Jewelry Love Stories: Katie and Mitch


Katie and Mitch got engaged!

I met Mitch and Katie as they were beginning to take their next big relationship step.  As we talked about engagement ring designs and looked at diamonds, the excitement grew and grew.  These two are sweet, open-hearted, adventurers and I enjoyed every minute I got to spend with them.  After finishing Katie’s engagement set, Mitch surprised Katie with the finished rings and champagne on a pier on Lake Tahoe- at the very spot where they began their relationship years earlier (I nearly melted when I heard this!).  Wishing every happiness to these two Santa Rosa-based sweethearts.

Share a little bit about your love story with us.  What gives you butterflies?

Katie: What gives me butterflies is when Mitch talks about our future together.  We’ll spend an afternoon daydreaming about how wonderful our lives are now and how wonderful they will be in the future.  Mitch is a dreamer at heart, he thinks big and sees the big picture. I love his style of living life.  He refocuses me on what is important.

Mitch: Katie’s sense of adventure and lust for the unknown is what gives me butterflies.

You just got engaged.  What is your next big adventure?

Our next big adventure is sailing! We just bought a small sailboat together, which marks our first big purchase as a couple. We are planning some weekend trips out on Tahoe this summer and out from Petaluma to the Bay as well.

I believe love is best seen in the everyday things.  What are your favorite daily or weekly rituals together?

Our daily ritual is cooking.  Mitch was on a strict anti-inflammatory diet for almost a year, and since then we have spent a lot of time and energy in finding delicious ways to cook healthy at home. We open a bottle of wine, put on some smooth Cubano music, light candles and chop, season, prepare our food together. Here’s the icing on the cake, cleaning up the kitchen after has also become one of the most fulfilling rituals at the end of the night. There is nothing better than a clean space after a wonderful evening.

Could they be any cuter?

What is the best marriage advice you have ever received?

The most realistic marriage advice I have received is that relationships are in constant need of attention. We pay attention to our jobs, our health, our bank accounts – but we don’t actively pay attention or invest in our relationships. Take time to invest in each other and grow together. Another favorite: LAUGH, as much as possible.

You guys brought in heirloom family gold to use in Katie’s engagement rings. I’d love it if you would share the background of where that gold came from.

Katie: My grandfather, Bob Burkhard was a dentist in Downieville, CA and he would get customers who would pay him with gold nuggets.  Over time he collected quite a few. My Dad’s wedding ring is made out of the nuggets from the North Fork of the Yuba River as well and Mitch and I loved the idea of pulling that family heritage into our rings.

 Gold nuggets from Grandpa!

Katie brought out the gold nuggets from her grandfather and we melted them into her engagement ring.

Mitch lights it up!

Mitch took to the casting process like a fish to water.

I hope you love how Katie’s rings turned out.  Can you share your experience?

Our experience with Kendra designing our ring and walking us through the process was unforgettable and so special to us. We loved every step and love to tell the story of how this ring came to be. We decided to design the ring together since we had been together for a few years and thought it would be special to do together. We fell in love with Kendra and her take on jewelry design. She walked us through the design process and each step that we would be taking with her through this experience. She offered us plenty of room for our opinions and questions and welcomed our ideas. Her wax models were perfect and just seeing our design come to life was very exciting! We wanted to use some heirloom gold nuggets that were given to us from Katie’s grandfather.  Having the option of adding this sentimental element to the design was something that we will forever cherish.
Actually experiencing the Double Pour Workshop was amazing! Kendra brought us into her casting artist’s studio to participate in the casting of our rings and we both had such a great time playing an active role in melting down our precious metals into a beautiful ring set. Watching our rings come to life from the molds and emerge from the casting clay was unforgettable and a beautiful insight to the intricacy and artistry of Kendra’s design and the beauty of jewelry making.
Katie rocks the safety glasses

Katie and Mitch show us how to properly rock safety glasses.

Katie and Mitch check out their freshly cast rings

Katie holds her rings for the first time

Kendra even played into the element of surprise with the proposal! We cannot talk warmly enough of Kendra Renee Jewelry and our experience with her and the design of our rings. Kendra, you will always be a little (sparkly) part of our lives and we are so grateful for your beautiful work!
Custom engagement rings

The finished set. Mitch and Katie, thank you both!  And congratulations!


Jewelry Love Stories: Ben and Todd

Ben and Todd's Love Sotry
I met Ben and Todd last spring as they were preparing for their summer wedding.  These guys are so sweet and funny, I wanted them to move in next door so we could be best friends.  Even though at first they were separated by many miles, they two of them found a strong connection that eventually brought them both to the Bay Area where Todd is a therapist and Ben is an architect.  Their wedding took place last summer in Washington State.  Enjoy their love story!  Wedding photos in this post are by the talented Micah Fischer of Portland, OR.

Share a little bit about your love story with us.  What gives you butterflies?

Ben: We met online when we lived states apart. We then found out we had mutual friends in common. With their thumb’s up, we felt that we had a “green light” to explore something more seriously and Todd adventurously got on a plane to visit me in Portland OR. We held hands as we sipped coffees and walked through Portland’s Forest Park and we’ve been walking hand in hand ever since.

Congratulations Ben and Todd!

You just got married!  What is your next big adventure?

Todd is finishing the last leg of his Doctorate degree and starting a private practice and I just started working as a freelance architect. Houses and babies to follow…!

I believe love is best seen in the everyday things.  What are your favorite daily or weekly rituals together?

We have dinner together nearly every night where we catch up on our days and the state of our hearts.  We walk the Berkeley Hills together.  We snuggle!
Handmade wedding bands for Ben and Todd

 Tell us your drink of choice.

Todd is a California wine guy and Ben prefers an IPA.

Double Pour Casting workshop

Before the wedding, Ben and Todd joined me for my Double Pour Casting Workshop.

Double Pour Wedding Band Casting Workshop

Jena, my casting artist, helped Ben and Todd alloy and cast the 18K gold for their matching wedding bands.

What advice would you give to couples just starting to plan their wedding?  What part was the most fun?

The best advice I received was pick three things you really care about and want to be perfect. Focus on those things. Let everything else go. I took that to heart and focused on a meaningful ceremony, great food and fun music. In the end, it was a terrific party – more than I ever could have hoped for. My own advice would be to pause and breathe – it goes by in a whirlwind! Enjoy every moment.

I hope you love your new rings.  Can you tell us why?

They’re spectacular! The fit, feeling, and look of them is perfect. Thank you so much!

Handmade wedding rings by Kendra Renee

Congratulations, you two!

Jewelry Love Stories: Kyle and Sammy

Sammy and Kyle's love story

You know when you meet a couple, and you just KNOW?  When they just seem so well suited to one another that you can’t really picture them apart?   When you hear they are getting engaged and your heart screams “YES!!”?  That’s Kyle and Sammy. I worked with them this fall on their engagement ring, and I can’t wait for these two Vermonters to get hitched.  Here’s a little BG on their adorable love story.

Share a little bit about your love story with us.  What gives you butterflies?

Sammy:  Kyle and I first met in the Summer of 2004. We were both working at a summer camp.  I remember walking into the main lodge and seeing cute college-age Kyle in a black Blink 182 sweatshirt playing the guitar.  Needless to say, I was in awe of him for the rest of the the summer.  I like to claim that our first date was to the Danville County Fair where we held hands while riding on one of those crazy cage rides. I’ve had butterflies ever since he talked to me first at camp.

Kyle: Sammy and I first met on July 3rd, 2004.  I was in my second summer working at a summer camp and Sammy was a volunteer.  She arrived on a Saturday afternoon and the staff crew went to the state lawn in Montpelier to watch the fireworks.  I was heading into college in the fall and she was heading into her sophomore year in high school.  She was WAY more interested in talking about college than I was.  She doesn’t remember this at all.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m in San Francisco visiting my best friend.  I knew Sammy was living in the Bay Area so I suggested that we get together to catch up.  Fast forward eight months and we’re living together in Burlington, VT.  Fast forward another two years (June of 2017) and here we are…getting married!

Engagement ring reaction

Even though they technically got engaged in Iceland, Kyle surprised Sammy with the finished ring we designed during their engagement photoshoot! Photo by Katie Figura.

You just got engaged.  What is your next big adventure?

Getting married in 2017!

Handmade engagement ring

Flannel, green fields, and sunsets. Real romance in Vermont captured by Katie Figura Photography.

I believe love is best seen in the everyday things.  What are your favorite daily or weekly rituals together?

Walking our dogs, hanging out with friends at our favorite spot in downtown Burlington, traveling around Vermont and hiking mountains.

handmade gold engagement ring with recycled diamond

Looks pretty natural on her hand, doesn’t it?

Tell us your drink of choice.

Beer. Is there anything else? Kyle love hops, Sammy loves sours.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about beginning to plan a wedding? What are you looking forward to most?

We’re looking forward to giving each other our vows. Best advice: to get married at the Grafton Inn*!

*Author’s note: I’m going to brag a little and let you know that that was my advice!  I got married at The Grafton Inn in 2014 and LOVED everything about the gorgeous Vermont venue.  As a fellow Vermonter, I could not resist the urge to push my wedding agenda on these two!

Custom 14K gold engagement ring with old mine cut recycled daimond

For Sammy’s ring, we selected a soft yellow vintage Old Mine Cut diamond. It was most likely cut by hand in the late 1800’s.

I hope you love how Sammy’s ring turned out.  Can you share your experience?

Sammy: Kendra was awesome to work with and designing my ring. She was able to design something so unique, meaningful, and special. I wanted a one of a kind ring that looked classic and had a vintage flair and she delivered on all ends. I couldn’t picture a ring that would fit who I am and what I would want any more than the one Kendra created!

Jewelry Love Stories: Chelsea and Nick

Chelsea and Nick's love story

This gorgeous bride and and I go way back.  Chelsea and I ran cross-country together at our high school in Vermont, and she was even our prom queen!  Chelsea is one of those people you can’t help but love- she’s thoughtful, funny and sweet.  I was thrilled when she strolled back into my life this spring when she and her fiancee moved to Oakland.  It was such a pleasure reconnecting with Chelsea and meeting her wonderful partner Nick.  The two of them couldn’t be any cuter.  Enjoy their love story!

Share a little bit about your love story with us.

We met about five years ago when we were both working at an international development non-profit in Washington, DC. After a year and many, many group happy hours, Nick finally asked Chelsea on their first date and the rest is history. After a year of long-distance dating between Chicago and Uganda, we were so excited to reunite back together in the US and adopt our fur baby, Meli. Right before our move to Oakland a year ago, we spent two weeks in Hawaii and got engaged over a cocktail on Waikiki Beach at sunset.

Kendra Renee Jewelry Love Story

“Fur Baby” Meli and her parents on their wedding day

You just got married.  What is your next big adventure?

Lots of camping and travel. We love to spend time outdoors and are looking forward to exploring the Bay Area and beyond with our sidekick pup. We’re also starting to think about a trip to Asia early next year – we really enjoy getting outside of our comfort zone, visiting new places, and eating new foods.

We believe love is best seen in the everyday things.  What are your favorite daily or weekly rituals together?

Cooking dinner together with a glass of wine and our Summer Breeze Pandora station. Nick hails from Hawaii and Chelsea grew up in New England – we both love seafood. We really like cooking and creating new recipes together, and eating of course!

Comfortable wedding rings

To have and to hold.

What advice would you give to couples just starting to plan their wedding?

Have fun with it! The best part of the whole process was spending an entire weekend with our closest family and friends – and that’s all that mattered in the end. Don’t worry too much about trying to make everything perfect.

Jewelry Love Story

What’s your drink of choice?

Nick – black coffee in the mornings and an old-fashioned style scotch cocktail in the evening

Chelsea – jasmine tea in the mornings and sauvignon blanc in the evening

ring warming wedding ceremony

Family and Friends infused the couple’s wedding rings with love during the ring warming ceremony.

I hope you love your new rings. Can you share your experience?

Nick loves his gravel-style wedding band because he feels it’s natural texture reflects his love of the outdoors. Chelsea loves her river rock style because it’s simple, unique, and full of movement – something that she can wear every day. Plus we both love rose gold! During our wedding, we included a ring warming ceremony in which our rings were passed around so that guests could infuse them with their love and positive energy before we exchanged them – our rings are more than a symbol of our love, but also the love and support of our family and friends.

Rose gold wedding bands for Chelsea and Nick

Congratulations, Chelsea and Nick!

Jewelry Love Stories: Melissa and Danny

Melissa and Danny Wedding Rings

Melissa and Danny stumbled into my studio last year, and I had so much fun working on wedding bands for this hilarious and own-to-earth couple.  It’s easy see how much these two dig each other.   Melissa is an East Coast transplant to the Bay Area and Danny is a local.  The both work for UCSF and they’ve settled into a happy life together in San Francisco’s Mission District.  Their wedding took place last summer on an island in the middle of a lake in New Hampshire, and I love the rustic feel and intimate atmosphere they created.  I was lucky enough to receive the above photo on their Christmas card!  Here’s a little from them about their love story.

1. Share a little bit about your love story with us.  What gives you butterflies?

We met as teammates on a co-ed san francisco softball team and had a solid foundation of friendship before Danny (finally) asked Melissa out on the night of the last game of the last season their team was in existence 🙂 The rest is history. We started talking about retirement and our future during our first date. Melissa knew that Danny was the one when she introduced him to her home and family. Melissa loves that Danny is nurturing, thoughtful, and grounded. Danny loves that Melissa is adventurous, lives in the moment, and cares deeply about others.


2. You just got married.  What is your next big adventure?

We’re excited to share our day-to-day life together and to build a family.

3. I believe love is best seen in the everyday things.  What are your favorite daily or weekly rituals together?

Our favorite weekly ritual is that we love to cook and have gotten really into making homemade pasta. Sunday has become pasta night and we experiment with different recipes and techniques. Danny’s the pasta guy and Melissa’s in charge of sauce. We like to include our family and friends whenever possible.

4.  Tell us your drink of choice.

Tequila in various forms! Melissa also loves champagne and we both fell hard for rum on our honeymoon in the dominican republic.

Melissa and Danny Wedding

5. What advice would you give to couples just starting to plan their wedding?  What part was the most fun?

First:  Enjoy the journey but if it wears on you, remember that your wedding will be amazing no matter what. When all is said and done, the tiniest details will be irrelevant and it will be about marrying the person that you love and being surrounded by your community.

Next: Let others help you. Though it can be hard to accept help and give up control, other people feel honored to help and it makes your day even more special and memorable to have their input and support.

Melissa and Danny Love Story

These two fish have tied the knot!

Finally: We chose a location that was meaningful to us (Melissa’s family island in New Hampshire) and it was amazing to introduce our guests to a place so special to us and to have memories from our wedding to revisit every time we return. It also was incredibly meaningful to have Melissa’s 95 year old grandmother there.

5. I hope you love your wedding rings.  Can you tell us why they are special?

We love our wedding rings for so many reasons. Kendra ensured that our rings are unique and exactly what we both envisioned. We were able to be there and participate when our rings were cast, which was even more meaningful and truly awesome. We both feel happy and proud to wear them. Kendra also had our nicknames inscribed on our rings to make them even more special.

Melissa and Danny Handmade Wedding Rings

Melissa and Danny’s rings on an oar that belonged to Melissa’s grandparents at their lake wedding.