I was first introduced to Smileys in the 1970s when they came over to the UK as a novel curiosity from America. They soon became a universal symbol for friendship, happiness and peace – bringing with them the rather irritating strapline, Have a Nice Day!
In the ‘70s there were two main types of Smiley face fashion ring available. One was yellow with black markings for the eyes and smile. Some of these were ‘mood’ rings that changed colour according to how you were feeling. Hmmm...
The other was silver coloured and sometimes made from recycled cutlery. The original retro Smiley ring from ShopCurious (in these photos) may well have been created from a stainless steel spoon. It’s usefully adjustable, so should fit most fingers - or toes, if you're that way inclined.
At the height of the fad in 1972, apparently around 50 million Smiley buttons were produced. However, the genuine rings are now rather rare, so look no further if you’re after some inexpensive heirloom jewellery.
Anyway, the most comprehensive information I could find on the history of the Smiley appears in an early 2009 article about the film Watchmen, written by Jon Savage in The Guardian – and is recommended reading for the uninitiated.
Over the decades, the Smiley has had many incarnations from advertising campaigns to Acid House associations - and is now digitalized as the emoticon.
So, what d’you think of these perennially sunny smiling faces – quite cool, a bit of silly fun, or curiously sinister? Do let me know.
Curiculum Vitae Jeffry Zebua
6 months ago