Something Borrowed, Something Roo: The Rings

So Roo‘s been a busy bee for the past few months. Not only has she been planning her wedding but she’s been up to her cute little eyeballs (can eyeballs be cute? I think hers can!) studying for Uni exams and turning in coursework. So she’s had a little break from writing for the blog recently but I’m pleased to report that she’s back! And as she’s now on her summer break, wedding planning is ramping up full throttle as will be the blog posts. HURRAH.

Over to you sweet cheeks…

Oh yeah this photo of her and Lamb in the sea has nothing to do with the article but I stole it from her facebook because it’s ace

One thing that’s struck me as quite unexpected since getting engaged was the dismay I felt at choosing a wedding ring. Despite owning and wearing quite a bit of costume jewellery, I’ve never really worn anything expensive or precious before, and the notion of having to choose and buy something that I would wear for the rest of my life was daunting, to say the least. Couple someone like me – indecisive, picky, a bit scatty – with someone like Lamb, who’d never even worn any kind of ring before; we were quite the pair. Over the past six months we’ve gone on a few meanders around Brighton’s South Lanes (home to dozens of jewellers) and tentatively looked at the window displays, pricing up metals, shapes, and stones. I tried to explain that the best thing to do was to go in and enquire first about ring sizing services (since Lamb doesn’t know his size) and ask to maybe try on a few and see what suited and fitted. Lamb’s primary concern was that of the ‘hard sell’; that even after we stipulated to a shop assistant that we were only trying, not buying, we’d be expected to make some kind of purchase. Having next to no experience with jewellers, I couldn’t correct him nor agree with him. As silly as it sounds, it was actually a little bit scary.

Besides our shyness, there was also a matter of taste. I for one am all about statement over status – that is, that I’m not so keen on ‘bling’ or expense, I’d much rather have something unusual. This idea was further cemented during a conversation last September with Feather Love’s Noa, when I commented on how gorgeous her wedding ring is. She told me that it cost something like $20 from a market (correct me if I’m wrong Noa), and that when she saw it she just knew it was “the one”. I hoped and expected that the story of my wedding ring was going to be the same.

My engagement ring, vintage from A Second Time. Photo taken the morning after we got engaged on June 22nd, 2011, in Berlin.

This was, after all, how I’d felt about my engagement ring. The moment that I saw it on my finger I knew no other ring could have been mine. My engagement ring was relatively inexpensive, but in my mind I’ve never seen a more precious and priceless ring in comparison. Ergo, it didn’t ever cross my mind that our wedding rings should cost a fortune – I just wanted them to be ours. Besides, it’s not like we have a fortune to hand anyway…

I’m sure you’ll all remember our wedding venue woes, and our anticipation at finding The Florrie (aka The Florence Institute). At the time of writing the last post, the building was in the final throes of redevelopment, and we hadn’t even been to look around yet. A few weeks later, Lamb and I made the journey up to Liverpool to view it with our parents, and it couldn’t be more stunning. In its former glory days, Lamb’s dad used to box there as a kid, and my dad even held his 21st birthday there:

I can’t even wear heels that excessive.

This meant that both our dads were reminiscing throughout our entire visit – talking about smells, sounds and faces they remembered from their childhoods. We were so happy to find a venue that was both perfect for us and rich in meaning to both sides of our families.

Fast forward a couple of months later, and my parents came down to visit us here in Brighton for a couple of days. We were told that they were hoping to wrap up a few loose wedding ends, so we were prepared for a full-on, militant visit that involved a lot of heavy planning. As we sat in a beer garden on the first afternoon, enjoying the sunshine, my dad asked us what we were planning on doing for our wedding rings. We admitted that we didn’t quite know yet. Then my dad offered us the most precious gift we could ask for on our wedding day.

He told us that, sitting in a box in his room, were two rings. One belonged to my late grandfather. The other was given to my dad on his 21st birthday. Both are gold, he told us, and he wanted to offer them to us so that we might sell them on or melt them down to provide for our own wedding rings.

Whilst my eyes welled up, my ears pricked up. His 21st ring? This was too perfect. I jumped at the chance to stake a claim on it, and insisted that I’d get it melted down and made into my own ring. Lamb, on the other hand, is more likely to sell my granddad’s ring and use the money to buy his own – that being because he has his heart set on white gold, rather than yellow. Seriously though, isn’t that the most incredible gift you could ever be given for your wedding? I don’t know if he considered the deeper meaning behind offering his own 21st ring (given that we’re getting married in the place where he had his 21st) but even if he didn’t, the coincidence is amazing.

I hope our wedding buffet doesn’t leave so much to be desired.

I never had a doubt in my mind that our wedding rings would be special, because they’ll be our wedding rings, after all. But to know that my ring will forever connect me to the two most important men in my life leaves me feeling beyond blessed. I can’t wait to share the story with anyone who stumbles into asking me about my wedding ring!

Does your ring have a special story behind it? Have you had more than one ring? Have you – dare I ask – ‘gone off’ it at all? Or did you and your partner choose not to exchange rings? I’m all ear(ring)s!

16 comments

  1. Roo I feel your pain about the rings! My husband and I also wanted something unusual, and NOT the typical cheesy band for an extortionate price! We didn’t even bother looking in shops as we knew we wouldn’t find anything particularly unusual, so designed our own – white gold square ones! The only problem was finding an independent jeweller who would agree to make a square ring, and also agree to make my 4mm instead of the usual girly 2mm! (my fingers aren’t petite so why would my ring be!?) Eventually found a fabulous jeweller in Glasgow who herself had a square wedding ring so she agreed to do it for us, with some hebrew poetry inscribed round the inside & outside as well. We were delighted, and we LOVE our wedding rings now! it was one of the biggest expenses of the whole process (not saying much because our wedding was DIY) which I sometimes question my judgement on, all these years later, but at the same time they are to be worn forever and it looks smashing alonside my engagement ring, is super comfy and gets lots of comments. All the best with finding yours, but I would really reccommend designing your own & finding someone to make it for you! xx

  2. Goolia

    If Lamb’s only objection to the yellow gold ring is the colour, he could have it dipped in rhodium, which would make it look like white gold (in fact, white gold is usually rhodium-plated). It’s relatively inexpensive to have done.

  3. Charlotte

    YEY Roo – you’re back!! Hope exams/coursework all went well – looking forward to lots more posts over the summer *woohoo*

    Love the story behind your rings – such a beautiful gesture from you dad :-) X

  4. Katie

    Hi Roo, what a lovely gesture from your dad. At Christmas my grandad gave us my grandma’s old wedding rings which we decided to sell to split the money between the cousins. I used my share to buy the watch I used to propose to my fiance, which my grandad was really happy with.
    Now we’re ring shopping and can’t find anything as special, so we’ve decided to make our own. There’s a workshop in Edinburgh – a town that’s special to my o/h and I anyway – where you can rock up and they’ll help you make each others. I’m really looking forward to making the rings that’ll be our commitment to each other: much more special than shop bought. If you’ve got gold to make down, maybe it’s something you could consider.

  5. I’m also had a bit of a ring dilemma! I love my engagement ring so much – my fiance spent months watching the antiques road show (guilty pleasure) with me sussing out what I liked. He then went off and found the perfect 1920s sapphire ring – PERFECT. But its rectangular and normal wedding rings don’t fit with it, so our lovely jeweler friend (@katie – the same one who runs the workshop where you can make your own in Edinburgh – you’ll have a great time!) is going to make ours so that mine fits with my ring and my fiance gets something lovely his friend made too. Plus I’m keen on roping in all my talented friends – what are friends for?!?

  6. Leez

    My engagement ring I got from my great-aunt, who inherited it from her aunt, so I am the fourth generation in my family to wear this ring – that is pretty special. We just had the ring resized to fit my finger, but kept the style as is

    For my wedding band, I am using my great-grandmother’s engagement ring, but have had to have it reset totally, because the style and and size didn’t match my engagement ring.

    For me it is so nice, not only to have an rings that have been part of my family for so many generations, but I’m also carrying a little bit of all these women with me :-) a little cheesy, but I like it

  7. Jane

    I got a bit over whelmed when it came to choosing my wedding ring, the fact that this is the physical symbol of our marriage (and partly our love) really got to me. Luckily we have a local jeweller who is really friendly and helpful.
    My other half went to them to design my engagement ring, its unique and quiet striking with triangular purple tanzanite stones. I wanted to get a wedding ring that would work with my engagement ring but was unusual and could be worn on its own.
    After two visits we both picked rings we liked and placed the order. I then had a horrible moment of realisation that it wasn’t the ring I wanted for the rest of my life! I called them the next day and luckily they hadn’t placed the order yet and they were really nice about it.
    On my next visit I literally tried on every ring in the shop that could have been a wedding band, but I still couldn’t find anything I really wanted. The jeweller suggested getting a ring made and after I mentioned my love of Astronomy we came up with a simple design of five-point stars engraved around a plan wedding band.
    I love my wedding ring and am really glad that I got something that reflected my personality and that’s a little bit different.
    I hope you find some inspiration for your ring design, its great to know that you have put a bit of your heart and soul into it xx

  8. Kelly

    I have a really large unique engagement ring which we found in an antique jewellery store about 7 years ago and put it aside until we were ready to get engaged 2 years ago, I really love it and couldn’t find a wedding ring to compliment it.

    After trying on about a million rings and doing a lot of sulking I decided not to have a wedding ring at all and instead we had my engagement ring engraved inside the band with a message special to us and I didn’t wear it again until our wedding day.

    I know my family were a bit shocked at first but it was definitely the right decision for us and Roo i’m so glad you have the opportunity to something really personal to you xxx

  9. RachyLou

    Roo, I can’t wait to see both rings in all their glory, what a lovely idea :)

    My husband and I decided to go for different metals too, it doesn’t always need to be matching. I always knew I’d have a Zoe & Morgan skull ring for my wedding ring as it was my ‘ultimate’ piece of jewellery on my (extensive) jewellery wishlist! I went for rose gold with white diamond eyes in the skull and my husband went for a white gold skull with wings. Not many people understand the skull business and we do have to explain it when people clock them but we love them and thats all that matters :) xo

  10. Jess

    My Nan unfortuneately passed away just as we decided to get engaged and it didn’t feel like the right time to announce as it was around Xmas time.
    We waited until valentines day and following this myself and other female relatives shared out some of her jewellery. I was permitted to have my great grandmothers engagement ring from Nans collection. It is beautiful but unfortunately beyond repair. After alot of searching, we found one in an almost identical 1930s design and I completely fell in love with it. So although I’m not wearing the original piece, it inspired my chosen ring and I feel like I’m wearing a part of my family who aren’t here anymore.

    Maybe I’ll be able to melt down the original into something else wearable but right now I can’t bear to change it.

  11. Dee

    I’m also going to be wearing my Great Grandmothers wedding ring when we get married in October, its a plain gold band and quite chunky, not so fashionable now. I did have to get it resized but there’s no way I would melt it down!

  12. Roo that is just perfect! And welcome back, we’ve missed you lady! When Luke and I decided to get married we knew we’d have a quick ceremony as my Mum was really sick at the time and we wanted to make sure she could be with us on the day. So, we bought a simple eternity ring as an engagement ring as I knew I’d inherit her yellow diamond ring in sadly, the not too distant future. As the yellow diamond is more of a traditional engagement ring shape I knew an eternity ring and wedding band was the way to go as they fit together perfectly. Its quite traditional and perhaps not what I would have chosen if circumstances were different (I always dreamed of trawling antiques markets!) but now that Mum’s sadly gone when I look down at the sunshiny stone on my hand I see her, alongside my wedding and engagement ring.

  13. Hen

    Roo, that is so lovely. I totally adore your engagement ring, too! We knew we wanted traditional plain yellow gold bands but when we saw prices decided to diy on the strength of my boy having done some silversmithing years ago. So we went to Hatton Gardens in London and bought D profile gold wire and solder and then traveled up to see his mum and dug out his old kit. We made the rings over two evenings: Shaping and soldering, then cleaning off the oxides over night, and filing & polishing the next day. I was terrified of the idea; found standing in his mum’s garden with a blowtorch in my hand, pricey blackened metal D shape in front of me and swearing my head off ‘damn damn it won’t melt what the f*** do I do…’ ah treasured memories! Obviously it worked perfectly well, we made two perfect rings, got all the sizing right and got quite a kick out of that! After the big event we’ll have them engraved and hallmarked. Though we diy’d due to lack of money more than for sentimental reasons I think it’s nice to make your own rings. Would recommend. Aaanyway, sorry this got so long. Enjoy the rest of your journey to the perfect rings, Roo. Great to have you contributing again, we’ve missed you. Hen xxx

  14. Just wondering if someone wanted to do an piece on the Rings. I have been scowering the internet for MONTHS trying to find the perfect rings…my engagement ring is quite expensive and traditional (platinum with diamond) but our wedding is going to be pretty RocknRoll so want something different.

    any ideas??

    Louise xo

  15. Jaime

    Your engagement ring is gorgeous! I have the same issues with rings, I’m not a particularly flash person but would love something pretty & vintage, currently I haven’t found anything I like though. Luckily we found out I was pregnant shortly after we got engaged which has distracted people from the subject of rings, I genuinely never realised how important a ring is to people before!

    I’m not too bothered though tbh, if I find something then great but if not then it’s no big deal. I would love to read a feature on rings though for ideas/help/advice! :-)

  16. Lucy

    This post really struck a chord with me – I am one of those jewellers in the Brighton South Lanes!
    I’m glad your story is a happy one, there could be nothing more perfect than being given rings which mean so much to you. I’m afraid to say I do completely understand about Lamb’s concerns, and it saddens me that they are somewhat justified. A lot of the old-school jewellers in the Lanes (trust me I know them all!) quite frankly can’t be bothered to deal with wedding ring customers, and therefore do give the hard-sell and put pressure on young couples, which I find abhorrent. I truly believe that shopping for wedding rings (and the engagement ring too for that matter) should be a wonderful, exciting, memorable experience – regardless of whether you are gathering information or buying, and it’s the jeweller’s job to ensure that experience is a good one. This often involves putting the future groom at ease – in my experience guys are very uncomfortable with walking into a jewellers and discussing/trying on wedding rings!
    A good jeweller should also be able to help you design your own unique, perfect wedding ring if that’s something you desire, whether that’s from scratch or incorporating treasured family pieces. I’ve worked in two different jewellery shops in the Lanes which provided exactly this service – however this is not something you would find out unless you walked in and asked. I’ve certainly learnt from the comments that jewellers don’t advertise this service enough!
    I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter about what you decided to do with your bands. If yourself or anyone needs any jewellery advice, I’d love to help, I’m sure it’s obvious that I’m very passionate about this sort of thing as I’m typing this in my dressing gown on my day off! I would give you my current employers details but very excitingly I have plans to open my own jewellery shop in Brighton this year – then there will definitely be a jewellers that can help with all of these worries! My email address is in.the.sky@hotmail.co.uk (I hope posting that is OK with RockNRoll Bride!)
    Oh, and by the way, sorry to disagree with you Goolia but I would not recommend having a yellow gold band rhodium-plated to make it look white. Although it would work, the ring would only look white for about 1-3 months (depending on lifestyle) and then the rhodium would wear off, slowly, so it would look off-colour and a bit dirty until finally the yellow gold would be revealed. Also long term if you’re paying between £30-£40 a year to have it re-rhodiumed it’s a bit of a false economy.

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