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We celebrate Black History Month!

Vets' jewelry company feels the 'Swift effect' after the singer wore diamond bracelet

Taylor Swift hugs Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce after a game last month against the Baltimore Ravens as she wears a diamond bracelet designed by Wove, a company founded by two former U.S. Army Rangers.
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Taylor Swift hugs Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce after a game last month against the Baltimore Ravens as she wears a diamond bracelet designed by Wove, a company founded by two former U.S. Army Rangers.

Last year NPR told the story of two combat veterans who opened a jewelry company called Wove, which allows couples to design a ring and then check out a 3D-printed replica before spending thousands on a real diamond.

Co-founder Andrew Wolgemuth says business had been good. A deal with military commissary stores put Wove on bases worldwide. Then last year an investor connected Wove with golfer Michelle Wie West to design some jewelry, including a line that donated profits to wildfire relief in Hawaii, where she grew up. Then came the next connection.

"Michelle happens to be friends with Travis Kelce, and she was able to connect with him, and Travis wanted to design a bracelet for Taylor," says Wolgemuth.

The Kansas City Chiefs tight end is dating the mega-pop star Taylor Swift, whose concerts and even attendance at games has a noticeable impacton local economies. Kelce worked with Wove to design a diamond bracelet that included the letters TNT. They're pretty sure he gave it to her for Christmas.

And then Wolgemuth and his team started watching football very intently.

The Chiefs won their AFC championship game in late January and Swift hugged her boyfriend, with the bracelet glittering on her wrist for all the world to see.

"Sales are up about 2,000% across the board in the last two weeks," says Wolgemuth.

As a former U.S. Army Ranger, Wolgemuth has a practiced way of not commenting on politics, the culture war, or Taylor Swift conspiracy theories — but he would say that his overworked team is ready if Kelce is shopping for an engagement ring after the Super Bowl this weekend.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Quil Lawrence is a New York-based correspondent for NPR News, covering veterans' issues nationwide. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his coverage of American veterans and a Gracie Award for coverage of female combat veterans. In 2019 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America honored Quil with its IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism.