Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Engage! Part 1 - The Ring

Original Post Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The single most intimidating part of getting engaged is having to buy a ring. I'm a traditionalist in some regards, and thought if I ever did a proposal that I would want to do it the way I've seen it done in movies and TV. Of course this means you reveal the ring in some showy way, either in front of people or alone and romantical. It's also super surprising and the diamond blows the girls mind. However, I'm terrible at picking out jewelery, and I'm not big on being the center of attention unless I'm really drunk.

So as I'm starting to think about how I'm going to deal with the picking of a ring issue, my friend Meeka Stuart got engaged. She posted pictures of her ring online and wrote about how her dad, Donald Stuart, both designed and made it.

You can see his work and read about him here:

I liked the ring a lot. The ring didn't look like your traditional ring, but then I figured we weren't very traditional with anything else, so maybe Arlyn would be into that. I messaged Meeka and asked if her Dad did commissions, and she told me she would get me in contact with him.

I still wasn't sure this ring would play out... but then we met with Meeka in Toronto a couple months later and Arlyn saw her ring in person. She also liked it a lot and so I figured I was good to go. Just needed to save some cash.

Fast Forward almost TWO YEARS.

I started back and forth with Don Stuart a month or so before Arlyn's birthday in June. He sent me a questionnaire about what she would like in a ring, and sent some samples of other ring designs. It was a pretty easy process – easy in that I answered “I don't know” to most of it and decided I would have to let Arlyn into the process pretty early. I really had no idea what she would like. Arlyn and I are WAY to finicky about art and design, and sometimes completely disagree on what we like.

So on her birthday, June 14, I let her in on the plans, and showed her a couple of initial designs. I had a few things right, but for the most part I was WAY off in what I thought she would go for. After a few back and forth e-mails with Don, we settled on a mix of these two designs:

The one major change that Arlyn wanted from my initial designs was to go with a red ruby (my birthstone) rather than a diamond. The little dark triangle was something I opted for in the design – it was to be stone inlay from a pebble I grabbed from the beach in Tofino. Tofino is kind of our favorite place to chill out, and also where I want to grow old and wrinkly with her.

From those designs, Don sent us a couple wax moulds to try out for size and to make further design changes... This is the wax mould with a citron stone for size reference.

The waxes were the last thing I let her see before cutting her off. I sent them right back to Don, with the Tofino pebbles... 

...and within 2 weeks I received these pics...

This is the rough ring with our selected Tofino rocks and ruby. We left it up to Don to decide which rock would work best as an inlay once the rocks were polished.

This is the chunk of Tofino rock for the inlay.

Don covered the ring with masking tape when gluing (epoxy) in the stone, so that the epoxy does not smear all over. It' in tweezers in an electric fry pan (lined with foil) set at a low temperature to quicken the curing time of the epoxy. 

And the final ring, all put together....

And only a couple days after that, I had the ring in hand. It all happened REALLY fast. Faster than I expected, and I hadn't really been thinking much of how to reveal the ring. And I guess I still had to officially propose, though it's not like it would be a huge surprise or anything...

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