You might be surprised to learn that commissioning custom jewelry is more attainable than it sounds. If you have a precious stone you’d love to have set in a unique piece of jewelry or an heirloom you’d like to have customized to better suit your style, there are a few things to consider when looking for a custom jeweler.
Research Jewelry Designs and Reputable Designers
If you’re interested in having a custom piece of jewelry made, you might already have a design in mind. Researching unique jewelry settings with terms similar to your envisioned piece can help you hone in on a more precise idea. If you haven’t imagined an exact piece that you’d like rendered by a jeweler, a good starting place would be to make a list of your likes and dislikes to present a jeweler with. Doing so gives a jeweler a starting point from which he/she can begin the drafting process.
Once you’ve developed a concept or a list of likes/dislikes in a potential piece, it’s a good time to sit down with a reputable jeweler who can bring your vision to life. Chat with friends, seek out local recommendations, and meet with a jeweler whose body of work is consistent with your aesthetic.
Budgeting For Custom Jewelry
Notably, a custom piece of jewelry is an investment piece; as such, you can count on the cost of customization increasing the bottom line on a piece of jewelry. However, the customization process can vastly vary in cost depending on the degree to which the jewelry evolves. For instance, some jewelers work with predesigned, customizable settings which may be more affordable than a setting that’s conceptualized entirely from scratch.
Besides the design process and obvious cost of labor, the materials used to construct your new design must be taken into account. Precious stones vs. semi-precious stones and white gold vs. platinum, among other material considerations, will greatly impact a piece’s overall cost. Certainly, if you’re providing the jeweler with the materials to work with, the price of production will not be as much as if you were designing, customizing, and buying all the materials. Essentially, many factors play into the overall cost of a customized piece of jewelry but being upfront with your jeweler about your overall budget and desires can help you determine early on in the process whether custom jewelry is right for you.
How Long Before You’re Donning Your New Custom Jewelry?
It should come as no surprise that if you’re customizing a piece of jewelry from conception to production, you won’t be walking out of the store with your new piece in a few short hours. Although production time will vary from jeweler to jeweler, a fair estimate is that a custom piece of jewelry might take upwards of four to six weeks depending on the complexity of the piece and the schedule of the jeweler.
How to Prepare for a Consultation
There are a few ways you can prepare for an upcoming custom jewelry consultation. For starters, even if you don’t have an exact image in mind, it would behoove both you and your jeweler if you prepared a collection of inspiration pictures; doing so can help you narrow down your own ideas while providing your jeweler with an overall picture of your style. Furthermore, it’s helpful to you, your jeweler, and the design process if you’re prepared for your consultation with a firm budget. Lastly, to create the perfect marriage of design and execution, be prepared to collaborate with your jeweler; as an expert, he/she will know best how to functionally execute your jewelry whims.
Protecting Your Investment
The best way to protect your interest in most commissioned agreements is with signed documentation. Of course, this is true with commissioning a jeweler to craft a timeless piece of jewelry. Not only will a signed contract protect your investment and your bottom line, but it will also clearly delineate the expectations of both parties: you and the jeweler. Furthermore, be sure to add new jewelry items, custom or otherwise, to insurance policies and take into consideration a jeweler’s offered warranties.
Commissioning a jeweler for a custom piece is an exciting prospect. Whether starting your custom jewelry journey from scratch or with inherited or heirloom materials, be sure to heed these five tried and true steps which will ensure a stress-free and fun experience.