Modern Living: Ringing Success

Insert finger, tug and quaff: in those few seconds, the aluminum ring atop a pop-top can of beer or soda fulfills its function and becomes instant junk. Garbage men hate the rings because the sharp edges can cut. So do barefooted hippies and strollers on the beach. So do conservationists, who lament the litter. To at least one man, however, pop-top rings are a source of inspiration and income—and the raw material for a revival of a medieval fashion.

In his San Juan workshop, Designer Gonzalo Chavez, 36, a native New Yorker who calls himself Mr. Terp, has been painstakingly assembling pop-top...

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