A Jingle Bell “Rock”


Black Friday and Cyber Monday has come and gone, leaving me wondering how many diamonds were sold over the weekend.

I’m not much of a jewelry wearer. When Fiance and I, in the days before he was known as Fiance, would bandy about the idea of getting married, I suggested that an engagement surround sound system or engagement down-payment-on-a-new-car might be more appropriate and appreciated than an engagement ring.

Being a sweatpants and t-shirt kind of girl makes me very low maintenance in many respects, but I think this certainly made ring shopping challenging for Fiance. And to his credit, he found exactly what would suit me best. Rather than look for something with the most sparkle, he looked for something with the best story.

His search for unique wedding rings turned up an interesting find on the art of Japanese metal fusion, Mokume Gane. This technique allowed swordmakers in the 17th century to create blades that were extremely durable and highly decorative. Fast forward to today, where metalsmiths use the process to make something still pretty cool but less likely to inflict bodily harm on others.

Not only did Fiance find a ring that spoke to my inner samurai, he found the perfect person to create it. On our seventh anniversary of the day we started dating, Fiance took me to meet Andrew Nyce of Andrew Nyce Designs, a scientist turned jewelry-maker that coincidentally also held the honorable title of research fellow for our alma mater, Penn State. Andrew’s studio and store front both were located in his basement in Portland, Maine.

Clearly excited about his craft, Andrew animatedly discussed the physics of his hydraulic press; I politely informed him that I had been a Communications major, and Fiance held a degree in Recreation; and therefore, the conversation was very well over our heads.  He shared some examples of mokume gane and damascus steel rings he had been working on, but had no inventory on hand to choose from as each ring is custom created for its future owner.

Unique? One of a kind? Made by another Penn Stater? I don’t think Fiance had any doubts that I would change my mind about having an engagement ring after our trip to Portland, but what he probably didn’t foresee was putting in an order for our wedding bands that day as well.

He does seem a bit envious that I get to wear my ninja engagement ring every day and he has to wait until our wedding day to wear his.

Did you break engagement ring tradition and go with an engagement stereo? Or have you had your ring picked out since before you met your fiance? Share your stories here!

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