Shop Women First: Get Your Handcrafted Affordable Wedding Rings Here


Plus, locals can help make their own ethically sourced rings

by Kate Levy, Marketing Coordinator

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Before you’ve chosen the wedding date, selected colors, and purchased the dress, you’ve probably researched and discussed what you and your partner want to do in terms of wedding jewelry. But the search can feel pressured (hello commission-based sales) and be filled with the same mass-market settings over and over again. Trying to find an ethical, reliable jeweler, let alone one who also does affordable custom work, can be quite the task, so when we met Kendra Renee Jewelry last year, needless to say, we were psyched.

Metalsmith Kendra loves nothing more than working with clients one-on-one at her studio in Oakland, California, but all her pieces can also be found online. Regardless of whether or not you get to meet her IRL, her focus on personalized, heartfelt customer service will give you what every jewelry-buying experience should be. And the best part? Many of her wedding band styles start at $400.

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Kendra Renee Jewelry’s wedding bands are priced from $400 to $2,500, with prices varying based on type of metal and how many diamonds are in the set. All of the diamonds Kendra uses are ethically sourced post-consumer (aka recycled) stones, and all of her vendors are located here in the U.S., many are local to her in the Bay Area. So when you’re working with Kendra, not only are you supporting a female-owned business, you’re also supporting other small businesses and the community.

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Kendra also takes on completely custom work, which is perfect if you have a family stone or other gold pieces you’d like to use. Custom engagement rings typically start around $2,500, but it all depends on type of metal and stones used. And when you work with Kendra Renee Jewelry, you get an attentive, detail-oriented artisan ring design experience you just don’t find from most jewelers:

Each project and person feels unique and special. It brings me so much joy to create a piece of jewelry for someone that they love and cherish. In the past few months I’ve tracked down beautiful recycled diamonds, I’ve redesigned new settings for family stones, I’ve melted down a grandmother’s jewelry into engagement rings for their granddaughters. Every piece I make has love as its reason for existence. I get to meet incredibly nice people at a magical time in their lives. I feel incredibly blessed that I get to do this for my job.

I give A LOT of fucks. I put thought and intention into each piece. I obsess over the quality and sustainability of materials, the affordability for my client, the long-term durability, the distinctiveness of design. I put tremendous effort into making sure my clients have a good experience. I respond to emails in a timely way. I send clients mid-process photos to check in with them and make sure their custom piece is shaping up how they want it to. I am clear and consistent with my pricing—once I quote a project, I stick to it unless the client wants to add or change something about the design. I put soul and intention into each piece and so I really, REALLY care about how it comes out and the experience my client has working with me.

One thing that brings me particular joy is when someone comes to me with a not-huge budget for an engagement ring. When I create a design for them that not only fits their budget perfectly but feels luxurious and wonderful?! It makes my heart sing. I truly want to provide real value.

One of the coolest things Kendra offers is Double Pour—an event for local couples who have commissioned her to make their rings and literally want to get a hands-on experience in the process. At the event, couples join Kendra and her casting artist in the studio to alloy, melt, pour, and cast their wedding bands in gold. You get to become a part of the creation of your rings and experience firsthand the craft that goes on behind the scenes, and it’s literally magic. This is an awesome way to connect with your partner on such a special part of the wedding planning journey.

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It’s no surprise then that Kendra’s clients adore her and love her process. Some recent clients had this to say about working with her:

As soon as I knew I was ready to propose, I knew that I wanted Kendra to design the engagement ring. Kendra is incredibly talented, unique, and artful, and her design work reflects all of this. She made the whole experience so personal and fun, and worked very closely with my fiancé and me to create a ring perfectly suited for her. We couldn’t be happier with the end result. Her communication throughout every step of the process was immaculate, and she was very patient with all of our requests and hemming and hawing. I cannot recommend Kendra highly enough. She truly is one of a kind, and at the top tier of her field.

 

Kendra is the best! My fiancé and I were searching for a unique engagement ring after he proposed to me in Iceland. I never really took the time to think about the engagement ring of my dreams, however after looking online I reached out to Kendra to get her help and advice. She was so incredibly knowledgeable about engagement rings and diamonds, and in no time I knew the exact diamond and ring design I wanted.

A few months later, I got to go to Kendra’s studio in Oakland to see the diamond and talk about the ring design in person. I arrived with a friend, and we were greeted with warm smiles and wine.

Kendra has since made my TOP TEN list of best human beings on the planet. She was so patient, communicative, and attentive throughout this entire process. Kendra truly made my fiancé and me feel so special. I now have the ring of my dreams that is not only a representation of my fiancé and our relationship, but also a testament to Kendra’s creativity and hard work.

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We also totally can get behind Kendra’s business values. We talked with her about what she feels is most important to her for her business. Here’s what she had to say:

I believe there is no set amount you “should” spend. Only spend what feels comfortable and is in alignment with your values and budget.

I believe in choosing a diamond or gemstone that has a unique personality and that makes you happy, not one that “looks good on paper.”

I will never sacrifice durability. My rings need to stand the test of time.

I believe the wedding jewelry that symbolizes your love for your partner should not hurt the earth or any person on it. This is why I’m committed to using ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

I believe love is love. I welcome couples of all shapes, sizes, genders, and sexual orientations.

I believe great communication is the key to any relationship. I strive to be clear, to educate, and to set expectations so that there is never any confusion or anxiety.

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So if you’re looking for the perfectly imperfect wedding jewelry that absolutely reflects you and your partner, hit Kendra up for a free consultation. Stop by and check out her Instagram for more images of real couples and behind-the-scenes shots from the studio.

Kendra loves working with APW couples to create modern heirloom jewelry. Contact her today to chat about your vision!

 

Kate Levy

Kate is APW’s Marketing Coordinator. This Bay Area native built her own business as a wedding hair and makeup artist, before shifting gears to work in marketing. She’s an avid iPhone photographer, loves all forms of social media (especially Instagram), and makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. When not obsessing over the latest home design or wedding trends, this Bay Area native can be found on the Peninsula watching “Chopped” with her wife, 3 cats and 2 dogs. Ask her about her spoon collection.

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