If you’re active in Charlotte’s fitness scene, it’s hard not to notice the objects frequently wrapped around ring fingers in lieu of diamonds or metal of late: Silicone bands.
I thought these active rings were an ugly replacement for traditional elegance when I first saw them. They didn’t seem any more romantic than the rubber rings you could score in a 25-cent machine as a kid. But the trending bands are definitely backed by practicality. They are also offered in a variety of colors of styles.
Charlotte couples are seeking out the silicone when they have jobs, like in kitchens or construction zones, or workout regimens, that risk damaging metal rings or that risk the safety of the ring-wearer. But these customers aren’t necessarily foregoing gold or alternative metal wedding and engagement bands, they are just switching them out with silicone at certain times of the day.
During the times they don’t want to wear their metal rings, customers still want to signify marriage, according to Pam Smith, who owns the business with her husband Chuck. Women especially have expressed that they don’t want to get hit on at the gym.
The Smiths trusted the Qalo brand (“the functional wedding band for an active lifestyle”) and looked at the bands and how they were made, when deciding to go with the brand in their store.
As of Friday, as far as Smith was aware, Morrison Smith is the only jeweler in Charlotte that carries the Qalo brand. The bands listed on the Morrison Smith website are $19.99.
It makes sense. The Smiths already tell their customers to avoid lifting weights in their rings. Pam Smith herself routinely takes off her ring when she gets home each day, to reduce wear and tear.
Right now, Morrison Smith’s starter collection of the Qalo brand offers black, slate grey and camo colors in the silicone bands for men, and pink and black for women. They also have black with a blue stripe that a lot of policemen wear, and black with red for firemen.
But they can ship anything in by order.
The good news is that Smith hasn’t noticed any loss of sentimentality with the silicone trend. People are still coming into the store looking for custom designs and bringing in family rings or stones for remodeling or remaking them to fit their style.
Most of what Morrison Smith does in bridal is custom, Smith said.
And as for the silicone bands, she said, it could just be a trend.
Only time — and couples — will tell.
Photo: Goran Vrakela