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Reminders of the Loves of My Life

We shared the story of this client's first project in 2020; she came into the shop last year to create a new ring & wanted to update her story to include our newest project.

I have always preferred the company of animals to people; kindness, gentleness, companionship, and no judgment. In the fall of my senior year of college, I was struggling. So, I got myself a tiny companion: a kitten name Maggie. Obviously, this was not allowed, but somehow, I managed to keep her hidden in my dorm room as I typed away on my computer with its fan blowing hot air onto her belly as she sprawled out behind it like a lizard under a heat lamp. I was indebted to her for being my confidant, my keeper of secrets, and an amazing friend. We finished the semester and left, driving home up and around the 495 beltway with her riding proudly in her carrier. What can I say? She loved rides.

 We were together through breakups, new jobs, roommates, and deaths in the family -- the entire roller coaster of life. Then my boyfriend -- eventually fiancé – and husband joined us. She loved him immediately. On our wedding day, my husband gifted me a bracelet that Stacey had designed -- a hydrangea bracelet, my favorite flower – to wear as my “something new.” It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He was eager to show me where it had come from, and we discovered that Stacey reclaims meaningful heirloom jewelry and gives you the gift of redesigning it into something you love. It is a treasure reclaimed and brought to life as something new. We are very environmentally conscious and love reusing, repurposing, and up-cycling, so we planned. When my paternal grandmother passed away, we purchased her engagement ring and wedding band from the estate with the intention of eventually making a tribute ring for my beloved kitty. I held on to those rings for more than five years, wondering what they might become.

A few years into our marriage, we got a dog named Sutter. He belonged to my parents but latched onto me so strongly that he stayed. He was brilliant and warm and intuitive, and very responsive to me. My husband jokes that the cat was the littlest love of my life, the dog is my best friend, and that he is OK being number three. We then acquired a second cat named Rose. She was my sister’s college cat, but lonely and came to live with us to be Maggie’s friend. Ultimately, Maggie lived with me for 17 years, just one month shy of her 18th birthday. After a few months had passed, we felt ready to move forward; we attended an open house at Stacey's studio in 2020. 

When we met with Stacey, I had done a little homework but needed a lot of guidance to bring this project to life. I did not want a ring that would dwarf or overshadow my understated engagement band. I also do not wear yellow gold and was skeptical of making anything that would not mesh well design-wise with my engagement and wedding bands (white and rose gold). Stacey was able to interpret what I was trying to say and in what direction to start the design process. While at the appointment, we also remarked offhandedly that we would probably be making a tribute ring for the dog in the future. I'm glad I made a comment at that moment because, in her infinite wisdom, Stacey explained that it is easier to carve or fully make both rings at the same time if they are to be complementary rather than trying to go back later and make a mate. So we went ahead and decided to have both rings made at the same time.

The large stone in each ring represents my cats’ or dogs' life here on Earth, and the smaller stone represents each of them in the night sky when they leave me. Maggie left me on June 23, 2019. Her ring has been on my finger since Stacey completed it and gave it to me. Sutter’s ring went on my finger when he passed away on January 22, 2022. Rose passed away on June 9, 2021, and her ring was harder to conceptualize. We started with a Hellebore shape (Lenton Rose), but I felt we needed to shift gears to something softer and more petite. We settled with a Primrose and used rose gold and peach diamonds that matched the color of her nose. This was a pinkie ring, and Stacey was upfront and practical about the design and structural challenges for that finger. She had ideas for how to keep the ring stabilized on my hand. 

My husband and I were both a bit nervous because we had worked with another custom jeweler previously, and the final project did not turn out the way we’d envisioned. Stacey accommodated us in every way possible. She had extra ideas at the ready when we came for appointments in the event that we had gone off track in design. We frequently communicated via email. We also feel that she was able to answer every single question we could have had regarding the timeline for creation, from her techniques that addressed my worries about losing a stone to basic concerns about the fit and wear. These three rings’ stones twinkle at me every once in a while when the sun hits them just right, a constant reminder that all of these departed loves of my life are OK. I put them on every morning with daily gratitude to remind me of all the love each of them brought to my life.

Ultimately, I could not be happier with my projects. Stacey's ability to listen and adjust her creative process to meet my needs as a customer is exactly the reason I ended up satisfied and grateful and the reason my husband and I put our trust in her with something that was this important to us. Working with Stacey to create these rings was healing for both of us. Stacey’s talent as an artist and knowledge base of her craft has given us three amazing rings that have a beautiful flow amongst themselves and fit my personal style.”

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