Searching for wedding rings can be exhausting. There are seemingly millions of options — and you don’t want to choose something flippantly because it is something you plan to wear for the rest of your life. It should be special. It should mean something. You should love your ring, right? After all, the wedding ring symbolizes your never-ending, unbroken devotion to your chosen life partner. It’s a big deal.
Perhaps my fiancé and I were taking this ring-choosing thing more seriously than some. Either way, we were struggling to get excited about going to a jeweler and just picking out some random silver bands.
That’s when I saw a series of photos on an old friend’s Facebook page. She and her fiancé had actually made their wedding rings. And they looked amazing. This was perfect! This is what we needed to do.
So, I did some googling, and that’s when I discovered “The Wedding Ring Experience.” It’s a national company that works with jewelers all over the country to give couples the opportunity to design and forge their rings. I was in love with the entire process. My fiancé and I saw that there was a location pretty close to where my brother lives in Brooklyn, and we booked a date: February 1st, our anniversary.
When we arrived at the building around 9:30 am, we were surprised at how residential it was. It was just an apartment building.
“Are we sure this is right?” my fiancé asked.
“It’s the same address that was in the email,” I said, checking my phone. “And it does say to ring the top doorbell, so…Let’s ring the top doorbell and see what happens.”
We waited patiently as we heard footsteps coming down the stairs inside. The door opened, and standing before us was a woman who appeared to be in her thirties, dressed in all black, and pregnant.
“Hi, welcome!” She said, inviting us inside. “Yes, I am pregnant.” She must have been asked this a lot.
“Good to know!” I chuckled a bit awkwardly. I’m never great at meeting new people. We fumbled through introductions (her name was Andrea) while removing hats and gloves before she led us upstairs to a lovely apartment. We walked down the hall and found ourselves in what was probably once a spare bedroom, but had since been converted into a jewelry workshop.
We sat down on a small couch and Andrea brought out a tray of ring examples. We had told her in an email that we weren’t looking for anything fancy, but beyond that we really had no idea what we were looking for. Fortunately for me, I had an engagement ring to match my wedding ring to, so finding my design was a fairly quick process. My fiancé, however, has never been a jewelry guy. He’s never worn a ring, so finding one that he liked and was comfortable with took some time. When he made his selection, Andrea brought out the metal beads that we would be melting down.
“Who wants to go first?” she asked.
From there it was a long day of hard, but really fun work. We melted down the metal in a crucible to form one large nugget of white gold. Then we spent a long time feeding that piece of metal through a rolling mill that we had to crank by hand in order to shape the metal into one long bar. Then we had to cut them so that they were the right length, and from there we took those bars and hammered them around what looked like a metal unicorn horn in order to make them round. Then we soldered the ends together.
At this point, it was about 1 pm, and we took a break for lunch. Andrea had made a delicious spread of food for us to enjoy, which we knew would be included in the process, but blew us away nonetheless. She had taken into account that I am a vegetarian, and instead of opting to just feed us pasta or a salad, she brought out a cheese selection, hummus, and a couscous salad that I could have eaten for days.
And then came the filing.
Now that our rings were round and ring shaped, we had to sand down the edges and shape them into the precise designs we had selected. This meant sanding the rings down with increasingly finer grits of sandpaper. The process took ages, but I was having so much fun that I hardly noticed. What I was noticing is how these looked so professional and how they had only been little chunks of metal earlier that morning.
Once we were finally done sanding our rings into their proper shapes, we got to make them all shiny with the buffing machine. Now things were really looking professional!
It was about 4:30 pm when our rings were officially finished. Andrea brought out the bottle of champagne, and we toasted to the amazing day we’d just had.
All in all, I cannot recommend A Wedding Ring Experience enough. We loved being so heavily involved in this part of our wedding. The fact that we actually got to forge the objects that we will place upon each other’s fingers as a symbol of our union feels so perfect. Andrea was so helpful and made our anniversary even cooler than we thought it would be. If you’re interested in her work, she has an Etsy shop where she sells jewelry that she makes that is way cooler than what we did, and we can’t even fathom how much works goes into each item she crafts. If you’re in the New York area and thinking about doing something a little more involved for your wedding rings, book an appointment with her. If you’re not in the New York area, A Wedding Experience has jewelers all over the country, and while we cannot speak for anyone other than Andrea, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
Emelie Samuelson is a girl in her twenties who is just trying her best. She spends her days reading and writing books, playing games, and snuggling with dogs. You can find more of her ramblings and embarrassing stories on her blog, Awkwardly Alive and Pleasantly Peculiar.