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Steven Kretchmer Designs

Randy, I met Steven and his wife 6 years ago when I used to work at a
photo lab in Culver City, CA, and was so impressed with his work, I
enquired at length about it. He was very friendly, but somewhat
secretive about the process, and gave me the impression that he had
patented the springy alloy. He let me play with a ring and fail to
pull it apart, while he stood there and smiled! It’s beautiful stuff,
no doubt. However, I believe he isn’t using pure gold, but some
combination alloy, and he is doing some heating/annealing process to
get the tension. In addition to this event, I was surfing the net one
night when I came across a website of another jeweler who had made a
ring of similar design, with tensioned stones, and he was getting
legal pressure from Steven and his attorneys, eventually having to
pull the design, if I remember correctly. Apparently his website had
come to the attention of Kretchmer Designs, and they send letters to
"cease and desist". The jeweler left up a website documenting the
horrid events, which I can’t find now. So, in others words, if you are
going to sell these pieces, beware! The concept is extremely cool,
but I suspect Steven has some protection of his market niche. I bet
you could find out how it is done for your own enjoyment, of course.

-Drew Horn

In Foggy Port Hueneme, CA

There is a German company ‘Nessing’(sp) which came out with the
tension set years before Steve. I know they have a store in New York.
They have been doing the tension and other very amazing designs for 10
years or so. Also another company ‘TeNo’ does tension sets. TeNo has
an add in the Aug. issue of ‘Wired’ magazine. You can patent a process
but not a design. Steve patented the alloy.


Sorry to disappoint you, but there are types of patents called
"design patents" that cover just the appearance of an article.
Getting a design patent is much more involved than getting a
copyright, a much more common type of protection for designs.
Whether Mr. Kretchmer has a patent on the design of his tension ring
or not, I don’t know, but it is possible.

Larry Seiger