By Julianna Joyce
With Valentine’s Day spirit month-round, love is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. February has brought us the legalization of same-sex marriage in Scotland, legal extensions to same-sex spouses in the US and an outpouring of support for the LGBTQ community in the Winter Olympics, making this month the true season of love. February stands to help the world understand that love is love – a notion jewelry designer Rony Tennenbaum explores in each of his collections.
Launched in 2008, Tenenbaum brought over 25 years of jewelry manufacturing experience to his same-sex engagement, wedding and anniversary company. Noticing a void in the jewelry world for a burgeoning market, Tennenbaum began creating jewelry that went beyond the traditional rainbows and triangles to create a collection of fashionable and timeless pieces to fit couples’ personalities.
Tennenbaum’s clients aren’t the only recipients of his rings, he and his husband of 20 years also wear his creations. We were fortunate to chat with Tennenbaum about his passion for love and equality and how the two intersect with jewelry.
What inspired you to start your own line?
Marriage Equality. Since 2004, just a decade, we’ve had 19 states sign a bill to accept marriage equality. That’s monumental. However, it means that same sex marriages and engagements are still in a stage of infancy. It’s a brand new culture, even the LGBTQ community is a bit confused as to the etiquette. You have some couples who have been together for 20 years, who would consider themselves married, but could never have fathomed that they would have the luxury to be legally wed. What do they do? Do they discount the 20 years they had together and get married? Even with new couples, who proposes? What kind of rings should you buy? There are a lot of questions out there; it’s a new age. I wanted to help couples break through the blurred lines. It’s the reason I started my own business and why I do my Rony Talks.
What are Rony Talks?
The Rony Talks are discussions on the new etiquette of the rainbow. It’s where I give my perspective for couples who are just starting their journey. I discuss everything from options of engagement to commitment rings. Everyone wants that moment of asking their partner for marriage and hearing them say yes. It’s no longer just a “will you marry me” and the end.
I once had a couple that had been together eight years that drive over two hours to choose their rings. They wanted to be in a space where they felt comfortable choosing their engagement rings. They came in and shopped for their rings, and bought them independently of each other. One of them ordered his ring early and proposed to his partner in his own romantic way; the second received his ring later on and proposed as well. They made their engagement their own. They didn’t have to stick to the traditional etiquette of proposing. And that’s what I discuss in the Rony Talks, finding a way to make your engagement special to you as a couple.
With Valentine’s Day here, what are you suggestions for gifting jewelry?
It really depends on the intention behind the jewelry. If you’re married or getting engaged, diamonds are always a clear indicator of a long-term commitment.
For a relationship that maybe hasn’t reached such committed stages, you can have a bit more fun with pieces, and it doesn’t have to be a ring. It can always be earrings, a necklace, a bracelet; those are very suitable and not as serious as a sentimental ring. You can add a bit more color too, like a rose gold piece or sapphires.
Or you could do something more personalized, like a ring from our LVOE collection. The idea behind the collection is that love is love no matter the two people involved and no matter how you spell it. The collection expands the word love to be understood despite the non-traditional spelling. As well, you can personalize the ring to say love in any language. We recently had a lesbian couple order rings in Farsi and Finnish, and we’ve added those two languages to the collection. The ring celebrates love, so it does not necessarily mean engagement, but it is a celebration of love in all its forms.
Any advice for young LGBTQ couples?
Don’t rush into marriage because you now can, rush into marriage because you want to, the couplehood is in the right place and you really know each other (ronytennenbaum.com).