This Kyiv jeweler began making body armor when Russia invaded. Now it’s also sending wedding rings to soldiers on the frontline

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Gabriel & Co. fine jewelry


Denys and Anastasiia Herasymova.
Denys and Anastasiia Herasymova, and their Oberig wedding rings.

  • Oberig is a luxury jeweler based in Kyiv founded by Tetiana Kondratyuk.
  • After Russia's invasion, the company began donating body armor as well as wedding rings to soldiers.
  • One of the couples told Insider about the wedding rings they used to get married last month. 

The Kyiv-based jeweler Oberig is just one of the thousands of businesses whose operations have been completely upended by Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

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The war has created a humanitarian crisis with 4.7 million refugees, according to the UN, while businesses moved their operations to a wartime footing. 

Wedding rings and body armor

Oberig, founded by Tetiana Kondtratyuk, has had to cope with its employees being split between joining Ukraine's armed forces, others fleeing the conflict and some continuing to work.

The company's production facility in Kharkiv was forced to shut down amid heavy Russian shelling, while its head office in Kyiv moved to the west of Ukraine.

Tetiana Kondratyuk
Tetiana Kondratyuk, founder of Oberig.

Kondtratyuk was forced to pare back Oberig's luxury operations and start building body armor with any profits from jewelry sales. She said Oberig had now sent 6,000 pieces of body armor to the front line.

But Kondtratyuk also wanted to contribute her jewelry to the war effort in some way. As a result the company started producing silver wedding rings it could donate to couples fighting in the Ukraine armed forces.

"From the very beginning of the war, I saw a lot of stories about soldiers who got married at the front," Kondratyuk told Insider. 

"I came up with the thought to provide them with Oberig rings and I suggested it to the team. The idea of helping the soldiers, who apparently don't have time and opportunity to buy wedding rings, inspired us, and we realized that we definitely have to implement it."

Kondtratyuk said 148 wedding rings have been donated to soldiers so far. She gets requests from soldiers, their partners, and sometimes from platoon commanders keen to place an order for several people in their division.

She said she also received several requests from soldiers who were surrounded in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

'I don't really believe in God, but I pray for his safety every night' 

On the morning of February 23, Anastasiia Herasymova and her husband Denys told Insider they felt some anxiety about the build-up of Russian troops, before their world was rocked by the invasion the next day. 

"We didn't want to eat and drink, we didn't want to do anything. We hardly slept. I was not going to leave Ukraine, and he immediately said that he would volunteer to defend the country," Anastasiia said. 

Denys, who has been working as a medic with the Ukrainian army since mid-May, used an Oberig wedding ring when he and Anastasia tied the knot on May 20.

"I don't really believe in God, but I pray for his safety every night," Anastasiia said. "I direct all my thoughts to his defense. And the days are very typical, gray, as if all the bright colors have been taken away from my life."

Other couples, Kondratyuk said, have married online with the rings, while others have reunited for a day to exchange vows. 

Kondratyuk said Oberig had recently returned to some work in their flagship Kyiv store, but she recognises the nature of her business has shifted for the foreseeable future.

"We dream of returning to our work full-scale and developing business in a peaceful Ukraine. But in order to make this possible, it is extremely important to bring victory closer by any means," she said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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