Custom Design Process
What to Expect
I know from my side of the client meeting table that embarking on the journey of creating a custom piece of jewellery work can be daunting! I even know from the perspective of the other side of that table. I made my own engagement & wedding rings and in that moment I kind of realized that I might not have been the best candidate for custom work - I am picky and a perfectionist. But, that is what actually makes me good at my job, creating incredible pieces for my amazing clients and knowing how to get to the details they didn't even know they knew.
Custom work is by far one of the coolest, and sometimes more difficult, things you can do in my world - create a piece of jewellery any way that you want! Now let me just say that 'any way you want' doesn't mean having me copy an existing jewellery design because you want to pay less or do it in different materials. I will say no. This is your chance to do something different - something that you can't find everyone else wearing. Yes, we can draw inspiration from an existing piece of jewellery or photograph and that is the point - for you to get to know what you like and what you don't.
Here is what you can expect from working with me. I make it easy!
STEP 1- THE RESEARCH
To begin: collect anything that inspires you from your own rough sketches; existing pieces of jewellery; jewellery images; images of tapestries or architecture - anything that speaks to you. If you would like to chat about making a ring for example, your research may help you figure out:
- Do you want a flat or rounded band, wide, or narrow?
- What colour and kind of metal you are thinking? Yellow; white; rose gold; platinum; titanium?
- Do you want a diamonds or coloured gemstones? Man-made, lab-grown gemstone or no stone at all?
- Is this an everyday ring or only for special occasions?
- Would you love a textured or rougher finish for your band or super sleek and beautiful?
What I try to do is simplify your wants and needs by asking a lot of questions and with those answers I am able to help you get to the heart of what it is you are looking for - even if you have no idea where to start.
STEP 2 - THE CONSULTATION
You have gotten in touch and now we sit down face-to-face (or communicate via e-mail or phone if you are not local) and chat about your list of must-haves and design ideas, chatting about how those can translate into your special piece of jewellery. It is here I am able to share my expertise, let you know what is possible, and offer design help and material samples to get us close to final design by the end of our hour. One week later (or less), I supply you with visuals and estimated costs based on what we chatted about.
STEP 3 - THE APPROVAL
After you have given me your feedback, I am able to create wax models and source a selection of stones, if any. My goal is to give you as much as I can to get you comfortable with the feel of the final piece short of making it. It is at this point we go through all the design details, materials costs and budgets and make any changes should we need to. Once all is a go, I then require a 50% deposit to get the project started. This deposit is for 2 things: to cover a portion of the material costs and to let me know that you are committed to making this piece with me.
STEP 4 - THE PRODUCTION
I love all the parts of the custom design process but this is where I have the most fun - the creation of your piece! There are 2 ways I go about making your custom piece of jewellery:
- Fabrication - using the materials and building by hand the components of the design and putting it all together. This way usually gives the piece a bit more of a handmade look and feel.
- CAD - with the help of a computer software program, I create the design and wax model, and am able to cast in a single piece if necessary. This way gives you more of a perfect, less hand-made look and feel.
Both ways have their place and I am comfortable using both for whatever the project demands. It is in this step that the piece comes together - wax becomes metal, stones are set and I work my magic to create a beautiful interpretation of what you are hoping for.
STEP 5 - THE REVEAL
The piece is ready and you come to pick it up! Once I am confident that you also love your new custom piece, I accept the final payment and hugs and happiness ensue. The best is when someone is moved to tears because it is even more beautiful and perfect than they had imagined!
Surprises don't always work out perfectly and people can change their minds, so if your person doesn't LOVE it as much as you hoped, don't panic. Let me know and we can chat about how to remedy the situation. It is always possible for me to re-work the materials (for an additional cost) and create something new.
A few examples of my custom work. See more here.