With These Rings is the perfect option for couples who are looking for meaningful and ethical jewelry with which to celebrate their commitment. Stephanie Selle, the studio owner, says “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.” At her studio in serene Port Townsend, Washington, she guides couples through the process of hand-making their own wedding rings. She is passionate about helping “people make that symbol as personal as it deserves to be.“
Alex and Ed are one of those couples. When they were seniors in college, they both worked at a call center. Ed was assigned to train Alex when she started. They worked together for about four hours that day, joking and laughing the entire time. Alex says, “It was love and best friendship at first sight — I have never had so much fun with someone I just met.” Unfortunately, they didn’t exchange numbers or last names, and the call center was huge. It was quite possible they could both work there but never see each other again. Alex says, “I spent the next several weeks trying to track him down. My strategy was to walk the entire building and look into every single cubicle until I saw him. It took about a month, but eventually I ‘ran into him’ during a shift again."
She says that dating has been really interesting because the two of them are polar opposites, but she’s never had more fun with anyone else. “It has been nothing short of an adventure,” she shares. Deciding to get married was somewhat unexpected and surprising, even to them. When they met at the age of 21, both were against the idea of getting married. But after a few years and a bit of maturing, “it sort of all of a sudden felt like something we wanted to do.” Alex says, “I honestly don't remember how we got to talking about it or why, but the idea came up, and after so many years of thinking ‘no that's not for me,’ I feel like we both kind of just said ‘YES! Let’s get married!’ and really meant it.”
They made their rings with Stephanie in January of 2017. “It was one of the best experiences of my life!”, Alex says. Alex had ethical concerns with diamonds, so she knew she didn’t want a traditional engagement ring. Furthermore, she “loved the idea of having completely matching rings. We have a long history of making each other handmade custom gifts (for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, etc.) so the idea of hand crafting matching wedding rings really seemed to be the perfect fit.” They drove to Port Townsend: “We were actually very nervous when we arrived because once you get there it all becomes very real, and for a moment you almost feel like you aren't really going to leave with a real life wedding ring because how could you possibly make it with your own hands in an afternoon?” Alex said she also had “this weird feeling that she was going to mess it up so bad that she’d be asked to leave.” But her fears were alleviated once she met Stephanie: “Once you sit down with Stephanie before the actual metalwork begins, she does a really good job of making you feel at ease and reassures you that you really are going to leave with professional quality rings that you hand craft, and that it will be easy and fun.” Right away, Alex knew she had made the right decision.
Stephanie struck the perfect balance of guiding the process and allowing them to learn on their own. Alex says, “Throughout the entire workshop she was an excellent teacher — she really lets you get your hands dirty and actually saw, solder, file, sand, and hammer the pure metal! But she also is hands-off so that you have the experience of having completed every step on your own.” Additionally Alex enjoyed getting to know Stephanie: “It was also really fun to hang out with her for a few hours — she is so friendly and calm that it’s hard to stay nervous about messing up while you are making the rings. She was also very knowledgeable and very skilled.” Alex also appreciated the small touches of the workshop: “we left with a signed certificate for our rings, a lovely wooden box to store the rings in, and we got to put a pin in the map to denote where we are from.” All in all, Alex says, “I really can’t speak highly enough about the experience and about working with Stephanie.”
Afterward, Alex anticipated that Ed would propose, but she didn’t know when. She says, “I was a little on edge waiting for the proposal because I wasn't sure when it would be or if I would need to look nice or if there would be photos or anything.” She laughs, “I don't have the cutest ‘surprise face.’” Valentine’s Day was coming up, but Alex felt at ease because they never celebrate the holiday, and Ed hates clichés. “But that was the biggest surprise of all because Ed proposed on February 10 — I didn't see it coming at all!” Ed printed some of the images from their ring-making session onto large canvas prints and proposed in front of the images. Alex says, “It was really beautiful, and we get to remember the ring-making session and the proposal when we look at the wall.”
Learn more about making your own rings and planning your visit to Port Townsend here!