So, I recently had a ring made for my girlfriend (for reasons, well, you know...why else would a guy get a ring made for his girlfriend?).
Now, someone as socially inept as myself, who had, previously, been painfully single and alone for more than a decade, normally has NO IDEA how to go about buying a ring, much less a custom designed ring. Particularly on the budget I normally deal with (despite my spending nearly $1K in Hawaii on import DVDs and video games). I kinda knew that I was going to need a ring for about...oh...nine months or so? I had been doing some covert intel gathering (like noting her ring size when I took one of hers in for repairs), and had been making inquiries locally about prices.
I don't know if maybe the various jewellers were trying to scare me off? Or maybe they just have an appetite for money that rivals only their egos? Either way, the lowest price quote I could get was for around $1000, which included the time it would take to design the ring (though they all wouldn't let me submit my own design...they would take my ideas and do their own version of how they interpret my description), and that was after two months of searching. I think the most expensive quoted around $3500.
Which is all well and good...I guess...
But they were all out of my meager budget.
When my sister came by to visit a few months ago, she suggested we browse around Portland's wonderful Saturday Market, to see if we could find a local artisan with the style (and price point) that would work. After some looking around, we ran across Barbara Covey, and I was immediately impressed with the quality of her work. Her designs weren't overly ornate or complex, and yet she had an eye for detail that I thought would suit my needs. After a quick inquiry and grabbing of a business card, I started that very evening to work on sketches for the ring I had envisioned.
Finally, about a week before my girlfriend and I were to fly to Hawaii for vacation (and so she could have the full experience that is my parents), I picked up the ring from Barbara at Saturday Market, and was BLOWN AWAY by the quality!! Seriously, absolutely AMAZING work!
So...to make a long story short, for about a third of what other places where quoting me, I was able to get my girlfriend a custom-design, sterling silver I-shall-not-mention-for-what-purpose ring, that looks totally awesome. Thanks, Barbara Covey!
...now, hopefully, my girlfriend will agree to my request, and I'll be able to order a new set of rings... maybe I'll design mine to look like Tom Baker's scarf? Hmmmmm...