I’m a big proponent of small businesses because they tend to have passionate, dedicated people running them and there’s always a personal touch that is hard to find elsewhere.
Kent Willert and his wife Emily launched their first series of carbon fiber rings at Refractory last month after several months of research and development. Kent was frequently damaging his white gold wedding band on the job, so using skills already in his arsenal, he sought to improve the design and make a replacement that would not only outlast current rings on the market, but would also be economical and aesthetically pleasing. The finished product goes beyond what Kent set out to accomplish.
Refractory’s carbon fiber rings are far more durable than current precious metal rings on the market, and are guaranteed to withstand harsh chemicals, solvents, acids, abrasion, and impact. They’re also hypoallergenic so you don’t have to worry about irritating or discoloring your skin. While most wedding bands stand out and gleam with proper maintenance, the satin finish and dark graphite color of the carbon fiber absorb light, resulting in a more subdued appearance.
I picked up a damascus textured ring, which has a very unique texture to it that mimics the ebb and flow of water currents, it’s really only noticeable to the wearer and anyone who takes a close look at it. The ring is so easy to wear that if you size right, it will glide on and off effortlessly but stay put during wear. I’m assuming this is due to the slightly beveled inner surface. I’ve also noticed that when I sweat or wash my hands, the moisture is wicked away much more quickly than on my sterling silver ring. However, my favorite quality of the ring is actually how light it is (1.49 g); so light that I often forget I’m wearing it. Most people I know who are hesitant to wear jewelry feel it’s cluttering or heavy or hard to match with what they wear. This ring has none of those problems.
At prices ranging from $165 (most stock styles) to $345 (custom order), it’s not a big investment either, especially considering the quality of their product. If it sounds like your cup of tea, I implore you to contact Kent and give it a shot. Their customer service is top notch and they will go the extra mile to guide you through your purchase. I’ve regretted a lot of crap I’ve bought from Etsy over the years but this is one piece I’ll definitely be hanging onto.
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