Goldsmith takes inspiration from sturgeon

Feb. 16, 2013
Paul Spanbauer, Goldsmith Designer with Reimer Jewelers is making gold, white gold and silver sturgeon earings, pendants and rings for customers that want something special. He also creates other game fish jewelry. / JOE SIENKIEWICZ/For

At a glance

Fish rings and pendants are available exclusively at Reimer Jewelers, 11 Waugoo Ave., Oshkosh. Call (920) 235-7870 or visit the website,, for more information.


OSHKOSH — Those who fish remember the fish they caught through photographs – the proud sturgeon spearer standing next to their prized prehistoric fish or the fisherman holding the fish with the body of water in the background – and the stories they tell.

But now they’re also able to remember that trophy fish by simply looking down and glancing at the fish that circles their finger.

Paul Spanbauer, a customer jewelry designer at Reimer Jewelers in Oshkosh, has created a line of rings for those who want another way to remember their big catch.

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“This is a way that they can remember their catch – with the exact length, date and weight – and wear a piece that represents the fish they let go,” Spanbauer said. “It starts conversations for them with their fishing buddies and the storytelling starts.”

Spanbauer has been making fish rings since 2000, when in exchange for an entry into the tournament, he began making small mouth bass rings for winners of the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament.

Over the years the number of fish represented in Spanbauer’s line of Great Lakes Trophy Fish rings has increased and now includes lake trout, muskie, carp, walleye, large and small mouth bass, perch and crappie.

In 2010 Spanbauer added the sturgeon ring to the line up and began making sturgeon pendants this year for those who would rather wear a reminder of their trophy fish around their neck.

“It’s a permanent remembrance of the trophy fish they caught,” Spanbauer said.

The rings and pendants, which are available exclusively at Reimer Jewelers, are made out of a customer’s choice of yellow gold, white gold or silver and have black diamonds for eyes. The rings vary in price depending on the choice of metal, with silver rings priced at $395 and those cast in gold starting at around $1,100.

Each ring is custom made for the owner, whether that means engraving statistical information on the inside of the band or making sure the fish’s markings match those of the prized fish that was caught, Spanbauer said.

“Not only is it a piece of art, it’s customized for that customer,” said Paul Wagner, owner of Reimer Jewelers. “It tells their story.”

In addition to making rings for customers, Spanbauer has also donated rings to various fishing organizations, including Sturgeon for Tomorrow, which uses the ring as a raffle prize at its annual banquet.

“It’s a real plus for Sturgeon for Tomorrow because it does help raise money at our banquet,” said Pat Braasch, the secretary of the West Central Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, which holds its annual banquet in Oshkosh. “It’s very unique and very, very nice. It’s something they can wear.”

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