Custom jewelry is such a special and treasured work of art to have. I think everyone should have at least one piece of jewelry that no one else in the world has! The process of designing and having a custom piece made can be confusing or mysterious (part of the allure that brought me into the world of silver and gold-smithing!) I want to help answer your questions about custom jewelry so if you've been thinking about getting a piece, you are one step closer!
In this article, "custom jewelry" will be the discussion of jewelry designed and made start to finish for the wearer by a jeweler that does not mainly or solely create wedding rings.
So, is custom jewelry more expensive?
The quick and simple answer is yes (most of the time, but stick with me because I have a simple and easy solution for you!) I'll outline the main reasons why custom jewelry costs more and then offer you a unique opportunity to keep the cost and confusion to a minimum.
Here are 4 main reasons why custom jewelry takes more time and money:
1) Custom Jewelry requires communication between you and the designer/jeweler.
Creating your vision can often take a good bit of communication back and forth between you and me. Sometimes it's difficult to see what someone else has in their head. Technology really helps with sending pictures, emails and texts! However, sometimes one of us may not always be able to respond right away and there can be pauses in communication. If I'm designing a piece on my own, it's much more efficient to make up my mind and move forward. It's kind of like when you try to get a group of people to meet for dinner. The more people you have, the more time it takes to get an agreeable time and place nailed down, but if you were to go out and grab a bite to eat by yourself you could almost go and come back in the time it takes to plan a group outing.
2) Custom pieces are made 1 at a time, so they require more time and energy.
Almost every single piece I make is a one of a kind, and every custom piece certainly is! However, when I am designing and making pieces that aren't custom, I'm able to work on multiple pieces at the same time. However, when making a custom piece, that is the only thing in my hands or on my mind. I like to think of it like making cookies (there I go with another food analogy!) It takes almost as much time to make a batch of cookies as it would to make 1 single cookie. For both, you have to get out the ingredients and tools, mix everything together, bake them, wash the dishes and clean up.
3) Custom pieces often require searching for particular gemstones or parts.
It's a funny thing. No matter how many gemstones or how much silver and gold I have on hand, I almost always need to find and order something for a custom piece. This not only takes longer to make due to searching and shipping, but it can often cost a little more to expedite or find something rare. It's almost like wanting fruit that's out of season and harder to find (there I go again!) If I'm at a gem show and an incredible Sapphire cutter has outstanding carved Sapphires, that is much easier and less expensive to work with than if someone wants a custom carved Sapphire ring and I have none on hand. Don't get me wrong! I LOVE looking for gemstones! Some are harder to find or take longer to get in my hands.
4) Custom pieces can present unique problem solving opportunities to designers.
I've made well over 2,500 pieces of totally one of a kind pieces of jewelry and I STILL run into new puzzles with designing and making a piece work. Jewelry has a unique quality to it in that is a beautiful adornment that must also function, be comfortable, and be durable. If you were to watch me in my studio before making a custom piece, you might see me sitting there thinking for quite a few moments without moving. That's when I'm taking to time to make the piece in my head so that I don't run into the problem of "Oooooops! I should have done that first!" Even so, there's no lesson like actual experience. There's no true and full way to predict how making something that's never been made before will go.It's kind of like putting a new piece of furniture together without reading the instructions. (There! That's not a food example!) No piece of jewelry I've made has come with directions on how to make it, so there's some unique problem solving!
I hope this clears up a lot of your questions or maybe even offered you some new insight into the awesome world of custom jewelry! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me, Abby! Here's where you can reach me.
So, how can custom jewelry be fun, easy, and not break the bank?
Here's 3 simple steps to custom bliss:
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Pick out your favorite gemstone/s
Have a wildly one of a kind piece made for you!