Friday, April 15, 2016

15 Years to Perfection

Mark and I have been married for 15 years. I couldn't ask for a more perfect husband. He and I compliment one another perfectly, which is what you want in a marriage. I'm sure he wishes that I didn't have quite so many deficits in the domestic department, but he really did know that when he married me!

When we decided to get married, it wasn't your typical engagement. We had known one another since we were teenagers, and had dated long distance for a year. I had moved in with him about a month before, and neither of us had any doubt that we were going to get married. One night he mentioned that he was saving up for an engagement ring. I told him that I didn't need a ring, and he said, "Well, let's get married then." Not super romantic, but kind of an "us" way of doing things.

We got married a few months later, and we exchanged simple, white gold bands. I remember looking at it on my finger-it was so smooth and shiny, and I was thrilled. A year later, Mark gave me an engagement ring, a simple solitaire in a white gold Tiffany setting. Again, a little backwards, but again-us.

All was well for many years, until I lost my wedding ring. I was in the ER with a kidney stone, and had an allergic reaction to the pain medication that they gave me. Sometime during my stay, I scratched off my band. I was devastated. We bought a new band, but it's not the same. It's a bit thinner than his, it doesn't feel the same on my finger. A big bummer in the wedding ring department.

I had worked with Tawnya of JLaurynDesign on another project a year or so ago, and decided to ask her to make a wrap for my solitaire. 


Like me, Tawnya was born and raised in Iowa. She is a trained bench scientist with a Zoology degree from Iowa State University.  After getting married and having kids, Tawnya left the science bench for the jewelry bench.

Tawnya is mostly self taught-how amazing is that? Looking for a creative outlet, Tawnya had always been drawn to jewelry. She started learning about gemstones and thought that she wanted to facet gems. The facet machines were eye popping expensive to consider as a hobby, so she looked at other options that were affordable.  

A friend of Tawnya's was a beader. She taught her to bead and make beaded jewelry, and her passion grew from there.  After dropping umpteen beads on the floor, Tawnya decided that she would rather work with fire, and hammer away at metal. So began her metal smithing journey! She taught herself how to solder using YouTube and various books. Her shop started to grow and so did her passion for metal smithing.

Tawnya finished gold smithing and fabrication, casting and advanced diamond setting courses in Jupiter, FL at Stewart International School for Jeweler's. These courses gave her the additional skills that she needed, and her confidence grew.

Tawnya has a mentor, Tom Newport of Newport Designs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has helped Tawnya with design, problem solving, and offered support for her growing career. Tawnya and her husband are building a new house in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The new house includes a workspace for Tawnya, and she is looking forward to the designated space, and the creativity that will come with it.

Tawnya's jewelry career allows her to be a stay at home mom, and to work with customers that push and challenge her in directions that she didn't think possible. Tawnya's mother encouraged her creativity, and gave her the spirit to follow her dreams.


Tawnya does a lot of custom work at JLaurynDesign. She works with a variety of metals, depending on what her clients are looking for. She also used a variety of gemstones-if you look at her Etsy shop, JLaurynDesign, you'll see that she has a huge variety of cut and color. I wanted something simple to wear with my solitaire, so Tawnya and I decided on an arch above and an arch below. They turned out to be so incredibly stunning, that it takes my breath away! So, after 15 years, I now have a complete wedding set! 


Tawnya also made the ring above for me last year. I showed her an inspiration picture, and she determined the size of gold bands to use. It is so comfortable, and it is gorgeous! 

Whether you're looking for an engagement ring, wedding bands, earrings, etc., JLaurynDesign has so many beautiful pieces, and great ideas to make something that is one of a kind. All of her work is made by hand, and it is truly a pleasure to work with her.

To contact Tawnya, you can find her on Etsy and Facebook. She is very responsive to messages, and will help you find the perfect piece!! https://www.etsy.com/shop/JLaurynDesign

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