Lord of the Rings: Talking to Jay Whaley of Whaley Studios in San Diego

DIY bridal jewels are Jay Whaley’s specialty Retailer Jay Whaley deals in bridal and fine ­fashion jewelry, but his merchandise flies off the shelf the very day it’s created. That’s because each item forged at his San Diego–based workshop, Whaley Studios, is made by its owner, and gleefully whisked away at the end of the day. The veteran bench jeweler specializes in one-day wedding ring workshops where couples design and make their own rings. Whaley’s been shepherding ­jewelry neophytes through the fabrication process for more than 30 years, notably as an instructor at the University of California, San Diego. Now, “I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing,” says Whaley, who cut his teeth in the industry “making squash blossom necklaces and Indian jewelry” as a bench jeweler in the 1970s. “I’m a fairly personable guy, pretty outgoing,” he adds. “And teaching

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