We have an article slated for an upcoming issue of MJSA Custom
Jeweler on bridal custom jewelry work, and I'm hoping some folks on
Orchid will have examples of horror stories and last-minutes saves.
If you have a story that fits the bill and would like to discuss it
along with what you did to ensure the bride and groom were happy,
please let me know by Tuesday, Aug. 25. If you have any questions or
concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me.
I'm looking forward to hearing your stories!
Editor, MJSA Journal
I have had a lot of success and business from advertising a "make
your own heirloom rings to exchange at your ceremony" - I offer a
variety of common and uncommonly coloured gold alloys - and yes- even
coloured 18 kt gold clays (for those skill challenged types that
think it too hard or beyond their capabilities to measure and cut or
saw metal no matter how easy I make it for them!) so it will be truly
unique even if they are just interested in a band style ring. Most
eect to have stones (coloured not necessarily diamonds, and if
diamonds other than great grandma's round briliant they inherited
they largely choose raw coloured diamonds in 'fruit salad' colours..
I allow an hour total for design at a flat rate and then up to four
hours - in general- for the two to fabricate their pieces and I
finish them to their specs (to save time and cut down on injuries
from using a polishing motor! even though they do isgn a waiver at
the signing of the contract). The design time usually goes quite
smooth since I ask for them to bring in a rough sketch of their ideas
It is the fabrication time that can exceed the contracted time. So I
provide a price list of sorts with every variation or problematic
variable thought out and the cot of extra time for x clearly and
plainly discussed- some people want attention and others want to come
sans partner to add a 'surprise'element' to their creation. The rings
are guaranteed for a lifetime (with the usual caveats regarding
stones, if any) and adding inside ring engraving is an extra charge
regardless-I do that work rather than teaching a quick primer in
engraving and potentially having to grind it smooth/erase the
attempt! I photograph each piece and offer Jeweler's Mutual
insurance. Some pieces are stunning and some are recognizable as
rings! I have had people embed all sorts of things, from blood to
beach glass from Rome and plant parts under glass in their creations.
It is unique in this area - if you exclude the chain jewelry tores
CAD "design" program stuff that tends to look like every other bridal
set on that market.
As for 'saves": in 35 + year I have had to cut a ring off a bride's
finger 5 times thus far from outdoor weddings apres cake, or if the
bride was wearing a floral print! I have had to stretch rings many
many times the day of or before wedding, I have had to completely
fabricate a simple mil grain band type ring an hour before many
weddings because the ring bearer or the best man lost it between the
bachelor party the night before and on the way to the wedding at 10
am! Then there have been stones that fell out or were otherwise
missing between the best man getting it and the time of the weding -
usually with a couple hours or less time to match and reset the
stone- I have ha to sub cz a few times and to my utter delight the
bride preferred it over the diamond reasoning: if it gets lost it's
no big expense to replace it and is far more ""sparkly"" than the
original (the diamond that was heavily included-an understatement in
a few rings I have seen bought off the rack so to speak from chain
jewelry stores, sears or wal-mart, etc at premium prices !).
So I could go on about the follies of best men but suffice it to say
they seem to have little conciousness of the importance of the ring
to the wedding party!..rer
Have a custom bridal story to share Prospective bride came into my
shop about a month ago with some pictures of what she would like.
Looked totally do-able. Made a "dummy" set to determine if that is
truly what she would like. She wanted argentium with a brass leaf and
brass bezel on 2 selected 5mm stones. Lied the dummy, but did not
love them. Wanted the wire domed and prong set. Ordered all the
proper materials for 4mm wide rings using 1/2 round 6g wire. Got
everything done but the stone set. Now they are too wide and wants
them cut in half. NOT an option. Changed again requesting a total
remake with narrower wire. Already at her budget on previous set.
Asked her to come in before I do anything more. Ready to tell her to
go elsewhere. Weddng in in about 1 month
My father needed a new wedding band and said he wanted a simple
band. He lived far away and I thought it made more sense to go to a
local store than have me order gold and make it so we went to a
store where he lived. He liked the very ornate Jewish printed rings.
So much for simple..
The word Beshert (or Bashert) came immediately to mind but I could
not make the ring as I thought Beshert meant "beloved". He and my
step-mother had a loving but contentious relationship; he was bossy
and yelled abusively a lot, she was manipulative and intractably
stubborn. Later, I found out it really meant "intended" and I was
able to make the ring immediately. they were indeed 'intended' for
Later I sold a set to a fellow who was going to surprise his wife
for their 18th anniversary. He was marrying a non-Jew and his mother
was a very religious woman who was upset that he should marry
outside the faith. He told me the story that when the 2 finally met
the mother invited them to stay for a dinner of liver. The man
wanted to leave immediately but his intended insisted they stay as
she loved liver. The mother and her future daughter-in-law traded
liver recipes. After the dinner the mother just said that altho the
girl was not Jewish, the marriage was 'Beshert'. So, he bought the
rings that said Beshert. They are pictured below.
Almost everyone who has bought these rings has had a story about
Beshert. It is quite heart warming, even the one about my dad.
When I was about 30 and living in a bed-sit the girl next door
decided, because they were pregnant, to marry her boyfriend. The
only trouble was tat they had no money! Neither did I. So they asked
if they could use my room as part of the wedding reception space. We
shared a garden and a kitchen so there would be enough space for
twenty guests - but could I make them their wedding rings? I'd only
just started work as a silversmith/jeweler and had almost no tools.
The day before the wedding we made those rings together. I had a
little spare silver sheet some solder and a saw. On the kitchen
table we measured and cut the sheet, solder them with the burner on
the gas stove, filed them with a half brick and polished them with a
buff mop on an electric drill. The wedding went splendidly at the
local town hall and the reception was a pot luck breakfast.
I've done so many weddings now with the couple coming into my
workshop and making their own rings but this is still the best story
What a fantastic memory for all of you!
When my husband and I re-count our blessings over 48 years of
marriage, it is often the experiences during our leanest years that
are most special.
And often because of a heartfelt assist by someone in similar
straits. We learned early to "pass it on".
Thank you fro sharing the story.
In hot, monsoon-season AZ.
Not sure if this counts, but I do custom jewelry for the mother of
the bride and groom.
They bring their outfit, we choose stones/pearls/beads based on
their budget to coordinate with the outfit. I make a full suite for
them - earrings, necklace, bracelet - and they bring the outfit back
in, put it on and put on the jewelry, then make sure it is exactly
what they want. Then I do any necessary adjustments to length or
drape of the jewelry.
It is wonderful to "share" in this very special day with the
mothers, not just with the bride and groom! Plus every time the
mothers wear any of the pieces in the future, it will remind them of
that special day in their child's life.
Tony, that is such a great story. I wish we could see the rings!
Thanks for sharing.