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What wood engagement ring mean to us.

Wood Engagement Ring by Simply Wood Rings

Engage naturally with a wood engagement ring.

Well, first off since the word “wood rings” is in our name you would think they mean everything and they do but it is much more than that. We hold in high regard the object we like to call our simple “wood engagement ring” because it is so simple and yet can hold so much spiritual and symbolic meaning. They can tell stories. They can hold hope. They can hold bits of the past and hope for the future. We can carry this with us in the present moment. We can not be anything but humbled when a young couple comes to us with raw materials for their wood wedding set or wood engagement rings. We look into the eyes of these young couples and we can see the hope and goodness they carry for the world. We are grateful and understand that we have been entrusted to not only be a part their union but that they hold the preservation of our natural resources as dear as we do. A wood engagement ring celebrates the shared values of two people striving to make this world a better place.

We use salvaged wood for our wood engagement ring. We have the pleasure of working with woods and natural materials that have wonderful stories of how people have met. It is fulfilling to know that we can be apart of giving the world an alternative to traditional wedding ring. We believe that our wood rings allow those that would have them to engage more naturally, love more naturally. Wood engagement ring proposes hope that two can become one in a very simple and naturally connect way.

Birthwood rings hold high the beautifully simple nature of the one you love whether it be a wife, mother, daughter, sister… not to leave the boys out we’ll include them too.

 

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Understated Wooden Father’s Ring

Fathers Ring with Birthwood

Warmth, Character, and Versatility

​These are all great words to describe a good father. We think they're great words to describe our Father's Rings too.

If you're looking for something understated and meaningful for that dad in your life, we got you. Our Father's Ring is handcrafted using our bentwood process. The base is comprised of the Birthwood of the bearer and the ring contains inlays of Birthwood representing his children. Every element of our rings is customizable to a high degree. Our standard men's ring width is 8mm and we create the inlay from 1mm strips in order to keep the aesthetic clean but you can request any number of alterations. For example, you could choose wider or off-center inlays with spaces in between. The standard Father's Ring offers up to four inlays at 1mm (to keep the width of the ring on the narrower scale) but you are always welcome to adjust this as needed. 

fathers ring and mothers ring

Father's Ring with Mother's "Sitting in a Tree" Ring

We've add these handsome rings to our Birthwood product line, don't hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. You can find information about wooden ring care and durability on our website. Also, don't forget that, in honor of Earth Day, a portion of all of our proceeds until April 22nd, 2017 will be donated to environmental charities that support our Earth. We're donating to four charities and you have the option, at checkout, of choosing which charity you would like to donate to. 

Navigate here to view Birthwood inlay options and place a custom order. 

Let us know on Facebook or Instagram what you're planning to do on Father's Day this year!

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Interview with our Owner Gustav!

We recently interviewed our owner here at Simply Wood Rings, and we decided to share it with you! Gustav started Simply Wood Rings ten years ago, so we thought it was time to ask him some questions about why and how he began Simply Wood Rings! 



Tell us a little about yourself and your business:

I was born in Mexico and raised in the United States. My father was a carpenter, so there was wood around me all the time growing up. He also studied jewelry in his free time and would bring me to the studio in Pilsen where he would learn techniques from other jewelry designers. A lot of his work inspired me at a young age, along with the Pilsen neighborhood where my business is located today. I attended the Art Institute where I studied painting and drawing, but afterwards I worked in construction for many years. While working in construction, I decided to start learning how to do woodworking so I could start making furniture. During that time, my partner, who is now my wife, asked me to create a wooden ring for her. I told her I didn’t think I could make one without compromising the integrity of the wood, but she insisted. She came to me with ideas on how to make one, but I kept pushing the idea away. After she insisted more and more, she came up with a technique of wrapping the wood where the wood had enough integrity to be wearable. It was from her that the whole process came to be. We have now been in business for the past ten years with no looking back.

Why wooden rings?

I wanted to create an alternative to traditional rings for people. Wood is an alternative to traditional structure, large corporations, and traditional ideas of “forever.” When you wear a wooden ring, it demands your attention. You have to be mindful of the material you are wearing and it brings you into the present moment. As humans, we aren’t put on this Earth forever, and the wooden ring reminds us of our fragility and how it is important to be mindful in the present. We don’t exist in the future, we exist now, just like wood. Our business is also eco-friendly and the wood we use is all salvaged from around Chicago.

What inspires you?

I am inspired mostly by the material itself and the stories of people we work with. Wood translates well to the sentimental connections we make with our customers because wood already holds an authentic position in the world of materials. Our customers have amazing stories that we use in our rings, and each ring is completely different than any others because of that. When I started making wooden items, I made keepsake boxes for women to place sentimental items in. The connection between wood and these objects creates a story unique to each individual, and that translated into our mission with Simply Wood Rings. I am also inspired by providing the alternative to metal rings that people may have not known existed prior to me starting my business.

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Birthwood Gives Back To The Community

Here at the studio, we recently received an email from a woman in Canada that we couldn't keep from sharing. She reached out to us because of an event at the high school her daughter goes to, and here is part of the email she sent us: 

"Well where do I start. Dorset Collegiate is located just outside of a little community in Pilleys Island, Newfoundland, Canada. There is approximately 160 students in total            ( grade 7-12). 6 different community kids goes to this school. So everyone knows everyone.

Our safe grad program started up a few years ago with just a handful of teachers/parents and minimal decorations and prizes. Now it's grown into something a bit bigger and better thanks to generous donations/prizes from some amazing companies. We separate into groups,,decide on themed rooms. For example this year we have a camo room, Hawaiian room, wildly winks and the chocolate factory room and cafe room. Not to mention the gym has a bouncy pirate ship for the graduates to play. There's a dance and also a breakfast at daylight. All during the night kids go from room to room, have snacks, play games, win prizes. They LOVE this. We do this for them to keep them safe. A few years back a local graduated died because of a graduation party that wasn't sponsored by the school. She drowned, in a car accident on graduation night.

So now we do this to keep our kids safe. It is a drug and alcohol FREE night. They sign "contracts" pledging to stay FREE from its and it works. As parents we worry because grad night is huge scary night and now because of the safe grad we know our kids are INSIDE and SAFE. The kids also receive goodie bags when the come and sign in to the party. Once inside there is no going outside till its time to go home the next day."

She told us all of that information and asked if we would be interested in donating to the event so that the kids would have something special in their raffle as one of the prizes. We decided to give them a gift card that is good for one Birthwood ring from our Birthwood line.  We love to be a part of the community, whether it is the Chicago community or a bigger one. Part of why we do what we do at Simply Wood Rings is to give back to the Earth and the community, so we are extremely excited by this opportunity. We are very honored to be asked to do such a thing, and we hope that the winner loves the ring!

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Mother’s Wood Rings

Mother's Day is fast approaching, and we have the perfect ring for a Mother or Mother-to-be. We have taken the concept from Birthwood and came up with the design for a ring that is centered around a mother and her child or multiple children. 

The Mother's Ring is the idea that you would take a mother's birthwood and use it as the base wood for a ring, then inlay the birthstones of however many children she has in the center. You can use this idea for a grandmother, mother, sister, wife, or any woman in your life who has children. This is also a perfect ring for men as Father's Day approaches!

Mother's Ring using Birthwood Willow and inlays of Opal and Black Pearl 

Another way you can make a ring for your mother, grandmother, or wife is by using the concept from our Sitting in a Tree Ring. This ring uses the birthwood that represents the anniversary of the couple as the base wood, then has inlays of the birthwoods that represent the parents sandwiching inlays of the children's birthstones in the center. 

Sitting in a Tree Ring with Cherry as the base wood, with inlays of Walnut, Imperial Topaz, Amethyst, and Pine.

​Both ideas make for a very unique present to give the woman in your life! If you order your Mother's Ring between now and May 8th, you will receive a free container of ring balm and an extra special surprise. If you do want to receive the ring by Mother's Day, make sure to get your order in by March 31st!


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Wood Ring Tales – Stephanie and Don

In today's edition of Wood Ring Tales, we have featured Stephanie and Don! This couple had a really incredible wedding in the San Juan Islands. They ordered a pair of our Seashore's Muse wedding rings, which you can see in the pictures below. Stephanie is a fellow blogger and she wrote a little piece about their rings and wedding at www.Earthboxinn.com. Here is a snippet of her post below! 

“I’m Steffi. I have been with the Earthbox Inn & Spa for 10 years. I write this blog, respond to you on Trip Advisor, manage group bookings, among other things. A couple of years ago I fell in love. Hard. With a single Dad from Kirkland. For the first year of us dating, we saw each other only every other weekend. Until I moved to Kirkland last year, we had never seen each other on a Wednesday.

Late last year, when visiting our friend Laura, the owner of the Earthbox Inn & Spa, sipping coffee on her patio, watching whales swim by, we decided to get married. On South Beach, on the first full moon of the New Year.

We wanted unique rings with meaning to us and decided on Rosewood rings with a Mother of Pearl inlay. The wild rose is our flower and everything we do is by the sea. Simply Wood Rings, a small company in Chicago, made them and kindly held our hands through the process as we worried that they wouldn’t be ready in time.

Don and the kids went to Southbeach several hours before the wedding to build a bonfire. It was raining hard. When I arrived the rain stopped and our small group of guests was gathered around a raging fire, sipping hot coco and coffee. My stepdaughter led us down a path to the beach, to a driftwood arch, decorated with balloons, seashells and bones, courtesy of Don & the kids. A couple of sea lions swam by, checking us out. It was absolutely still but the sound of little low tide waves lapping onshore. Therese did her magic and lot’s of laughter and some tears later we were husband and wife. We returned to the fire for champagne and toasts and stayed until the sun set dramatically and gorgeously after the rain.”

Stephanie and Don also provided us with some awesome photos from the ceremony, which was photographed by Jon Sinclair. 

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What Makes Simply Wood Rings Eco-Friendly?

Simply Wood Rings is an eco-conscious company. You may be asking yourself “what does that even mean?” since we use wood for our rings. First of all, we do not cut down trees just for rings! This is a misconception that is frequently believed. We get our wood from a number of places, which I will explain below!

One place we get wood from is a company called Horigan Urban Forest Products. They recycle the urban forest here in Chicago to it’s highest possible uses. They use the same trees that go to firewood or mulch and turn them into usable hardwood lumber. They are committed to the environment by reducing the number of trees removed from the forest, the amount of fuel consumed for transportation, and the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere by sequestering it as hardwood lumber. Their beautiful wood is produced without a single tree being removed for lumber. All wood is originated from Chicago, Il.

We also get wood from artists and cabinet makers that have businesses in our building, the Midland building. The Midland Art and Design building is a collective of local artisans, craftsmen, and their respective companies. All M.A.D. members work under one roof and they design, create, showcase, and sell all forms of work + products within the Midland Building. Midland Art and Design is made up of furniture designers, print makers, installation artists, fashion designers, woodworkers, sculptors, and much more. So much lumber is left over from their projects, so we reuse that wood for our rings. It’s basically like dumpster diving and repurposing right in our own building.

One of the coolest ways we get our wood is from an old xylophone factory in Chicago. All of our rosewood comes from xylophone keys that were bought from that factory. The building is in Ravenswood and is called the Deagan building after the family that owned the xylophone factory. Now the building houses small companies, one of which is a glass factory.

Another cool way we get wood is that sometimes customers provide the wood they want us to use and then if they are really nice they will let us keep the leftover wood! We have been given baseball bats, part of a swing, a grandfather’s cane, and part of a barn door. These are all such awesome pieces and we get really excited when we are offered the chance to work with new wooden items.

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360 Degrees of Awesome

Often we only show you one view of a ring (so many rings, so little time!) but we thought we’d splash into the Photoshop pool to show you the many pretty and different views of the “x” inlay. Such movement!

Oak Lapis Cross Inlay 4 Way View
oak lapis

Want to know more about how our rings are durable and different? Check out our “About Rings” page.

top: oak ring trio l: lapis lazuli “x” inlay,
center: mother of pearl,
right:lapis lazuli
bottom: a 360-degree view of the “x” inlay

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The Sea in a Ring: So Beautiful it’s embarrassing

The Sea in a Ring
Bogwood, Turquoise, Malachite, Mother of Pearl

This ring puts us in the mind of the summer sea at night, maybe some moonlight passed along the water, and the song “Sea of Love,” by Phil Phillips. Particularly the cover by Cat Power.

Come with me, my love
To the sea, the sea of love
I want to tell you how much I love you

The ocean can feel endless, a circle is endless, life is finite but can be so lovely.

We’re getting a little too philosophical, maybe. It can be a problem around here. We’re aware. We’re working on it. But! Those aren’t tears. That’s just the shore wind kicking up sand.

Okay, we’re fine now. Promise. Just go watch this ridiculous video (for a very different sea/love song) while we put ourselves together.

Then head to the Ring Shop for your own embarrassingly beautiful adornment.

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Balance & Growth: Ebony/Birdseye Maple Wedding Set

Balance & Growth: Ebony/Birdseye Maple Wedding Set

These rings came out of the shop today and made us moon-eyed.

Partnerships are all about balance, or a constant engagement to work toward balance.

These rings — ebony and birdseye maple — present and enactment of those sweet efforts. The throughline, what binds them, is a shimmering inlay of ruby, yellow topaz, and mother of pearl.

In the pictured rough-hewn box, the rings will have a beautiful place to rest together, while their owners going swimming or rock climbing or whatever heavy activities they like to do.

A scrap of a poem, from Alice Notley’s “Clinical Thermometer with Moonstone,” via The Poetry Foundation: “I love you as a fan loves air. oops it’s vice-versa I told you about that character She is a bezel awaiting the plop of a ruby she must grow chronically”

We wish for the wearers of these rings to grow chronically, together, in balance, and to have a beautiful life together!

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Urbs in Horto: City of Chicago Flag Ring

“Urbs In Hoto” is the Chicago city motto. It means “City in a Garden,” and anyone who’s spent any time in our hometown knows why. The land is full of parks and trees and nature in every available corner.

This afternoon, at the direction of a client, we took the motto literally, and made the city flag out of fauna. It’s freshly made by our expert artisans (with a special shout-out to Joe, for the #flawless inlay), out of oak with red and blue fluorite.

City of Chicago Flag Ring by Simply Wood Rings: oak with red and blue fluorite.

City of Chicago Flag Ring by Simply Wood Rings: oak with red and blue fluorite.

We’re all crushing on it, and Gustav already has a plan to make a version of it with lighter, locally foraged maple.

In case you (like some of us transplants) didn’t know, the four stars of the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn (first built on the banks of the river in what’s now the Loop); the Great Chicago Fire (certainly a transformative moment); and the World’s Columbian Express, and the Century of Progress Exposition rounding up the count.

Interested in your own Chicago or [TO WHATEVER YOU PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE] ring? Sidle on up to our pretty new site, and contact us with ideas, dreams, challenges, and questions!

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Summer Days Full of Light

“This is the world’s reenactment of today, and of this moment, and of continuing on-with its satellite imaging of scattering birds obscuring our faces—and this is the world’s reenactment of its percentages: of the constant shifting of the satellites and the constant scattering of the birds and the likelihood that we will be seen; and this is the reenactment of someone choosing your face” from “Equation for Cresting” by Christopher Bolin, via Verse Daily

These summer weeks our studio fills with light and noise.

These summer weeks out studio fills with light and joy.

Even the peregrine falcons have been hooting and squeaking and swooping, like, they know. (Or perhaps, with Field Museum visitors, and three little newly-hatched babes, they’ve got their own sweet hubbub!)

So many wonderful people are getting married at the end of June! And we’re making wood rings for everyone, or, it certainly seems that way.

Lisa and Denise came in to pick up their rings earlier this week, for a private commitment ceremony. They were freshly back from Kenya, and “accidentally” wearing coordinated shirts featuring elephants from their travels.

It was so wonderful to spend time with these two as they tried on their rings–rosewood, moissanite, and mother of pearl–and made sure just they were just right.

Allison consults with Lisa and Denise about the right fit.<

Allison consults with Lisa and Denise about the right fit.

Lisa and Denise try the rings on for size for the first time!

Lisa and Denise try the rings on for size for the first time!

Happy clients at Simply Wood Rings.

Denise takes a closer look.

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

We couldn’t be happier for Lisa and Denise, and wish them a lifetime together of joy and adventure.

If you need us, we’ll be sanding and wrapping, packing and shipping, sighing and stretching, and ready for more!

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On Willows, on a Hot Spring Day

“… I do not know the dreams from which I have come,/sent into the world without the blessing of a kiss, behind the/willow trees, beside the darkened pansies on the deck beside/the ships, rocking, I have written this, across the back of the/sky, wearing a small and yellow shirt, near the reptile house,/mammalian, no bigger than the herd…”

The Bridge by Lisa Jarnot

Simply Wood Rings Willow Engagement Ring
A willow engagement ring from Simply Wood Rings

It’s warm and humid in the studio today and so we’ve been thinking a lot about thirst. A willow tree thrives best at the edge of the water, working hard, stretching its roots outward for sustenance. Perhaps it’s all the heat, but we totally “get” where the willow is coming from today.

Across global cultures, the thirsty willow has been a symbol for keeping in touch with our kindred history and those that came before. Its leaves were used by the ancient Egyptians to control pain, a precursor to modern aspirin. A willow soothes and connects. Because of this, a willow ring is a wonderful way to honor special moments, relationships, and lives, and we think our engagement-profile willow ring says a big, joyous thing in an elegant, quiet, design-forward way.

Our willow is sourced from our friends at Horigan Urban Forest, who found a fallen willow tree at a Skokie elementary school that had been loved a bit too much by the local kids. With its all-wood abstracted engagement profile, and warm honeyed tone, it’s a great fit for minimalists and romantics alike. And to fit this beauty of a ring to your life, we offer wood burning personalization. What could be better.

For now we’ll drink a big glass of water, remember last winter’s snow and ice, and be grateful for being right where we are.

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A Romantic Post About Bogwood

When we think of our bogwood rings, they bring to mind mizzle (mist + drizzle, a real and wonderful word) and mystery: a tree fallen into a peat bog and grown-over centuries ago, not petrified nor decayed, a sort of immortal thing, just beginning to be a fossil.

Young At Heart

Our “Young at Heart – Yang” ring.

As one of us said today: it’s easy to write a romantic blog post about bogwood, because bogwood is so romantic!

Indeed, what more do we want of our love than to hold it close, and feel it everlasting? Often in Ireland, bogwood logs — once of oak or pine, yew or cypress — are dredged from their wet climes and placed into piled cairns, meant to mark a trail. Or else a canny harvester looks for the last-left frost across the peat: wherever there is still frost, bogwood can be found below. Being such “new” people in the presence of such an old material makes us feel quite pleasantly agog. To wear such a ring unites us with the earth and everything. The bogwood rings, too, make us misty eyed, and remember the specialness of life, where we are coming from and where we are going, as Italo Calvino writes in Invisible Cities: “The city…does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”

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The “Breaking Traditions” Wood Ring

The Breaking Traditions ring

The Breaking Traditions ring! One of our most popular designs. It is designed to represent the four elements. But this ring is so versatile, it’s easy to make it your own.

The Breaking Traditions Ring

You can change the inlay, to whatever stones or materials you want.  You can even add some wood if you like! You can give us your own materials to use as well.

Breaking Traditions ring

Or maybe you would like to get really creative! And use all sorts of different materials.
get really creative

What will you put in your Breaking Traditions ring?
Breaking Traditions ring