Circle of Love Creating Your Own Wedding Rings
by Susan Hart Hellman contributing writer
Jennifer Spearel & Belinda Romero of San Diego work with WRW metalsmith Jay Whaley to craft their own ceremony bands.
What do wedding rings and rugby have in common? Nothing, you may be thinking! Ironically, there is a connection: Wedding Ring Workshop (WRW), where couples spend a romantic day creating each others’ personalized wedding rings. The concept for the original Wedding Ring Workshop, in London’s Hatton Garden, began as a challenge between two rugby team members. One recently engaged player asked fellow rugby enthusiast and Master Jeweler, Simon Lewis, to create his wedding rings. Simon jokingly suggested that his friend and his betrothed do the work themselves under Simon’s guidance. Challenge accepted, and Simon, in the business of creating fine jewelry for over 20 years, recognized an unfulfilled niche: facilitating the desire of couples to express
their love by personally crafting the rings they would soon exchange. The idea of the Wedding Ring Workshop quickly became a reality. Over the next few years, Simon’s Wedding Ring Workshop became so popular he decided to expand this unique experience, and with the aid of fellow Englishman and San Diego marketing firm owner, Lewis Barnes, he established Wedding Ring Workshop-USA. Soon, the first WRW-U.S. was open for business. Lewis says, “An apartment romantically decorated with a New Orleans-style wrought iron balcony, was found in the Hillcrest area of San Diego.” The business opened in October 2004 under the direction of Martin Kasper, a graduate metalworker and jeweler, and the first clients were Randall McNames and Victor Kazakevich of Del Mar, together 33 years.
When Martin moved to Chicago, Jay Whaley, metalsmith and 25-year veteran of the craft who had taught in Arizona, Hawaii, and at San Diego State University, took over the business. Jay was a WRW natural. “Wedding rings,” he says, “the most personal expression of love and commitment, are often bought, ready-made from a jewelry store, or possibly custom made by a jeweler. Wedding Ring Workshop, however, is something else entirely, and it is one of the most gratifying enterprises I have ever known.” Since then, Master Jewelers have signed on as licensees, offering the same service in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC, with Honolulu due shortly. ●● cont’d
Vol. 4 Issue 2 Summer/Autumn 2009 21