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R2D2 Engagement Ring Created in Pittsburgh

on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 22:42

Within the realm of Geek Culture, there are very few elements as significant or influential as Star Wars. The original trilogy not only enthralled sci-fi fans of the era but continues to entertain the many generations that have come of age since the premier of A New Hope in 1977. Although the later “prequels” may not live up to the standards of the first three films, their success at the Box Office demonstrated that the franchise is still a strong and viable entity, a fact that was reaffirmed when Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars from creator George Lucas in October 2012. For an untold number of self-proclaimed followers, meanwhile, Star Wars is both a religion and way of life, with the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia and Han Solo being modern day icons, even if they did originate a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

New Jersey tattoo and graphic artist Joe Pagani is apparently among the “true believers” of the Star Wars Universe. When he decided to propose to his girlfriend and fellow co-worker Emily, for instance, Pagani designed a ring based on droid R2-D2. He then uploaded his blueprints onto CustomMade.com, an online matchmaker for custom goods, hoping to find someone to build the actual item. Pittsburgh jewelry designer Paul Michael Bierker of Paul Michael Design answered the ad and in turn crafted the engagement ring as specified.

Joe Pagani received the finished product from Bierker on October 30, 2012, and decided to pop the question the following day at the annual Halloween Party held at the New Jersey tattoo parlor where both he and Emily work. He came as Charlie Brown while she was dressed as Lucy Van Pelt—replete with football to prank her Peanuts’ colleague—and as other staff members of the store watched, Pagani asked Emily to marry him. Thankfully Lucy did not pull the ball away at the last minute and ruin Charlie Brown’s plans, as Emily indeed said yes.

In November, Laughing Squid posted pictures of the ring along with the original design specifications that Pagani created. The website also contains a video of the actual “popping of the question” and photos taken directly afterwards, which include shots of a guy dressed as a giant chicken, watching in the background—no doubt a special highlight of the proceedings. Congratulations to both Joe and Emily, and a Geek Pittsburgh shout-out to Steel City resident Paul Michael Bierker for helping to make their dreams come true!

Anthony Letizia (December 10, 2012)

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