Something I’ve discovered during our wedding-planning process is that both Sparky and I are very picky. OK, I take that back—I didn’t just discover it. I’ve known that for a long time.
One area where this pickiness really came out, however, is when we started searching for wedding bands. We looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find any that we both agreed on.
Sparky wanted something simple and plain, but I was hoping that he would go for something that was visually interesting. For me, I decided that I wanted a band that fit snugly against my engagement ring. I knew that this was going to prove difficult, being as my ring was custom to begin with.
I spent several months searching for rings for us and accumulated several possibilities but couldn’t find the ones that were “right.”
Since nothing we looked at fully pleased both of us, we decided that we would have our wedding bands custom made.
We decided to go with a local company called Green Lake Jewelry because we’d heard a lot of good things about them. We had thought about having my band made by the company that made my engagement ring, but when I realized that I would have to send it to Japan while the band was being made I nixed the idea. (Be without my lovely for a month or more? No thank you!)
When we arrived at Green Lake Jewelry, we sat down with a designer and presented the inspiration photos that most closely resembled what we were looking for (plus some sketches I had made during the process).
From there we were able to talk about the things we liked and the things we wanted to change. For me, while I loved the platinum and diamonds and the way that the waves overlapped, I was not a big fan of the milgrain. Sparky liked the wave and the width of the ring but did not like the finish (it was our opinion that it looked like tinfoil in person).
Our designer (Shelly) sketched out a design based on what we told her, and when we gave our approval she told us that she’d make some CAD drawings for us to approve as the next step.
I waited excitedly for the CAD drawings and they did not disappoint.
From there we approved the drawings and waited to see our wax casts. It was at this stage that we ran into some difficulty.
See, because my pesky/wonderful/beautiful/difficult engagement ring has the two side stones that jut out, we wanted to go with the wave design so the band would sit flush. Shelly measured the design but in the CAD drawing put all the segments at an equal size. While this appealed to my need for symmetry, it meant that the wave didn’t sit properly.
After the first failed wax fitting, she went back and altered the design so that it would fit properly. We re-measured and she approved the design and it went for wax modeling again.
It still wasn’t right.
What happened the second time was that when Shelly measured, she didn’t specify where the measurement started/ended. So when the model was made, the measurements were slightly off.
Almost but not quite
The next time, to ensure that the measurements were correct, I gave up my precious and left it with them so they could make exact and triple sure that the measurements were correct. The third time, when we got the wax model back, it was perfect. We approved the designs and away they went for casting.
In the weeks in between, I kept dreaming about what our rings would look like. I was so excited to see them. When we finally got the notification that they had come in, I was ecstatic.
Finished rings but still not final
Except that now Sparky’s ring was wrong. If you notice in the above CAD drawing the difference between the metals was outlined (which we opted to do without). Unfortunately, that didn’t get communicated to the caster, so the outline ended up on the actual ring. They assured us they could redo them—either by recasting or by attempting to polish and smooth it out.
My ring, on the other hand, was perfect. It fit snugly and I loved how the channel-set diamonds (three per segment) matched my engagement ring. I didn’t want to bring mine home without Sparky’s, so we left them both and crossed our fingers.
Finally, a little more than a week later, we got big news: our rings were right and they were ready! Then, to add more joy: my dress came in a month and a half early! And Sparky’s tux was back from alterations! It was a big wedding day.
I insisted on wearing my ring home “to make sure it fit.” Sparky teased me about it (though when we got home he wore his for a while, too). I absolutely love our rings and I can’t wait until we get to wear them every day (both because they are amazing AND for what they represent).
Everything I wanted in a ring (set)
For us, the custom process was totally worth it. We started it so early in case we ran into any problems (which we did). We are both really happy with our rings, and I highly recommend Green Lake Jewelry to anyone looking for custom jewelry. (You don’t have to be just in Seattle!)
What are you doing for your wedding bands? Did you luck out and find something that worked perfectly or did you go the custom route like we did?