I am beyond excited to share an artist interview with you today! Beth Cyr creates unique organic metal jewelry and custom nature inspired wedding bands in 100% recycled gold and sterling. It is so refreshing to see engagement rings and wedding bands that aren’t manufactured by a large company, to know that the couples who wear them will be wearing something as one-of-a-kind as they are. Not to mention Beth’s designs are gorgeous! So kick back and read on to learn about her inspirations, process, and some fantastic ring shopping advice.
1) When did you start making engagement and wedding rings / what is your background in jewelry?
I took my first jewelry class while studying at the University of Georgia, though initially I planned on majoring in photography, I ended up graduating with a BFA in jewelry and metalworking! The move to making engagement and wedding rings was fairly gradual. A customer really liked the design of my tree bark rings and asked if I would make a set for her and her fiancé. I’d never actually considered making wedding rings before, so I was really honored, and it started from there. I created a custom order listing from the photos of her rings and as the orders increased, I started making new designs, different widths and metals until the wedding bands overtook my regular jewelry and became my full-time focus. That was about 4 – 5 years ago.
2) What inspires your designs?
That is an easy one! The vast majority of my designs are based in nature, particularly earthy type things like trees, leaves, rocks, flowers, etc. I also try to design with wear in mind, keeping things a bit more organic and planning for future wear and texture that will be added (or worn away). And since I don’t use molds for my designs, but make each wax individually, I try to come up with designs that can be easily made over and over with only slight variation – making them similar enough to the photos, but different enough so each person will be getting a unique ring made just for them.
3) What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Though it used to be my least favorite, I do love working with yellow gold. I don’t wear a lot of it and customers don’t either! But it is really so much fun to work with – more malleable and kind of buttery and a little more forgiving.
4) What is your dream project?
I haven’t really given it much thought before. In the realm of wedding ring making, being given a theme and full artistic license with 6 months to a year to finish it and an unlimited budget…that would be a dream project!
5) Any advice for couples shopping for rings?
I love giving advice! If looking online, read as much as you can either about a ring or a seller. Don’t simply compare based on price or photos. Decide what is important for you.
Some things to think about:
- Does it matter to you that the seller uses recycled metals?
- Is it fabricated or cast? Is a casting an original wax or just a design produced from a casting company?
- What metals work best for you? Price, lifestyle, etc.
- Are you buying rings for now with the intention of replacing them on a 10th or 15th anniversary, or do you plan on wearing them forever?
- Is a prong setting really the right setting for your active lifestyle? (I would say no, I hate prong settings!)
- Do you want a ring that needs to be maintained or do you want something you can wear and forget about?
- How easily can the ring be resized?
- Are samples an option?
- Do you need matching rings or would it be enough to be the same metal and different designs or different designs in the same metal, or maybe just completely different? If one person works in an office and the other is a white water rafting guide, the same design might not make sense.
- Shop around and search for a lot of different designs, you may just stumble upon something totally different that is just perfect for you.
One last tidbit (though if you’re reading this, you’re probably already thinking in a different way) – think twice before buying from some big jewelry store. Their prices are so largely inflated – the company makes a lot of money off of mass produced rings and goes towards fancy ads, overpriced ring boxes and all the overhead that goes into having a lot of stock and display. Buying from an independent jeweler may be more expensive, but the money goes to an individual who has bills to pay and is most likely doing something they really love. Buying a wedding ring from someone who puts love in to it has a much nicer feel than buying from some big company and having no idea where it really came from. And look for someone local – just because an artist/jeweler doesn’t have a store front doesn’t mean they won’t be able to meet with you and show you work in person.
All photos courtesty of Beth Cyr Jewelry / Head on over to Beth’s wedding shop on Etsy