Handmade nontraditional wedding rings by lolide defy gender norms
Buying a wedding ring doesn’t mean you have to compromise your values or submit to the gender binary.” This is the driving philosophy behind every one of artist Lori Linkous Devine’s nontraditional wedding rings. For the last eight years, Lori has been offering nontraditional wedding jewelry through lolide.com to help her customers celebrate their unions. Her dedication to inclusivity and defying gender norms has been a driving force of lolide since its inception.
“I’ve made unisex rings from day one, starting with my own wedding ring and motivated by my personal experience struggling with the gender binary and never fitting into either box,” Lori explains. “Inclusivity, visibility and respect for all forms of nontraditional weddings—however you choose to define the term—are driving concepts behind my work.”
Lori’s firm belief that each partner should purchase the type of ring that they want—if they want—is one of the things that sets her apart from other sellers in a crowded field. “We’re all painfully familiar with our culture’s lingering, antiquated formula for buying wedding jewelry: she gets a big rock, he gets a plain band, everybody moves on.” Lori believes it doesn’t have to be that way. “I think it’s time to throw out the binary, sexist assumptions that go along with the traditional approach. My goal is to help my customers express themselves with rings that reflect their personal style—and their special bond—in a way that they’ll be proud to wear every single day.”
Lori’s enthusiasm is evident when she discusses the ways her work can help loosen the constraints that often go hand-in-hand with the sexism and exclusivity that are paramount in the current wedding industry. She focuses on the form of each piece first—shape, weight and balance—in order to offer silhouettes that suit an array of needs: from delicate to sturdy, simple to elaborate. With most designs her customers then have the option to customize their choice of metals, stones and finishes to meet their exact specifications. The result is an almost endless array of modern, elegant engagement and wedding rings that work in countless combinations.
“I love getting to know the personalities of my customers as I work on their orders—and I feel privileged when someone tells me that my work speaks to them, or that my rings are just what they were searching for,” Lori says. “It doesn’t always have to be complicated. I worked with a woman who viewed herself as feminine while not at all feeling connected to traditional definitions of femininity. She loved sparkles but was also edgy and badass and had always disliked the connotations of wearing a traditional diamond ring. I offered her a band that featured mixed metals, rivets and small inset sapphires. She was so happy to be able to ‘have it all’ in one ring, and to easily find a complementary piece for her partner as well.”
Lori is quick to dispel the notion that purchasing from an independent business that focuses on inclusivity and nontraditional expression means sacrificing high-quality work or stunningly original designs. Quality and originality are hallmarks of her work. Every item is handmade by her in her studio in Seattle. “I take quality very seriously. The tiniest imperfection will catch my eye and it has to meet my exacting standards before it leaves my shop.” This attention to detail extends beyond the studio and into her customer service ethos. One of her customers was moved to write, “Lori did an absolute exceptional job creating the bands for our wedding. When we hit a hiccup, she responded without a moment’s hesitation to find a solution and make us beyond happy with our rings. I truly cannot speak highly enough of the experience and the jewelry!”
When asked for some of her favorite examples of her gender neutral, unisex or nonbinary rings, Lori chose the gender fusion, the gold-lined faceted band and the square lunar eclipse though she was quick to point out that it was hard to pick just a few, and emphasized that there are still many new designs she’ll be releasing over the next few months.
“Inclusivity, visibility and respect for all forms of nontraditional weddings—however you choose to define the term—are driving concepts behind my work.”
Lori adds, “I also really want to be clear that I think all gender identities should be equally valued. If you love lots of sparkle and a big rock, own it; if you just want a plain, simple flat band, wear it with pride. I feel honored to make that ring for you, too! I just noticed a lack of options for those who don’t feel drawn to offerings at either end of that spectrum, and I want to provide them with more choices. It’s not about fitting in or proving anything. It’s about feeling good in your own skin.”
Customers who are looking for jewelry with a conscience will be happy to know that each piece of Lolide jewelry is made from components sourced in the United States and crafted by hand in Seattle. “The wedding marketplace is full of pretty things with ugly origins,” Lori says. “When I started making people’s wedding rings, I was adamant that my pieces would not only be elegant and modern, but would have a backstory that my customers could be proud of.” Conflict-free stones, recycled materials and non-toxic fabrication processes are just some of the ways that Lori ensures her customers can wear jewelry that is above reproach. You can learn more about this ethos here.
Lori’s strong DIY ethic means not only designing and creating each piece herself but she is also involved in every single aspect of the business. “Though I do have some lovely folks I reach out to for occasional help and advice—like social media posting—for the most part it’s a one-woman show—from communication with customers and design and fabrication to product photography, website design, shipping and order fulfillment—and of course, my favorite part: actually making your ring.”
If you’re looking for top-quality nontraditional wedding jewelry for your special day, check out lolide.com. Lori Linkous Devine can work with you to ensure the set you choose is the perfect reflection of your unique style and partnership.
This post is sponsored by Lolide, a preferred Equally Wed vendor. Equally Wed only works with equality-minded companies. If you’re interested in sponsoring a post and getting your inclusive business in front of the LGBTQ+ community, get in touch at advertising (at) equallywed (dot) com.