When I finally made peace with the realization that I actually wanted to marry my girlfriend, thoughts about the typical next steps made me cringe: backroom bargaining in the diamond district, endless visits to mall jewelry stores to try to learn about cuts and clarity, spending way too much money I'd rather spend on traveling or tools or meat. Fortunately, my nascent furniture-building hobby has accustomed my girlfriend to appreciating my lovingly flawed home creations, so I decided to go the same route with the ring. Googling "DIY wedding rings" immediately brought me to Sam Abbay and his one-man shop in New York's financial district.
Sam is a 33-year-old who's been building jewelry since high school and set up business as New York Wedding Ring here in the city a few years ago to teach people how to create their own engagement rings and wedding bands. Since I had wanted to keep this a surprise, I didn't ask Lisa much about what she had in mind, but I knew she liked antique and estate rings, so I searched for images of Art-Deco-era designs. When I found one I liked, I met with Sam to talk about the build and materials. He walked me through the various metals and their properties, and we settled on platinum. Then we turned to stones. Lisa had made it clear she didn't want a diamond and let slip that she liked sapphires, so Sam explained lab-grown versus mined (the former is lighter, just as beautiful, and about a sixth the price), and showed me samples of different sizes until we found one that was right for my design. Then we scheduled two days for the build -- the week between Christmas and New Year's, when I could lie and say I was at work.
Turn the page to see the finished ring.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.