This week, I’m sharing with you the loveliest story of a client’s thoughtful wedding band design, which we created using diamonds from her grandmother’s treasured wedding band. Read on to learn more about Katie’s grandparents’ sweet relationship, her inspired design process, and see the beautiful end result paired perfectly with her original engagement ring.
Meaghan: Katie, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I remember you visited us a while back with what you described as an heirloom diamond band. What was the significance of your original ring (the one we redesigned)?
Katie: The original ring was my grandmother’s engagement and wedding ring. My Grandma and Papa, Shirley and Lee, were a true love story; despite the fact they were not each other’s first marriages. They found each other when they already each had three grown children and created the large, blended family that we have today. Despite how long it took them to find each other, they always said that they saved each other. They are a perfect match, and you always felt immense love in their presence – for us and for each other.
In December 2019, we lost my Papa after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. In April 2020, Kyle and I got engaged; and a few months later, my Grandma gifted me the ring. I grew up spending summers with my grandparents, they drove my brother and me cross country many times and we had the best adventures together. You could always tell that they worked hard at their relationship and were just the best of friends. I then watched my Grandma give everything she had mentally, physically, and emotionally to care for him in the last years of his life. Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s is not for the faint of heart, and the devotion she showed to him – I will never forget it. It was inspiring; she is one of the strongest women I know. To have such a special piece of their life together is something I will treasure forever.
Meaghan: What a beautiful story. What inspired you to pursue a custom option for your wedding band?
Katie: When Grandma gave me her ring, I hadn’t yet purchased my wedding band. Kyle and I were hoping to get married on December 31, 2020 – and so I asked her right away if she would be okay with me redesigning it into my wedding band so I could wear it every day. I didn’t want it to just sit in a jewelry box; I wanted it to be a reminder every day of not only where I come from but of what I have to look forward to in my life with Kyle. She, of course, was thrilled and totally on board!
Meaghan: How did you decide we would be the best fit for your wedding band design?
Katie: Never having custom jewelry or a redesign done before, I relied on online reviews! I think I came across Alexandria & Co. on WeddingWire, which I was using to research some of our potential wedding vendors. You were the first jeweler I met with, and I figured, let’s just see how it goes and maybe I’ll meet with a few more and then decide. I also had no clue what I wanted the wedding band to look like, so I felt quite lost and didn’t know what to expect. The comfort and care I felt while meeting with you made me feel that I didn’t need to look any further. You made me feel like I was entrusting my family ring to a friend, and I knew you and Tim would create something beautiful for me.
Meaghan: That’s amazing, I had no idea I was your first meeting! I’m so glad you chose to do the design with us. I remember when we met, the main goal was to integrate the three heirloom diamonds into a new design that would coordinate with your engagement ring. We ended up doing a repeating pattern that would accent your ring and show the diamonds simultaneously and I thought it really worked out well. We then marked your heirloom stones under the ring so that you would know which stones were from your grandmother’s ring. Can you describe your design process in one (or a few) words?
Katie: Kyle would say it is hard for me to put anything into one word! Ha! I would say – consultative, educational, stress-free.
Poor Meaghan, I went in there with no clue what I wanted the outcome to look like! But she is so creative, and after taking some time to learn what I wanted in general and looking at my engagement ring for inspiration, she presented an idea that was just perfect. She explained to me that the diamonds were the only part of the original ring that would truly be able to be incorporated into my wedding band, and I was sad to hear that the metal of the ring might go unused. She helped me come up with ways to salvage the metal too – we ended up with a simple pinky ring that I can also wear every day.
The 3D renderings I received just a couple weeks later were so helpful to see Meaghan’s vision come to life – it would have been difficult not to have this part of the design process and I love that Alx&Co. includes it.
Meaghan: What went through your head when you first saw your completed wedding band?
Katie: Just pure joy! I feel so truly honored to be able to wear my Grandma’s diamonds and to know that my wedding band isn’t just something I picked out in a store. Kyle picked out my engagement ring on his own without my input, and it is the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen – and that is so special to me. And now, my wedding band is just as special. When I put them on together for the first time, you would think they were a set. Meaghan’s design was just perfect and Tim’s craftsmanship is beautiful. It’s a beautiful set that I can’t wait to wear. I was lucky to be able to see my Grandma in person recently and was able to show her the rings and she is so happy, too.
We postponed our wedding due to the pandemic from 2020 to December 2021. Not going to lie – sometimes I wear my wedding band for a day or two just to be able to look at it! But most of the time, it’s tucked away safely until the big day. But the bonus pinky ring we made from the metal; I already get to wear every day. And it’s a wonderful reminder of my Papa and his love for my Grandma.
Meaghan: I’m so glad we were able to reuse the ring for you, I’m sure it means so much to you. Do you have any suggestions or advice for others who might have family heirlooms at home and who are unsure of how to use them?
I honestly had no clue what to do with the ring – just meet with a jeweler (if you’re local, please meet with Meaghan!). Think of what kind of jewelry you wear every day – for me, I only wear earrings and rings every day. I’m not a bracelet person, and I wear necklaces sometimes but not always. Because of the timing for me, of course, the wedding band was an easy decision. Be open to their creative suggestions and trust the process. We could have made changes when I got the 3D renderings, so until I said “go” I knew my ring was safe and intact if it didn’t work out. Luckily, it all worked out perfectly for me and I am so grateful to Meaghan and Tim.
Thank you, Katie! We loved working with you on this beautiful project. We wish you the very best in your wedding planning for 2021!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.