Unleashing Creativity: 10 Things to consider for Custom Jewelry Design

You've decided to go the custom route, EXCITING! We love custom and even if you're going with another designer (we hope it's us), here are some helpful things to consider.

  1. Custom jewelry allows you to design according to your unique vision and preferences. Not everything can be found online. If you have an idea you've endlessly searched for and cannot find, stop stressing yourself out, you're most likely the perfect candidate for custom jewelry design. If there are elements of something you like but not other part of it, save the image and circle the parts you do like. Take a try at sketching, it doesn't have to be perfect but at least it will give us a starting point/reference.

  2. Before consulting with a jewelry designer, explore different jewelry styles and materials to understand your style and narrow down your preferences. We encourage everyone to shop in person at all the places. Visit many shops and try on jewelry and see what feels the most complimentary to no just what you think is your style but the shape and size of your fingers. This will give you confidence in moving forward with your ideas.

  3. Reach out to designers whose style aligns with yours to inquire about the custom process and price range. This is important, you want to know that your designer will run with your ideas and execute them in a way that puts your mind at ease. Knowing you love their work will add a level of excitement and flow between you and your chosen designer. Typically if you are into their work, they will likely be able to tie loose ends on ideas you have or can make suggestions to improve upon them that you'll actually be excited about.

  4. Once you've chosen a designer, ask them about their process. Will they present design sketches and/or possibly create a 3D CAD rendering to give you a better idea of the final design? A very important part to consider when working with a designer are how they use visual aids in the design process. You do not want to be surprised with a design that looks nothing like what you've discussed, you want to be confident in your design before it goes into production. We do a mix of bare bones sketches, full 3-D designs, sometimes we use gel boxes to play with stone placement, as well as PDF's to scale that you can print at home to cut out and "try-on". Some more complicated designs require a 3-D wax, which we do offer for some design projects. We make sure you have the aids needed to be confident in the finished piece.

  5. Timeline, this is an important one! Do you have the time to even consider going custom? When do you need this piece done by? The custom design process typically takes a few weeks. Factor in time for your designer to shop for your stone, for you to chose your stone, for actual design to be sketched or 3-D produced. Then leave time to make any necessary edits. Also factor in the actual production time. Production can take a month or more depending on how complicated your design is or how many clients are before you. So plan accordingly and give the designer more than enough time (really as much time as you possibly can) to source materials and create the piece. You and the designer should be able to enjoy the process together and short turn around times can sometimes steal the joy out of the creative flow. Reminder: You also have to sync your schedule with your designers schedule too. Sometimes even getting an appointment may take time due to the time of year and the demand of your designers work.

  6. Does your budget allow for custom? The cost of a custom jewelry varies based on the designer and materials chosen. Designers can work with your budget to find high-quality gemstones within your price range. To figure out what yours may cost- reference the designers website for similar looks. If you can't find any, search similar designers and their prices. Do keep in mind that big box jewelers mass produce their jewelry and are able to offer much lower prices. These are not good references for bespoke pieces where the designer is catering to you and designing something that will not be mass produced. Consider the time and attention given to you and your design as well. Plus, It's worth the extra cost to invest in someone who's in love with what they do. You will feel the difference in your experience as a whole. Trust me on this. We small shop designers appreciate your business more than you will ever know. Good vibes only.

  7. Research designers and figure out if they match your design esthetic. When choosing a jewelry designer, it always helps to follow their social media channels to understand their process or review other work they have done. Not all jewelers post their work to their personal website. This will give you the best idea on what kind of work they produce on their social media. 

  8. Do the work BEFORE your consult. Get the most out of your experience and do your homework. Have a clear idea of what you want before consulting with a designer and trust their advice and expertise when it comes to what is possible within your budget. Not having a clear idea and making several changes to the design and or budget usually come with fees since they require more labor/design time. Save yourself the headache of dragging out your design time and paying for more work than you want to.  

  9. I feel like this one is obvious, but it happens to often so I have to say it. Avoid asking a designer to copy another designer's work. While you can use other's work as inspiration, it's best to create a unique design that reflects your personal style. Make personal tweaks or pull some inspiration from several designers to create your own vision board. This is helpful, but do not ask a designer to straight out copy another. It insults the designer and infringement on other people's worth is ethically not cool. 

  10. Do not ask too many people their opinion. Too many times people have consulted family or friends about their ideas and instead of encouraging their personal style they too often stifle it. Only share with someone who shares your style. Moms and Mother-in-laws for instance, have typically talked many custom clients of mine, out of their original ideas and converted their personal style to those of whom they asked advice from. What matters is the design and style preferences are of yours or the person you are designing for. That's the entire reason you're going with custom, so always keep that in mind. 

We wish you the best of luck with whomever you chose for your custom piece, but we would love to be that person for you! If you're interested in working with us, here's a link to get started: https://www.kingandcurated.com/pages/custom-design-questionnaire

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