Though wedding planning is steeped in tradition, two Grandview jewelry designers eliminate the stress of ring shopping by offering custom designs that break the rules and leave couples loving their symbolic selections.

Though wedding planning is steeped in tradition, two Grandview jewelry designers eliminate the stress of ring shopping by offering custom designs that break the rules and leave couples loving their symbolic selections.

William Weidinger, goldsmith and jewelry designer, has been in business for more than 40 years and is a long-recognized source for traditional jewelry. He has built a family business (he's married to a gemologist and works with his son) that boasts three workbenches and 24 showcases of collections best described as timeless, simple and elegant. Weidinger recognizes the gravity in selecting the symbol that best represents a couple's relationship, so he never rushes them. Instead, he invites couples to peruse his collections before considering custom designs, then recommends they go home and think about the options.

Wearability and comfort are important considerations for Weidinger, who's often told his rings "simply feel good." Working in recycled gold and platinum, refined and alloyed in Virginia, his inventory of gemstones is sourced globally. Loving a design challenge, he begins with rough sketches, provided by the couple or himself, which are computer generated into a 3D model. The rings are then hand carved in wax and cast in metal, with completion in five weeks or less.

The Smithery, owned and operated by jewelry designer Anne Holman and business partner/designer Jen Townsend, offers unique, contemporary designs and the hands-on opportunity for couples to make their rings. The Smithery conducts all aspects of their lost wax, jewelry-making process in-house at their Grandview Avenue store, allowing couples to schedule private workshops in designing, casting and completing their rings. The Smithery even offers group events for their bridal parties.

Holman and Townsend encourage couples to break rules and to follow their hearts during the ring-selection process, noting they will be happier wearing what internally feels right. The Smithery has designed a wide variety of untraditional rings by mixing metals and gemstones; eliminating gemstones altogether; enameling; encasing dried flowers; and designing rings that don't match. One client, with their dog as ring-bearer, commissioned an art nouveau-style ring to pay homage to the curls of fur on the dog's ears. With the complexity of the design dictating turnaround time, simple bands can be completed within three weeks and more intricate designs within six months.

The Smithery answers Holman's dream of a space to create, sell and teach under one roof, while supporting other artists. The store's collections include jewelry, but also textiles, ceramics and print work from over 60 global artists, many items proving to be perfect bridal party gifts.