I received a fascinating phone call after the last blog on titanium wedding bands from a gentleman named Roger Turnley. Roger has spent many years in the jewelry game and before that he sold Citizen CNCs for Methods Machinery in Los Angeles. He is acutely aware of the intersection of machine tools and wedding bands. In recent years he has developed his own CNC machine under the name RingTech aimed at the jewelry makers all over the world.
According to Roger Turnley, 80 million rings are produced in the U.S. annually (shipped worldwide). I was highly skeptical of the number but he stuck by it. He said that people lose rings, they get divorced and remarried, gay people buy them. A lot of variations on the theme of commitment are translated into rings, and titanium is the hot material for younger folks who want to make a statement about how they are different from their parents.
Mr. Turnley, an Englishman now living in Phoenix, runs around the world these days developing the market for RingTech. Australia, Turkey, Brazil and Dubai are all hot destinations in the jewelry trade. Armenians, who do not have a country today, are big players in the business, as are the Turks with Istanbul being a world hub in jewelry. He says he uses a network of friends in the business to vet his potential buyers because confusing a Turk and an Armenian could kill a deal fast.
Roger said that my concept of a jeweler making rings in his garage is a viable idea. He cited a client of his in Wisconsin who was making a living producing 150 inlaid rings a month on a modified Bridgeport but now is doing almost a thousand a month using his proprietary machinery.
Turnley is promoting his RingTech machines to the medical industry now. He says the needs are surprisingly similar. This I have a basic understanding of because I have a ring in one of my heart valves.
I was highly annoyed Sunday when I realized my son Ari and daughter Sarah were beating me in numerous games of “Words with Friends” (an Internet form of Scrabble). It is both a great joy and a big ego slap to see my kids surpass me. My son Noah edits my blog now and critiques me on my negotiating approach. What a great thing – yet I’m still a tad ticked off. Am I slipping or are they just getting better?
I’m totally uninspired by NCAA Basketball Tournament this year. At this point the only team I would like to see advance is Murray State. There’s John Calipari with his new version of one year collegians, Jim Boeheim in Syracuse – the poor guy must be 93. Is he the Joe Paterno of college ball? Duke and Carolina, can’t anybody break their lock on the ACC? Coach K has three Plumlee brothers on the team whose first names begin with M. There ought to be an NCAA rule against that.
I used to adore the college game. Butler, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s upsetting the big guys. If Gordon Hayward had not gone into the draft, Butler might be a big guy in the 2012.
Oh well. Give me LeBron to hate, the Bulls to love, Kevin Durant to admire and Charles Barkley to laugh with. For me this year, strike and all, the NBA is fantastic.
Question: Are you happy or sad when your kids beat you?