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Jeweler and Metalsmith Charmaine Vegas makes her and her husbands 18k gold wedding bands in her Long Beach jewelry studio
Me and my fiancé (now husband) recently married this past July.

We had a small ceremony at the Griffith Observatory and it was quite lovely.  Our day was captured by Long Beach based photographers Isaiah Ryan and Taylor Cathrine.  I was introduced to their work by my cousin and her fiancé; they used Isaiah and Taylor for their engagement photos. I loved the photos and promptly sent an emailed to hire them.

A month before our elopement, Brandon and I met with Isaiah and Taylor over coffee to talk about how we wanted our day to go.  I mentioned that I'd be making our wedding bands and they enthusiastically asked if I'd like for the process to be documented.  Um...Yes. Of course I do!

They came by my studio on a very hot summer day, a few weeks before Brandon and I were to say our nuptials.  We really didn't discus much of how the shoot would go, as they set up their equipment I put on my favorite Lofi station to set the mood, sat down at my bench and began to work.

Isaiah and Taylor have disarming energy; they are calm and easy and moved fluidly around me as worked on the rings.

18k gold sheet for wedding bands
charmaine of bless the theory making her wedding bands in her jewelry studio
Bless the Theory Studio Dog Miss MoneyPenny
Charmaine Vegas of Bless the Theory Making Her Wedding Bands_ Sawing 18k gold sheet in half
charmaine vegas of bless the theory annealing 18k gold sheet for wedding band
Charmaine Vegas Annealing 18k gold sheet
charmaine vegas of bless the theory forming 18k gold wedding ring on a anvil
charmaine vegas of bless the theory annealing partially formed 18k gold wedding band
the making of a 18k gold wedding band by charmaine vegas of bless the theory
charmaine vegas making a 18k gold wedding band in her Long Beach jewelry studio
solid 18k gold wedding bands handmade by charmaine vegas of bless the theory
I am in love with Brandon's wedding band and I'll tell you why.

Most times when you see a hammered texture on jewelry it is put there as decoration.  I originally wanted to give Brandon's wedding band a light scratch finish with some intentional mars, so that it would look "old world" - like something for the 17th century; and he wanted something beefy -  solid.

After I finished his ring and had him try it on for the 4th time, it turn to be a tad too small.  Dang.  So I went back into the studio to stretch it.  I size rings up by annealing (heating the metal to relax it), then lightly hammering it to stretch the metal; I repeat this process as needed.  Doing this leaves hammer marks on the ring which can be planished or sanded out latter.

Giving the thickness of Brandon's ring and the strength of 18k gold, it took over 10 tries to stretch his wedding band; I had to use my might in each blow.  Once I got the band to properly fit Brandon's finger, I sat back down at my bench and got ready to smooth out the hammer marks.  Holding the ring in my hand and figuring out which way to start, I was paused by the beautiful texture that the stretching process put on the surface.

Each of those hammer marks were of purpose and process and  I could not bring myself to smooth them out.  They remind(ed) me of the work that we, Brandon and me, have put in our relationship.  It just all seemed too fitting.  So I left them.  And every time I see that ring on his finger I smile and want to touch it.  I like to hold it in my hand and run my finger tips over the texture.  The weight of it reminds me of our life built and the texture remind me of the work we've done and are doing.

I simply love Brandons wedding band.  And so does he.  And that makes me proud to have made it.

charmaine and Brandon Griffith observatory elopement wedding bands

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