Written by Equally Wed
Published: February 29, 2012
Wood You Marry Me: Wooden Wedding Bands for the One You LoveA jewelry designer in Hawaii creates stunning customized wooden rings, inlaid with the world’s most coveted diamonds.
If you had asked Paul McCarthy if he foresaw himself becoming a jewelry designer 20 years ago, he would have chuckled at the mere thought of it. But a horrific car accident took the certified gemologist’s fate onto a new path and he now couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
McCarthy creates striking pieces for his company, Sheldon Gate Jewelry
, based in Hanapepe, Hawaii. His bestselling Milano and Bling Ring series are particularly popular with the LGBT community for engagement and wedding rings, thanks to their handsome and customizable designs.
The polished pieces begin in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, at one of the most renowned diamond cutting houses in the world, owned by his close personal friend, the mustachioed master cutter himself, Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky.
The stones are meticulously hand-chosen for their clarity. Meanwhile, back in the States, the exotic woods used for the bands are selected on site and cured for several months before they’re milled into the ring specifications. Once the diamond and gold bezel seat are inlaid into the wood, the ring is covered with resin for added strength. Customers can pick and choose the stones and woods—eucalyptus with a striking sugilite stone, a Koa and African Black two-tone wood ring with a blue opal centered—the possibilities are seemingly endless and can be tailored to personal preference.
Maria and her fiancée Lori of Seattle, Wash., are one of many LGBT couples who have turned to McCarthy for their wedding day diamonds, selecting a tulip tree wood emblazoned with purple sugilite and diamond stones.
“We wanted to design our own rings that incorporated what we value in our life together—outdoor adventures and the love of nature and all things natural (the wood), our uniqueness and playfulness and the rareness of our bond (the stone), how precious we are to each other (the diamond), and the titanium represents the strength and unbreakable bond of our relationship,” Maria explains.
“It’s always an honor to be a part of someone’s vows,” says McCarthy. “It's a responsibility that we don't take lightly.”
With pricing starting at just $575 for the basic wooden ring, sans stone, and rarely exceeding $2,000, Sheldon Gate’s rings are an exquisite and affordable option.
McCarthy suggests ordering rings a month in advance to avoid any issues. To purchase a customized ring, he directs customers to the website to browse a virtual gallery of woods and stones that are available. Then prospective clients can call the store, where they will likely have the opportunity to speak to McCarthy directly, who walks them through the process in an extremely knowledgeable and friendly manner. In fact, the animated artisan may even chat with you about his own worldwide excursions. “We like to speak personally with each client so I can design the ring to your exact specifications,” he says. Once the order has been processed, rings are received within five weeks. They also offer a three week grace period for sizing, easily swapping them out for a different size, if needed.
“Paul was wonderful, open, welcoming and supportive. We feel as if we now have a new friend,” says Maria. “We thought we would be walking into a jewelry store to make a purchase from a gemologist and the in-store experience turned out to be a very important part of this once in a lifetime, significant event.”