Recycling spoons to make ‘Rad Rings’

Tori+Radermacher+began+focusing+more+on+creating+rings+during+the+first+wave+of+COVID-19.

Photo by Courtesy of @Rad_Rings_ on Instagram

Tori Radermacher began focusing more on creating rings during the first wave of COVID-19.

Old silverware, thrifting and a love of jewelry were three things that allowed Tori Radermacher, a senior in the College of Engineering, to find a sense of community from doing something she loves. 

Radermacher is the owner of Rad Rings, a small student-run business that turns thrifted spoons and other antique silverware into rings. 

“I always loved the ring aesthetic and layered jewelry, but I couldn’t afford jewelry that didn’t tarnish,” Radermacher said.

After discovering spoon rings – weatherproof and tarnish-proof rings made from old silverware – on TikTok, she decided to try making them herself.

“I started with thrift stores,” Radermacher said. “There are buckets and buckets of spoons and they’re only 10 cents a piece. They’re usually kind of disorganized so I just kinda sit there probably for about 20 minutes sorting through and looking for ones with unique patterns or souvenir spoons.”

After buying her first set of metals, Radermacher asked her dad to help her make her first ring.

“We used bolt cutters and a dremel to sand it and then my dad mainly just bent it with pliers,” she said. “It took about an hour and a half just to get it to the right size.” 

A dremel is a hand-held rotary tool with various attachments used for carving, engraving or shaping.

“We knew that wasn’t going to work out for future rings, so I started doing some research and found pretty much the only way to make them efficiently was using a ring press,” she said. “I decided if I went ahead and bought (a ring press), I could make jewelry for myself, my friends, my family and then potentially sell them and that’s how it got started.” 

Radermacher said she uses Instagram to promote her products. She said she posts the spoons as they are, just cleaned and polished. Customers then purchase the spoon of their choice and get to customize it to their size and what type of wrap they want (plain or spiral), so each ring is unique to them. 

While Radermacher said the money she makes from this business typically goes toward groceries and other everyday purchases as a college student, the support she received has also gone toward helping her family.

“I recently did a fundraiser for my sister who is struggling with some health issues,” she said. “She’s had a decent amount of hospital bills so I thought that this was something I could do to help relieve some of that stress for my family.”

She said her friends and family have all been super supportive of her business.

“They’re my biggest customers, and they tell all their friends … Spreading the word, that just brings more people in,” she said. 

Mya Coene, a senior in the College of Education, became roommates with Radermacher in Cobeen Hall their first year after meeting through the Marquette Facebook page.

“One of the shared interests that we had from the beginning of our friendship was rings, so I was ready to support her from the beginning of her business,” Coene said. “Watching her spoon rings business grow has been so amazing because she gets more and more creative with each drop.”

Radermacher’s newest line is stamped rings, where she uses steel stamps to engrave a designs such as stars, astrology signs, letters and smiley faces onto the jewelry.

 

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Kaylee Reyes, a senior in the College of Engineering, and a friend of Radermacher’s since their sophomore year together, said she has been supporting Radermacher’s business since her first drop around Valentine’s Day of last year.

“Seeing how much her business has grown in just a year has been amazing,” she said. “I never really wore rings prior to her starting Rad Rings, but now they’ve become some of my favorite accessories.”

Being an engineering major like Radermacher, Reyes said she has gotten to know, and become close friends with, Radermacher through classes since their sophomore year together.

“I can vouch that she’s a really good person that cares a lot about her products,” Reyes said. “She truly puts in a lot of time and effort for every customer and is always looking for new ways to improve her rings.”

Reyes said the best part of Rad Rings is how easy it is to work with Radermacher in creating a unique and customizable ring for each user.

She said her favorite ring actually came from a spoon she already owned, which had a small flower design along the edges.

“Because it was from a spoon I had personally owned, it became one of my favorites,” Reyes said. “I even went over to her apartment to watch her make the ring in person … It was really interesting to see just how much work goes into making each and every single ring.”

Radermacher said she also offers local pick up instead up having customers paying for shipping, which limits a lot of waste and emissions that comes from shipping.

“The fact that it’s a local, small business … I’ve been able to meet a lot of different people on campus and its become kind of a local community business,” Radermacher said. “It really means a lot to me.”

Each ring costs $15, and customers can find her business on Instagram @rad_rings_.

This story was written by Skyler Chun. She can be reached at skyler.chun@marquette.edu.