An interview with Stephanie Selle, the jeweler behind With These Rings
1. What is the mission of With These Rings?
For me it is all about the meaning and the materials. The wedding ring is really a symbol of your relationship that you are able to keep with you always. I want to help people make that symbol as personal as it deserves to be. The majority of the rings out there today are mass produced, which really doesn't align with how most people feel about their relationship with their partner. We live in this time where so many of the objects that we invest in become disposable when we are due for an upgrade. Let's make something together that is so meaningful that it becomes irreplaceable!
I try to live a pretty low-impact life both at home and in my studio practice. Materials used in jewelry can be incredibly harsh on the earth and so many of the people who live in places where metal and stones are mined. The jewelry industry tends to make it kind of hard to make informed decisions about these things. So in my business I consider it my responsibility to be transparent with my clients and supply metals that are one hundred percent recycled and gemstones that have been ethically sourced, lab grown or recycled.
2. What is the origin story of With These Rings?
When my husband and I decided to elope neither of us had really thought that either of us would end up getting married, so there was no "dream wedding" in our heads. But as a jeweler I knew that the rings would be meaningful to me. I was kind of stumped on how to make our rings personal while keeping them pretty simple. Then my husband suggested that I teach him how and we would make each others' rings. So we went to my studio and dug into my scrap jar to find the metal to make our rings with. It was so amazing to teach him this process that I love so much and to watch him put so much care and effort in to making my ring as perfect as he could. Four years later he still calls it the "funnest day ever." Once we were married and wearing our rings I decided that I wanted to offer it to other couples out of my studio. But I never would have guessed that so many people would be interested and that it would become my full time business.
Everyone has different backgrounds, beliefs, and intentions for their marriage; I want my couples to feel comfortable expressing any part of themselves that would enhance their experience in my workshop.
3. How do you promote diversity and equality at With These Rings?
I always try to create an environment where anyone who walks though my door can feel comfortable making the experience their own, whatever that means to them. I have worked with couples who have stopped to take a moment to pray together before starting the process. I've worked with couples who turned to each other and mutually proposed with their rings once they were finished. I've also worked with couples who were blending families and brought their kids along to help and be a part of the process.
4. What makes an ideal customer for With These Rings?
I just love working with couples in love. But I will say that it is always great when customers come in with an appreciation for handmade things. I think it is important to note that most of the rings that we see out there today are not made by hand. I promise that you will leave with professional quality, heirloom rings, but there will be subtle marks left behind by your hands. I find that is part of the inherent beauty in handmade jewelry.
5. What three ingredients make for a great day at With These Rings?
Love, patience and being present.
It sounds cheesy, but you're not just making rings, you are also making memories, so just take your time and enjoy the process. It is the hard work that you put in that makes the end result so satisfying.
6. What's the last book you read that you would recommend to a friend?
I just finished Stoned by Aja Raden, I totally judged it by its cover, and I'm so glad that I did. She is a great storyteller; I couldn't put it down! It is an amazing combination of history, economics, sociology, geology, and anthropology, all told through super interesting stories of gems and jewelry. It's not just for jewelers, my husband loved it too. Also for anyone who is on the on the fence about a diamond ring this book really dives deep into the history.
GET YOUR COPY OF VOLUME TWO AT WITH THESE RINGS!
211 Taylor Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368