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I was a child bride

March 25, 2011
www.gr8findings.wordpress.com

4 ruby beads, 3 birds, 2 dogs and a husband who loves my talent for DIY

So did I get your attention with that headline? Thought I might. My husband likes to refer to me that way because I was young and naive when we got married. Not Coal Miner’s Daughter sort of young, mind you, but only a few weeks out of college and definitely unaware of what life would send our way.

So while I could probably start a whole new blog talking about my 20+ years of adventure with Stan, this is for the most part a jewelry-centric endeavor, so let’s talk wedding rings, shall we?

My first wedding band was a very simple yellow gold band that we purchased together at a weird department store on the East side of Indianapolis. For some strange reason, I recall my future-mother-in-law and niece were along with us for the shopping trip and we spent a lot of time hunched over the glass cases, pointing at the rings that looked most affordable. We were poor college students, so there were definitely few romantic details to remember about that day, at least like the kind you see in stupid tv commercials. But we were in love, so it hardly mattered.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that my husband picked out a nice gold band for himself with a pattern of interlocking circles on the surface; that band was promptly lost forever about 6 months later on his first day on the job as a professional editor (he was pitching hay for a children’s fitness event at his publisher’s house and it was raining ~ didn’t I tell you there was enough craziness for another blog?)

As years passed, Stan replaced his lost ring with a lovely 18kt band we picked up at an antique mall for a song (that one was lost in our own backyard during an afternoon juggling practice), and my plain yellow band was replaced with an anniversary ring filled with channel-set princess diamonds round about year 10. Lest you think Stan’s finger goes naked, we found a third replacement wedding ring at another antique place. This one is definitely his favorite because it looks old (it has a very vintage-like pattern on the front), but we know it’s much newer because of the inscription inside: “To Bretter Bear” [sic] along with a wedding date about 5 years after our own.

So then about 5 years ago yellow gold lost its luster for me; I started wearing silver regularly, and then I bought a ring mandrel, and well … if you make your own jewelry you know how it goes. My old rings are safely tucked away, and sometimes I still like to pull them out and wear them when we go out …. But there is something so special about making my own jewelry, and just like in marriage I’ve found that  things seem to work best when you toss out convention and just focus on making thing work your own way.

Take the set I have in this photo, for example. The main band hearkens back to the days when I first started playing around with Argentium, and it has definitely evolved with me as I continue to learn new techniques. At first, I couldn’t get it to fuse properly, so I cut little snippets of wire to attach to the outside edge of the band. Stacked one on top of the other, I liked the way the smaller pieces made an organic pattern of their own.

But then there was the day, after having become irritated by a small piece of wire scratching my finger for the 479th time,  I tried to fuse the thinner wire on the side to the outside edge and a piece of the central band actually popped off during quenching (lesson learned: Argentium is, when heated, much more brittle than Sterling or fine silver). Had to fix that little problem by carefully cutting another piece of wire and fitting it into place. By that time, I felt like a pro with fusing (and had upgraded my torch), so now I can’t even really tell where the problem was in the first place.

And then there is the issue with sizing. If you’ve never tried to size a silver band, let me be the first to tell you that those things grow big FAST once you start hammering away. I had made a ring similar to this one here (only in Peridot) that I wore for years, but it was easily 2 sizes too big and fell off my finger last week while I was volunteering at my son’s school (do you sense a theme here? That Stan and I seem to lose a lot of jewelry when working with others?). Anyway, this one, I’m pleased to say, fits perfectly.

Maybe someday I’ll learn how to cast metal and start wearing something that more closely resembles a traditional wedding set. But for now, I love the comfort and malleability of these rings. Stylistically, they complement my other jewelry perfectly; I love their slightly oversized proportions, which make my thicker-than-average fingers look relatively slim; and they remind me that I am married to a wonderful man who celebrates my ability to discover new skills (and fix them myself when they need repair).

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 3:47 pm

    Beautiful rings! And you’ve lost a lot of them – man! My original wedding ring is in a safe deposit box. I was really sick for awhile and gained to much weight to wear it. So I have simple silver band I’m wearing until I can manage to lose the weight again 🙂

  2. April 1, 2011 2:22 am

    Love this story, Shea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. April 19, 2011 8:16 am

    “…that band was promptly lost forever about 6 months later on his first day on the job as a professional editor (he was pitching hay for a children’s fitness event at his publisher’s house and it was raining ~ didn’t I tell you there was enough craziness for another blog?”

    LOL, I remember that day! Not that I was pitching hay – I always seemed to weasel out of those event preparations 🙂 But, what a way to start a new job. And perhaps an omen of the craziness to come.

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