Banded Together

Jerry and I have always been creative people. I don't even think it's something we can help, not that we'd want to. It's the way we're wired. Last year Jerry came up with this cool logo for himself with his initials, "JL", only the font he created made it look like the J was a reverse of the L, and put them inside 2 circles. It's very cool. We started talking about it, and how it would look good on some rings, like the Wonder Twins. Then we seriously started thinking about it and decided it would be the design we'd use on our wedding bands, since that would be both of our initials. I even made some very chunky rings out of Sculpy, and we liked them. Next step was to find someone who could make them for us. I had taken a jewelry making class in college, so as anyone knows, that makes me an expert. Well, at least I know what kind of time would be involved and how much skill (honestly, if I could crank out 2 rings out of Sculpy in an hour, it isn't that difficult a design). Someone I went to high school with who is on FaceBook has a jewelry store, and so several emails later he assured me he could make rings. Of course, when I called the store to schedule a time to go in and see him, his business partner told me he couldn't do any of that kind of stuff - he could just order premade things and set some stones for me. Okay, checked that crazy person off my list. Did he think I wouldn't find out? Found all the jewelrs nearby, made phone calls and found out who did custom stuff and who didn't. Please note, when you use the word custom, just like the word wedding, it's code for expensive! Then one Friday Jerry and I were out in the "big city" and decided to go to a jeweler and see what they could do, get a rough estimate of prices, etc. So, we walk into the store and the owner comes out and we talk about what we want. I think I visibly see his face fall when we say we want sterling and not gold. Then we describe the rings we want, even draw it out (look, I've got an art degree. I think I can draw a circle with a couple of letters in it). He looks at it, and we describe how we'd like the disc on top of the band. He, of course, has a much better idea. Why don't we have 2 interlocking circles, and he proceeds to draw it out. It represents eternity, you know, giving us a look like a toddler who's just made poopy in the potty because he's just come up with something we were too stupid to think of. We tell him we don't want an engraved circle, we want an actual circle (again). Then he takes us around to look at bands, and we try some on. Since Jerry and I both own chunks of silver, I ask if it would save us money if we used our own silver. He said it would be cheaper to just buy a band for $50 each. Really?!? I know that the wax molds they use for bands are very easy to carve and wouldn't be all that involved. Jerry spots some cufflinks that look exactly like the disc we'd want on top of the ring and shows it to the jeweler. I think I see the dimness of his inner light bulb going off. "Can't you just engrave our initials in the center and solder it onto a band? Wouldn't that be pretty simple? How much would that cost?" I'm full of questions. The first thing he says is, "I thought you didn't want it engraved." No, we don't want the circle engraved. Maybe that light bulb I thought I saw turn on was just some gas from lunch. He does the math in his head. "With the discs and all the work and soldering, we could probably do it for as little as $100 to $150 a ring, plus the cost of the bands." Of course, he'd have to get the final cost from his son, a master craftsman with no real training, just something he took up when he was a kid sitting in the jewelry store all those hours. He brings out a carving like the proud pappa he is, showing us how skilled his son is. I start to wonder how old his kid is from the quality of his work, maybe 12? Oh, his son has far surpassed the store owner's father, who spent 50 years as a master jeweler, he tells us. Really? Since we've been planning this wedding, I think I've mastered the nonplussed look when it comes to the outrageous prices we've been quoted. I don't bat an eye, and Jerry keeps cool, as always. They do a little talking about civic clubs in the area, then we thank him and go on our merry way. When we get to the car we discuss his prices. Then we laugh. I just know if we can find some local artisan, they'd work with us, use our silver, sit down with us about the design, be reasonable. After our fun weekend was over, I get online to look for someone local - no luck. Dammit! Okay, maybe that guy's prices weren't that outrageous. Let me look on and see what's out there. I type in "custom sterling silver ring", knowing as I type the word custom I'm in for it. Then I see her - her stuff is neat. All of the money she makes on this site goes towards rescuing animals. She even has rings with discs on top. Apparently they're used to glue on stones. And her husband does engraving. Even if he can't do our design, I think we can find an engraving store (there's one in the mall) that can. So, what's the price for these perfect rings? $14.50 each. That's right, $29 for both rings, plus shipping of $3 each for a grand total of $35. Golly, that's less than one plain band that jeweler wanted to sell us. And in the end if the engraving still isn't what we want, well then I'll just make a couple of Sculpy stones and glue them on. Wonder Twin powers, activate!!

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