My roommate Ellen is many things, but perhaps her most defining characteristic is that she owns an ungodly amount of rings.
Before meeting her, I didn’t even realize that it was acceptable to wear more than two to three rings at a time. She pulls it off well, though. Each of her fingers is decorated with at least one or two rings, which never seem to come off no matter what she’s doing.
Just a few weeks ago, I came home to find a very frantic Ellen staring wide-eyed at her computer screen.
The reason? The man who makes all her favorite rings, her “Ring Guy,” as she calls him, was about to drop his new Rocky Mountain collection. If Ellen wasn’t on top of her game, all of her first choices would quickly sell out before she could make a purchase.
Of course, I was pretty baffled by this. What’s so special about these rings that make people want to buy them so quickly? I decided to do some research about Ellen’s “Ring Guy,” and what I discovered made me want to paint my nails and partake in all the ring-buying festivities.
Tristen Amal Ikaikamaikai’ikaneokalani Persons, also known as Tristen Ikaika, makes his living by selling custom rings molded out of spoons handpicked by the Ring King himself.
But before becoming the Ring King, he was a social media influencer known for photography and videography that focused on his travels. According to an episode of the “Built to Stay” podcast, Ikaika’s social media presence really took off during a trip to Europe when he was a senior in high school. Since then, Ikaika has found increasing fame alongside his friend and fellow influencer, Indy Blue.
As his love for photos and travel quickly brought him to Instagram fame, his followers soon began to notice the cool metal rings that Ikaika made and wore on each of his fingers.
“I’ve worn these rings since I was 12 years old,” he says on his website’s FAQ page. “Since I was little I noticed how effortlessly and naturally rings elevated a person’s appearance and style. It was almost like an expression of someone’s personality and I thought that was cool.”
After nearly seven years of making rings only for himself, Ikaika finally decided to begin selling them, and his business has been wildly successful ever since. And like Ellen, so many ring-enthusiasts can hardly wait to get their hands on a spoon ring from the Ring King.
If you’re like me and you’ve just recently discovered Ikaika’s work, but you don’t have a trendy-ring-roommate to help you navigate your way through his site, the whole process may seem a bit confusing.
“I always forget that not everyone has been here from day one and understands it haha,” says Ikaika. “If someone just stumbled upon my website they would probably be SO confused I can only imagine. Whatever spoon you order will be handcrafted by the ring king himself aka your daddy (me) and a few days later the ice(ring) will be shipped to you. Jk about the daddy part. Kinda.”
The 20-year-old Utah native has quite the process when it comes to how his collection drops work. Basically, Ikaika will travel somewhere cool — whether it’s a foreign country or a local destination in the U.S. — collect spoons from his travels and release pictures of the spoons on his site where his loyal followers can then go and order whichever spoon they’d like to have molded into a size-fitting ring.
While the spoons in Ikaika’s most recent collection are extremely eye-catching, ranging from bold floral designs to simple striped patterns, arguably the most noteworthy part about the rings is the names he gives them.
“THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND ANSWERING THE PHONE GIVES ME ANXIETY,” “YOU THINK YOU CAN HURT MY FEELINGS? I HAD ADULT BRACES” and, of course, “PILOT PETE REALLY MESSED THIS ONE UP” (in reference to the most recent season of “The Bachelor”), are some of the best names in his most recent sold-out collection.
He even throws in a few free rings for those who can purchase them the fastest, one titled “OK FAST U CAN HAVE THIS FOR FREE.” And if one day you stumble upon your own spoon that you’d love to wear as a ring, Ikaika offers 10 “CUSTOM” purchases in each collection for customers to submit their own spoon or spoons.
But where, despite the abundance of cutlery on this Earth, does he even find the spoons that are cool enough to use in his collections? Ikaika says that, in addition to working on finding a way to design his own spoons, he often turns to merchants, thrift stores, markets or sometimes even his friends’ grandparents. No matter where he’s traveling, Ikaika always finds the most beautiful utensils to feature in his collections.
And because the individuality of his spoons makes for such exclusive rings, it’s not enough to simply mosey on over to his website a few hours after he releases his newest collections. These rings sell out fast — almost the minute after he posts them.
Over half of each collection consists of one-of-a-kind designs, so Ikaika highly stresses the importance of moving quickly and setting alarms for the specific time of the release to ensure your favorite spoon is reserved.
Ikaika’s newest unnamed collection will emerge on Oct. 25, 5 p.m. PST. I don’t know about you, but this time I’ll be setting alarms of my own and joining Ellen on her frantic quest to purchase a spoon ring before they all sell out.