that kind of ring..not for poison but maybe some liquid rapid laxative I could pour into my colleague’s meal incognito..just for a laugh.

  9. Interesting article. Thank you for posting. :)

  10. The Derringer looks badass!

  11. this is a good article. I have always wanted a poison ring- i think they are beautiful…and useful!

  12. Oooh.. I want me one of those guns and a dagger necklace.

  13. Like the ring! Simple and beautiful! :)

    Adieu, scribbler

  14. santaflash says:

    The ring is awesome. I nearly forgot about those.

  15. love the mermaid knife …and the ring is to “die” for … yes pun intended

  16. LOVE the poison ring. People always ask me (at airports, which after reading this blog now makes me think they are concerned and not just curious) if my huge watches or cocktail rings can be used as weapons. Can’t believe your friend went to jail for 27 hours! So nuts! Thanks for sharing, and congrats on being FP!

  17. flydaniel says:

    Very interesting post! Poison ring is my favorite

  18. The dagger is a new one to me. Thanks for this piece of history.

  19. lynaerockwell says:

    Hey there! I’ve nominated you for the Leibster Award. I enjoy your blog and can’t wait to see what you post in the future! Keep up the great work.

    For instructions about the award, click on this link –

  20. Weapons are so fascinating! And some of these are beautiful too! :)

  21. I didn’t knew about this cool dangerous stuffs until i read your blog. I wish to have a collection like this.

  22. Love the poison ring! My mum has one, we call it the ‘Borgia ring.’ The dagger necklace is really cool as well. A more fashionable (and less useful) Swiss army knife.

  23. That is soooo cool! I though that poison rings were just a fake thing in movies! Thats so neat!

  24. what u think about recycle plastics ?

  25. girl!!! congrats on being freshly pressed!!!!! so proud! x

  26. MySoCalledLifeSigh says:

    This was really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Wow I totally didn’t the thing about your friend coming! Total BS. However, you throwing us for a loop and then presenting us with fabulous historical weapons is why you got ‘Pressed’– excellent writing!

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