Category — Wedding Rings

Ring Masters

A few months back, I wrote about wanting to go to this great wedding ring workshop, where couples can actually design and make their own rings. I signed us up for the one in San Diego last weekend, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Seriously. All of you engaged people (y’all are dropping like flies… you know who you are), I highly, highly recommend doing this! Give up a day, be prepared to be patient (yeah, I am telling you to be patient; the irony is not lost on me) and go for it. As Bri said, “I really can’t imagine buying our rings any other way.”

All told, making our rings took 10 hours, start to finish (apparently, we picked the most difficult metal to work with), but it was super relaxed and fun. Jay Whaley is the jeweler who runs the workshop here in San Diego, and he’s just the nicest, most patient man ever. He teaches at UCSD, so he must be used to squirrely students using power tools for the first time (he didn’t look terrified when I picked up the blow torch). He was great about showing us what to do, stepping back to let us do it ourselves, then lending a hand when we got stuck.

OK, I’m going to drop a bunch of pictures on you right now because they tell the story better than I can. Ready… GO!


This is what we started with… just some lumps of metal


Fire, fire! Melting the metal into one piece


My little special ball


Brian’s perfectly formed ingot


Lots and lots of annealing– making the metal soft enough to shape


Flattening the metal in this fun press thing


Lookin’ good


Taking out our aggression and shaping the metal into ring form


Getting closer


Soldering time!


“Lord of the Rings” geeks? Kaila? Hermes? Anyone?


The neverending polishing process


Hey, everybody! Come and see how good I look!


Toasting our success with delicious almond champagne


Tee hee. So demure


Still in disbelief


Oooh, shiny


The final product, engraved and all!


Opa! Victory is ours!

November 26, 2008   11 Comments

DIY Wedding Rings

Precious Moments

As I typed the name of this post, I thought, “Jesus, that sounds so hipster.” You know, we’re so alternative and non-conformist. So we’re going to make our own wedding rings out of ironic vintage T-shirts or a Dave Eggers book we pretend to understand. Profoundly.

As awesome as that would be, I found something even better– Wedding Ring Workshop. Couples spend five to six hours working with jewelers to design and actually make each other’s rings. Like with hot metal and a soldering iron.

This is what their Web site says about the process:

  • Melting: First melt your metal and cast your ingot (which is a fancy term for a piece of metal you can shape)
  • Milling: You mill the ingots into square wire and then into the shape of your choice
  • Bending: Using specially shaped pliers you bend the metal into a rough ring shape
  • A few more steps that involve tools I’m scared of
  • Polishing: Finally, you apply jeweler’s polish for that extra sparkle on your very special rings

Very special indeed. Call me a hippie, but I love the idea of making our own rings. The rings will mean a lot more to me if I risked losing a finger to make them. Brian’s crafty and good with things like saws, and they claim they won’t let you screw up these expensive symbols of your love and happiness. The workshops are offered in a few cities– including San Francisco, New York and San Diego (where Brian will be for a few weeks when he finally gets back from deployment).

I have to call for exact prices since the cost of gold and platinum changes so much, but it’s supposedly cheaper than buying from a retailer. Sweet. Let’s just pray mine doesn’t turn out all special like some of my previous attempts at being crafty (lopsided clay bowls, a skirt with a crooked hem that took me a whole semester to make, papier-mâché projects that never quite dried). If I’m feeling extra sassy, maybe I’ll attempt engraving something inside. What should the message be? (Note: “I will cut you” is not appropriate, Ide.)

Creative Commons image courtesy of DJOtaku’s Flickr page.

July 10, 2008   12 Comments