With This Ring, I Send a Message
Jewelry designer Rony Tennenbaum chats with us about his LGBT engagement and wedding ring collections and commitment to marriage equality.
By Brittny Drye
Google “gay wedding bands” and you receive a list of rings designed with triangles and rainbows embellishments. While there is a time and place for these types of pride symbols, most couples desire something a little more sophisticated when it comes to expressing their commitment. Rony Tennenbaum, a New York City-based jewelry designer, realized this need for LGBT wedding jewelry and immediately made it his life purpose to give his community unique design options aimed with an equally unique message.
“I wanted to stay as far away from those types of defining symbols as possible, as I know my friends would never wear them on their wedding rings. I therefore created a more sophisticated, higher-end collection that would be timeless, trendy and feel cool,” Tennenbaum tells us. The result is seven different collections boasting symbols that have never been used before in wedding jewelry.
“I love designs that have sleek lines and form simple shapes that no one has thought of or attempted before,” he explains. And along with these never-before-seen designs are strong messages, as seen in his very first trademarked collection, LVOE FOREVER. “LVOE holds a very special place in my heart. Everyone sees the letters and assume they read LOVE, which of course they do. The concept is ‘Love is love, no matter how you spell it’, and naturally, behind that thought is love is love no matter who the two people are.” This statement collection is made in 14K gold with exquisite diamonds and highlighted with stunning bright enamel colors. “A simple design, yet no one has ever attempted to create,” he says. “And best of all, the first of its kind was with the GLBT community in mind.” He also has created options with “love” spelled in Hebrew characters, and is currently developing ones in French, Spanish and Greek.
“What I love about designing for my peers is the thought I am endorsing what I believe to be a human right. Everyone should be allowed to claim their love to whomever they want and granted equal benefits through marriage,” he says. “I love that designing for my community allows me to open creative doors and design looks in a jewelry industry that has been saturated for decades with boring styling. It’s exciting to me that my new and fresh take on rings are sought out by everyone, gay or straight, yet developed for LGBT couples!”
And the public is taking notice. His flagship store in New York City is currently celebrating its second year with sales stronger than ever. His collections are also being represented at jewelry stores in Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and he’s currently in talks with stores in other states amongst the Northeast, as well as Florida, and planning on a 2012 expansion to the Midwest, West Coast and Canada.
Tennenbaum hopes that, through his rings, he can be a part of as many same-sex weddings as possible. “I feel such a strong bond with people through my rings. They’re such an intimate part of a relationship,” he says. “It is powerful to think that I created something that a couple will symbolize as their bond.”
As we continue to fight for other states to pass the Marriage Equality bill, Tennenbaum encourages us to speak up, urging our legislators to pass the marriage equality bills. “Write and talk to lawmakers. Do not rest until you are granted the same human rights as any civilian in this country,” he says. In the meantime, he commends celebrating relationships through ceremonies and engagements. “I believe we will see more states follow suit in years to come. After all, love has no boundaries.”
Photo credit: Rony Tennenbaum
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