Knock on Wood
By Mirielle Cailles - CTW Features | posted on September 14, 2011 at 2:35pm
Wooden wedding bands offer an eco-friendly option to the traditional metal without sacrificing style or significance
Joelle Novey’s interest in eco-friendly wedding jewelry was a product of her job. As a writer for Green America, an environmental nonprofit in Washington D.C., the Silver Spring, Md., resident had completed a lot of research about how the consequences of purchasing decisions, specifically gold, effect Africa. So when it came to choosing her and her husband’s wedding jewelry, the decision was simple: a wooden wedding band was the way to go. Novey and her husband, Ethan Merlin, who married last August, purchased their wooden wedding bands from Touch Wood Rings, an online jewelry retailer based out of Ontario, Canada. “[Wooden rings] just seem so much warmer,” Novey says. “There was something very wholesome, unique and natural about them.”
Touch Wood Rings is one of only a few jewelry artisans to create wooden wedding bands. And while these bands do offer an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional metal band, Touch Wood’s Nicola Finch says their clients are looking for more than just a substitute. “Very often they tell us they have always had an ‘idea’ of wanting a ring that was made of wood and are delighted to find someone who will work with them to crystallize their vision,” Finch says. “The people we work with are not ‘purchasing a ring.’ They are commissioning a very personal piece of wearable art.”
Finch’s husband, David, is the artisan behind Touch Wood Rings and can complete a ring in anywhere from 5 months to a year. The bands, which start at around $360 for a simple band, are designed using different salvaged and ancient woods. Novey and Merlin chose grenadilla wood for their bands, which is a scrap wood from a clarinet maker. Another option is Bethlehem olive wood from trees that have been bearing fruits since biblical times. In many instances, clients will mail in woods with a specific meaning to them, like wood from a tree in their own backyard. One couple salvaged bamboo from the landscape waste area of their local recycling yard.
“Folks enjoy choosing woods that have special meaning to them,” Finch says. “Many people select woods that they have an emotional or sentimental attachment to. Some choose to have a crushed stone or shell inlay – that’s another option.”
For Lindsay and Nick Scacco of Honolulu, wooden rings fit in line with their lifestyle. “The use of recycled woods really spoke to our hearts and how we live our lives,” Lindsay says. She chose a Hawaiian koa wood with a maple band for her ring.
Because the technique and process of crafting a wood ring is relatively new – Touch Wood Rings began their business 10 years ago – the question of its longevity compared to a metal ring is unknown. However, following the care recommendations provided by artisans is the best way of ensuring a ring’s durability. “If our recommendations for caring for your rings are followed, it will last a very long time and can be touched up, refinished and, if damage occurs, can usually be repaired,” Finch says. “We recommend that you do not expose your ring to personal care products, perfumes or colognes, cleaning products, anti-bacterial hand cleaners – anything that would harm the finish on your wooden coffee table or your guitar should be avoided with your ring.”
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Image courtesy Touch Wood Rings