Wood and Wool: Honoring WWI in a Unique Men's Ring
November 28 2016 – Michael Yarbrough
I don't consider myself a jeweler, though I have been told that is what I am. Honestly, I don't care much for weddings and diamonds and the things that one typically things about in the ring business. I come to the craft of creating rings as an artisan of sorts. I love the history of the wood and materials which can be used to create an unexpected story in a small token of remembrance. It was known as the Great War, but our generation calls it World War I. I suppose it was not called WWI initially because no one wanted to imagine a sequel. After crafting our best selling ring, a WWII themed ring with teak from the USS NC and whiskey barrel lining, I set out to create a bolder design to represent WWI. Introducing, our wood and wool ring:
The dark walnut which makes up the body of the ring is from a Springfield 1903 rifle stock of WWI. The rifle has a fantastic history. Created as a response to the powerful and accurate Mausers encountered during the Spanish American war, used by Theodore Roosevelt on his famed hunting expedition in Africa, and carried into battle in WWII. The rifle is still a fine collectable and shooter. The stock I obtained was unusable as a rifle stock, but was fine for remaking into a men's ring with tremendous character. The walnut has an almost chocolate appearance with highly visible grain patterns.
The green half of the ring is from a U.S. soldier's field shirt, also from WWI. The olive drab green wool is fitted onto the ring, sealed with an epoxy and finished with the rest of the ring. Not only does it add to the uniqueness and story of the ring, but it creates an amazing and complimentary contrast. I used a stainless steel band to tie the elements together and give the ring a bit of pop. America's steel production was unprecedented and no doubt the most significant contributor to victory aside from our troops.
From the Trenches
Generations of free peoples owe their freedom to the soldiers in the trenches. That generation saw the world change from fighting on the open plains to mechanized warfare. No doubt they thought it was the end of humanity...but they pressed on.
I owe a debt of gratitude that I can never repay, but I can remember.