“Buying a wedding ring doesn’t mean you have to compromise your values or submit to the gender binary”; this is the driving philosophy behind every one of artist Lori Linkous Devine’s creations. For the last eight years, Lori has been offering non-traditional wedding jewelry through lolide.com to help her customers celebrate their unions. Her dedication to inclusivity and defying gender norms has been a driving force of Lolide since its inception.
“I’ve made unisex rings from day one, starting with my own wedding ring, and I’m motivated by my personal experience struggling with the gender binary and never fitting into either box,” Lori explains. “Inclusivity, visibility, and respect for all forms of non-traditional weddings – however you choose to define the term – are driving concepts behind my work.”
Lori’s firm belief that each partner should purchase the type of ring that they want – if they want – is one of the things that sets her apart from other sellers in a crowded field. “We’re all painfully familiar with our culture’s lingering, antiquated formula for buying wedding jewelry: she gets a big rock, he gets a plain band, everybody moves on.” Lori believes it doesn’t have to be that way. “I think it’s time to throw out the binary, sexist assumptions that go along with the traditional approach. My goal is to help my customers express themselves with rings that reflect their personal style – and their special bond – in a way that they’ll be proud to wear every single day.”
Lori’s enthusiasm is evident when she discusses the ways her work can help loosen the constraints that often go hand-in-hand with the sexism and exclusivity that are paramount in the current wedding industry. She focuses on the form of each piece first – shape, weight, and balance – in order to offer silhouettes that suit an array of needs: from delicate to sturdy, simple to elaborate. With most designs, her customers then have the option to customize their choice of metals, stones, and finishes to meet their exact specifications. The result is an almost endless array of modern, elegant engagement and wedding rings that work in countless combinations.
“I love getting to know the personalities of my customers as I work on their orders – and I feel privileged when someone tells me that my work speaks to them, or that my rings are just what they were searching for”, Lori says. “It doesn’t always have to be complicated. I worked with a woman who viewed herself as feminine while not at all feeling connected to traditional definitions of femininity. She loved sparkles but was also edgy and badass and had always disliked the connotations of wearing a traditional diamond ring. I offered her a band that featured mixed metals, rivets, and small inset sapphires. She was so happy to be able to ’have it all’ in one ring, and to easily find a complementary piece for her partner as well.”
Lori is quick to dispel the notion that purchasing from an independent business that focuses on inclusivity and non-traditional expression means sacrificing high-quality work or stunningly original designs. Quality and originality are hallmarks of her work. Every item is hand-made by her in her studio in Seattle. “I take quality very seriously. The tiniest imperfection will catch my eye, and it has to meet my exacting standards before it leaves my shop”. This attention to detail extends beyond the studio and into her customer service ethos. One of her customers was moved to write, “Lori did an absolute exceptional job creating the bands for our wedding. When we hit a hiccup, she responded without a moment’s hesitation to find a solution and make us beyond happy with our rings. I truly cannot speak highly enough of the experience and the jewelry!”
When asked for some of her
Lori added, “I also really want to be clear that I think all gender identities should be equally valued. If you love lots of
Customers who are looking for
Lori’s strong DIY ethic means not only designing and creating each piece herself, but she is also involved in every single aspect of the business. “Though I do have some lovely folks I reach out to for occasional help and advice – like social media posting – for the most part it’s a one-woman show – from communication with customers and design and fabrication to product photography, website design, shipping and order fulfillment – and of course, my favorite part: actually making your ring.”
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