Today marks our 7th wedding anniversary and after 4 years of hoping, searching and praying – I have a new wedding ring on my left ring finger. It’s a beautiful handmade basket weave that looks nearly identical to my original ring. Let me tell you a story…
When I first lost my wedding ring – which belonged to Shannon’s father and was made by one of Elvis’ jewelers in 1978 – we searched everywhere around my brother’s Chicago house and the two stores we visited that day without any luck. We were only gone for 30 minutes, but now my ring was gone forever. It was one of a kind so I knew we couldn’t just go online and buy another one.
Thankfully, we’re both photographers at Schaefer Photography and had documented my ring in several photos over the first three years of our marriage. I took those pictures to several jewelers. They were all impressed with the detail and craftsmanship but could only replicate it with a CAD machine – which unfortunately just didn’t have the same look as the hand woven original.
I called all the jewelry stores around the mall area in Memphis where the ring was purchased and even talked with one of Elvis Presley’s jewelers, Lowell Hays – who confirmed he did not make this ring. So the search was slow and on going. Every year around the time I lost ring (January 12, 2018 – I remember it well) I would post online to keep the search alive.
January 27, 2022
This year, I decided to join several more Facebook jewelry groups to share my story including my original blogpost that you can read below. I looked for groups that had thousands of people in them, hoping that a larger number would give me a better lead. One of the groups was called, “Jewelry Design & Techniques” with 17.4k members. I posted my story and received two comments.
The Talented Elier Olivos
The comment from Ann DelGaudio turned out to be the only comment I needed. As soon as I clicked the link and watched the video on YouTube, I knew whoever this jeweler was could make my ring…even though I don’t know a thing about making jewelry 😉
I saw the name and logo of EO – Elier Olivos – so I started my research. I searched Google to see what kind of information I could find. Then I did a Facebook search, before finally checking out Instagram. Once on Instagram, I found Elier’s profile and sent him this message:
“Hi Elier – I live in the Columbia, Missouri, United States and I lost my wedding ring. I’ve been searching for four years to find someone who might be able to replicate it and I just came across your videos on YouTube. My ring was hand or machine woven. This link has my full story and more photos. Thank you 🙏 sincerely, Scott Schaefer”
About 8 hours later, once Elier returned from a trip, another journey and our friendship began on January 27, 2022… Elier wrote me from Miraflores, Peru, a suburb of Lima:
“Don’t worry Scott, it looks like you’re a great person, I’ll help you as much as I can.”
We shared photos of my original ring and talked about the design and measurements.
“Do you think with studying those photos that my ring can be replicated? My guess is it’s a similar technique to how you made yours. I wonder if you could even try the pattern with some practice metal or how the process actually goes?”– Scott
I didn’t hear from Elier for about two weeks. But when he responded he had already made a complete brass sample ring to show me!
I was blown away! Not only was it gorgeous, but I wasn’t expecting it! It was so close to the original. The only change we decided on was to add another gold wire running through the braids which Elier said wasn’t a problem.
All The Details
From there, with the help of my good friend, Jesse, at Buchroeder’s Jewelry in downtown Columbia (who I just happened to run into at Sam’s Club a few days after I found Elier online) we took exact measurements to send to Elier in Peru. My current silver wedding band was actually concave in the interior so we had to make some slight adjustments for a ring with a solid sleeve inside.
Over the next couple of months, Elier and I would share photos of my original ring, measurements of my current silver replacement ring, figure out how to do international wire transfers…along with some good conversations that we translated from English to Spanish and vice versus.
Elier bought the fine gold and smelted it down to make the 18k white gold. It is made up of 75% fine gold, Palladium 12.5%, silver 6.25%, copper 6.25% and once the ring was ready – it was plated in a Galvanic Rhodium bath. The final ring weighs 14.5 grams.
He then asked about engraving it and we decided on the same inscription that Shannon had put on my original ring – Hebrews 6:15 which says that “Abraham had waited patiently and received what God had promised”…along with our wedding date.
After that, we worked on figuring out international shipping – Fedex wouldn’t accept a package over a certain value even though every Fedex person I talked to said they would – so we decided on DHL and that worked perfectly. It took about 5 days over Easter weekend for the ring to make its way from Miraflores, Peru to Miami, Florida – then on to Cincinnati, OH before arriving in Hazelwood, MO to load onto the courier’s truck to finish it’s journey to our home in Columbia, Mo on April 18, 2022.
We were so excited for it’s arrival and I know Elier was biting his nails while awaiting our reaction. I had no doubts that it would be amazing after the time I spent getting to know Elier and looking at all the other amazing pieces of jewelry he had created. Lillian wanted to open the box and once she did we got to see just how beautiful the ring was in person. His craftsmanship and attention to detail was incredible.
Elier and his brother in law also create some amazing videos to show how Elier makes jewelry and he surprised me by making this one! It’s just awesome to see all the steps that went in to making this beautiful ring. Elier has been making jewelry for 25 years and said that my ring took about 24 hours of labor to create. I asked him on a scale of 1 to 10 how hard of a project it was compared to other ones he’s worked on and he ranked it a 7 – with 1 being easy and 10 being hard.
Be sure to check out the making of my ring video which already has more than 3 MILLION views!!! How cool is that?! Millions of people have now seen my ring, hopefully learned a new bible verse and got to be amazed by the amount of time, talent and work that goes into creating a work of art. Elier is a true artist and a master of his craft.
Of course, we will always keep an eye out just in case my original ring decides to make it’s way back to me. But we are so thankful to have found Elier and for him sharing his talents with us. You can read more about the original ring in blog post below.
– Scott Schaefer
Lost Heirloom Basket Weave Wedding Ring
I remember the day I first saw my unique basket weave wedding ring.
Shannon and I went to a St. Louis Cardinal’s game with her family on May 17, 2014 – just ten days after we got engaged 🙂 and while waiting for the game to start, we all gathered on a bench outside the Federal Courthouse just a few blocks from Busch Stadium.
I wanted a unique ring and Shannon said the one her father had worn was absolutely gorgeous. He unfortunately passed away when she was just 4 years old. Since that time, her mother had worn it and now they offered it to me. It was quite the honor. Her mother pulled the woven basket weave mens wedding band out of her purse that day and I instantly knew it was the one for me. It was made out of gold wires that were woven together with what I would describe as flattened wires to create that hand-woven basket weave. Both sides of the ring were made of a twisted rope. The ring was originally purchased in the 70s at a jewelry store in Memphis, Tennessee from a jeweler who worked with Elvis Presley for her parents wedding in 1978.
We had the basket weave wedding band resized to fit my finger and dipped in white gold to freshen it up at Buchroeders Jewelers in Columbia, Missouri.
On our wedding day, I remember how excited I was to get to wear this beautiful piece of jewelry with the knowledge of how special it was to my lovely wife and her mother. My hope was that it would stay on my finger until one day it would be passed on to my children.
Unfortunately, on a cold January 12th, 2018 in Chicago, I lost my wedding ring. We were visiting my brother in Western Springs, Illinois and we only left his house for 30 mins that day to make a couple quick stops. We went to Caseys Market in La Grange, Illinois and Whole Foods in Hinsdale, Illinois. I was wearing winter gloves that day and remember my ring popped off my finger and I found it in my glove. But without thinking twice, I put my ring back on and then put my gloves back on my hands. A little while later, while loading our daughter in her car seat, I realized it was gone.
I can’t tell you how heart broken I was to have lost my wedding ring. I know it was just a piece of metal, but it was a special reminder to me of finding the love of my life. We searched long and hard, we even hired a professional to search my brothers yard with a metal detector – but no luck.
Ever since that day, we’ve been looking for someone who could recreate that hand woven look (I’ve since learned it was probably machine woven) but have only found CAD solutions that just don’t quite look like the original. If you or someone you know might recognize this ring and know where I could get another one, I would be forever grateful. Or if you’ve found it in Chicago and would return it to me, even better! To me, It was a one of a kind and I would love to have it back on my ring finger!
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any helpful information!
-Scott and Shannon Schaefer