One Ring to Rule Them All…

28 May

Now that I’m three days away from getting married it’s starting to hit me.  No, I’m not getting cold feet, I’m really  looking forward to this next phase in life.  My fiance did almost all of the planning for the wedding, I wanted her to have her fantasy wedding.  So for me the only major thing besides the construction going on in my house was to pick out the ring and the suit.

Much like a lot of things in my life, the suit fell in place.  I’m always in the right place at the right time, I’m just really really lucky in that regard.  Lea wanted to get married on the beach of Puerto Vallarta, on a private island on the sand during the sunset.  Because it’s a tropical climate, a tux or a black suit was pretty much out of the question.  Other grooms had worn a lighter linen suit, off white or sand in color.  A few months ago I finally found one at a store, it was fairly ineexpensive and on sale.  But we were so busy with the remodel that lea didn’t have time to see it.  So I let it pass and figured I’d get another one later.

It turned out when we finally got time to go look at suits again (about five days before we left for puerto vallarta) we went to the same store.  Of course the suit was no where to be found.  I was pretty dejected and while wandering through the special sale rack I saw a gleam of light colored linen.  Low and behold, there was my suit and on an even better sale!  The suit cost me all of about 75$ or so, cheaper than if I had rented it!  Since I fit pretty much off the rack I only had to get the pants hemmed up and I was in business!

The ring proved to be more of a challenge.  Ever since I was about 28 or so I had an idea of what I wanted in a wedding ring.   I wanted something in the style of a hawaiian heirloom ring but not in yellow gold. I wanted some specific fish and other things on it as well.  I really liked the durability of titanium, it’s lightweight and strong.  But no one could engrave what I was looking for because titanium is harder to engrave and no one could cast it.  I did come across one goldsmith that made rings with a few gamefish on them, tuna, bass, etc.  But when I looked into the process, it turned out these were precast fish that were fused onto the side of the ring, the rings were also very expensive. Since I’m a marine biologist and a freediver, my hands are in the water a lot more than the average guy.  I also do a lot of building of different materials and resins at work, it would pretty much gurantee that any ring that was not engraved would lose parts of it.

It was a stroke of luck when we went to the fishing tackle show in long beach.  We go every year and I remember seeing one vendor that had really unique money clips, I had talked to him in the past but had forgotten about it.  This year we were there again and on the way back to the cars one of my friends saw some rings in the case and called me over.  As I glanced over I noticed tuna, sharks and mahi mahi on one of the rings.  I began to talk with the owner, it turns out he casts his rings and doesn’t just precast the fish and glue them on, it’s all one piece. He can also work with platinum, gold or silver.  To say I was immediately interested was an understatement, I chatted with him about the possibility of making a custom ring, he assured me whatever I could draw he could cast.  His images also have a 3D effect to them and are not just flat images.  We made an appointment to see him the following week.  His name is Jon Pettey, he’s a custom goldsmith and his website is, he’s located in Orange, Ca, and his work is very reasonable.

In the mean time I worked on a simple graphic of my family crest, not all folks of Japanese ancestry have family crests but mine happens to possess one.  I wanted a spearfisherman and ended up with a freediver image that was based on Jimmys graphics from  I also chose two other sea animals.  All of the images meant something to me.  The freediver of course is my passion.  The family crest from our clan.  The shark being the apex predator.  The tuna showing power and grace.  The inside of the ring is engraved with my name and my wifes name along with our wedding date (no excuses about forgetting the date!).

This ring is part of my soul, and I cannot wait to wear it every day.  It’s something that I’m very proud of, something that we planned out, and something that I’ve wanted for a very long time.  Should we be lucky enough to have children I intend to pass it down to a generation of new freedivers.

Now I just have to be patient and wait it out a few more days



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