Even though I managed to get Sylvia the engagement ring that she wanted, I hadn’t really considered what we’d do for the wedding bands themselves. I think the first mention of it when it originally came up was that we’d go back to Eve’s to see what options there were and see what ideas Eve herself had. Over the next month or so after having had that conversation though, Sylvia started to get a strange rash if she wore her ring for more than a few days at a time and she’d have to take it off for about a day so that everything would stop itching. This started to worry her in particular as we knew already that she has an allergy to nickel and it started to worry me because I knew when I’d picked up the ring originally that I was told that there wasn’t any nickel in it. We thankfully didn’t have to make any decisions that quickly, so we kept an eye on it and made notes so that when we did go in to talk to Eve, we’d have some ideas to run by her.

As a result of the potential allergy issue, Sylvia one day sent me a link to a site run out of Canada by an old hippie couple that crafts wooden rings. She’d been looking into alternate materials in case there was either nickel in her engagement ring or if she was just mildly allergic to palladium. I think she was looking into possible bone rings as well, but I don’t think she ever found anything that would work for her in that material. Looking into the wooden rings more and more, there was something really nice about the idea and I mean beyond the potential allergy issue. Getting married means so many different things to so many people and the idea of having a set of wedding bands made out of a grown as opposed to mined material sounded really nice. The price looked pretty good too, especially for something so customized. We talked about it quite a lot but ultimately decided that we really should go talk to Eve before committing to an alternate material.

A couple of weeks ago, we made time to head up to Evanston and sat down with Eve for about an hour to chat about the ring and band ideas/options. It turns out that the design of the ring itself is the cause of the issues that Sylvia was having and not the material. The ring has a open space below where the stone is set and apparently when you wash your hands, some of the soap can get caught up under there and cause the irritation that Sylvia was experiencing. It’s apparently common with rings like hers. It was nice to hear that because I didn’t like thinking that something I’d paid good money for wasn’t as advertised, especially since she does so much business with Sylvia’s parents. It also turns out that nickel used to be a common alloy material in the US, but it’s fallen out of favor in the last decade or so because nickel isn’t allowed as an alloy in European countries. With an eye toward globalization, more local jewelers are using alloys that don’t incorporate nickel. It was reassuring to hear that from her, especially since she’s from France and clearly had her finger on that pulse for quite some time. If I can remember correctly, she did say that nickel is still used in some gold rings, primarily 14k.

After hearing that and feeling a bit better about it, we started looking at what kind of options were available for bands themselves. I feel Sylvia had the more difficult decision as she had to see what a custom made mate to her engagement ring looked like, as well as an independent band, with the idea that she’d have the engagement ring resized to fit her right hand and wear it separately. I think she eventually narrowed it down to a really simple palladium band if it was going to be worn independently or the custom band to be worn with the engagement ring. For me, I eventually decided on a square palladium band with dents/forging to it that I liked. It’s funny now that I think about it; I have really strong opinions regarding meanings or materials or thoughts when it comes to things like the bands, but I just kind of know what I want for me when the options are laid out. I think that I spend so much time on my own thinking about it, that when it’s time to actually make a decision, it probably seems to everyone else that I don’t think about it at all. Anyway, once we’d gotten a good solid idea of what we liked, we took some notes home to mull over it a bit more.

It’s interesting about materials as well, because there are so many these days and they come in all kinds of price points and styles. I’ve seen carbon rings and they’re kind of cool except for the fact that they’re so hard, you can never get them resized. I guess there have been factory workers that have had fingers saved because they’re that strong. I also used to like the idea of white gold until I discovered that you have to have them re-plated every decade or so as they lose their shine. I think that was why I ended up liking palladium so much; it’s that similar quality of shine, but it’s more durable and cheaper than gold or platinum and doesn’t require that maintenance. Thinking about why I like wood so much even though you’d probably have to have one replaced every so often, I’m less averse to buying a new wooden ring in 10 years time as opposed to getting a gold one re-plated. Re-plating a ring sounds kind of impersonal compared to the idea that a wooden ring sounds like it practically has to be grown to be a ring. And yes, I know that sounds silly, especially since most wooden rings tend to be made from scraps too small to use for any other purpose or fallen trees.

Within in a day or so, Sylvia and I came to a consensus that we liked the options that Eve had and were interested in going that route, but Sylvia went back and forth over a nesting or independent band for a couple of days. Eventually she decided that she wanted to have the custom band made to fit with her engagement ring. Interestingly she also liked the idea of having a wooden ring as well, but nothing fancy like she’d seen before; something really plain and basic so that on the days that she might be irritated by the metal bands, she at least had something to fall back on that wouldn’t irritate her skin. I really liked that idea and I think I might try and follow her lead even if I don’t have an excuse to, but I’m a bit of a follower sometimes. I think I might wait till after the wedding itself and I have a chance to really wear the band and get used to it before I consider having a backup wooden one.

Now that we have that figured out, we just have to bring Sylvia’s engagement ring up so that it can be used as the template for the testing band that that’ll be one more thing down on the way to getting hitched. Looking at the wedding calendar on the fridge, it looks like March is a slower month for us, with some exceptions like hair/makeup and the florist. I think Sylvia’s nearly got those taken care of, but I can’t be certain as I’m not really involved in either quarter.


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