Correction: The print edition of this piece published a photo with the wrong caption. The caption described the photo as being "His and her personalized wedding bands from New York City-based designer Aurora Lopez Mejia, www.auroralopezmejia.com," when they were actually cuff bracelets.
Heart-warming keepsakes mark many of life’s most precious moments and occasions, such as births, anniversaries, graduations and of course, weddings. Often, they are given as objects of affection, tokens of ritual or spiritual mementos that serve as symbols of strength for the bonds shared between loved ones. Today, these emotional sentiments play a significant role in both traditional and nontraditional weddings as couples are opting to exchange more than just their vows on wedding day.
It has always been a time-honored tradition to pass on or hand down jewelry to commemorate important milestones in our own lives and those of our close friends and family. Heirlooms travel from generation to generation collecting history and sentiment throughout the years — which is why the simple act of personalizing these important pieces for a loved one means so much.
When you exchange a devout piece of jewelry with someone you deeply care about, you are, in essence, sharing a piece of your heart with them.
The sentiment attached to wedding rings as objects of affection is centuries-old and really one of the first rituals of adornment. And while exchanging wedding bands have indeed been a long-standing tradition as a symbol of love, trust and devotion between the bride and groom, more and more newlyweds seek to supplement their rings with personalized keepsakes that emphasize each other’s uniqueness and individuality.
“By personalizing [wedding bands], couples are sort of modernizing tradition and expressing their commitment by being involved in the process,” said local designer, Liseanne Frankfurt, owner of LFrank Jewelry (www.lfrankjewelry.com) on Abbot Kinney in Venice. “I think that couples have leaned towards more personalized choices as the world becomes a more chaotic place."
She also makes the point that personalized jewelry captures a special sentiment in today’s global economy, “where nearly everything is available to everyone, no matter where you are in the world,” she noted.
Many couples seem to be inspired by poetic and meaningful phrases and words in many languages, including Tibetan and Sanskrit, which according to New York City based designer and CEO of Me&Ro Jewelry (www.meandrojewelry.com), Robin Renzi, allow for one’s own interpretation in their personal meaning.
“Personal jewelry or jewelry that has an inscribed message is really about the individual who wears it,” she said. “The wearer, especially, gives power and personal meaning to a piece of jewelry through their own beliefs — as jewelry has an intimate nature since it’s close to our body and touches our skin.”
Renzi — who recently designed customized amulets for three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor — noted that personal expression and inspiration go hand-in-hand when choosing the right jewelry.
“The jewelry we choose to wear aligns us with our hopes and dreams: personal, professional, private or public — it is a very personal form of self expression and can be shared with whomever we choose,” she said.
The 18-karat gold, cold-forged amulets worn by Walsh and Jennings during the London Games were inscribed with the pair’s team mantra — “Breathe, Believe, Battle," which they have both come to embrace — reflecting on years of hard work and partnership. They also included nicknames for Walsh, “Six Feet of Sunshine,” and Jennings, “The Turtle.”
“I am so honored that Kerri and Misty feel a connection to my jewelry and to each other, and chose to wear it as they won their third Olympic gold medals and achieved their dream. That is a huge compliment!”
Putting an end to the trend
If you want to create something totally original, the toughest part might be pinpointing how you want the piece to look and what you want it to say.
Brides and grooms may pick similar pieces to symbolize togetherness, whereas others may purchase unique designs that match their personalities or culture.
“In engraving, I’ve observed that people are now going beyond the “facts,” meaning that in the past, initials or the wedding date used to be the most common requests for engraving. Lately, I’ve done snippets of poetry, intimate nicknames and frankly one or two that I couldn’t even decipher,” said Frankfurt.
And gone are the window-shopping days when couples choose to divide and conquer their hunt for the perfect piece.
“I’m seeing slightly less of the gentlemen client who comes in to surprise his bride to be, Frankfurt said. “Mostly, I’m seeing couples shopping together — and choosing the pieces together — whether it’s starting completely from scratch or with the idea to re-set a family stone.”
Brand Publishing Writer