Custom Jewelry: Design & Process

custom-jewelryInspiration for design is everywhere. It may come at unexpected moments and from unexpected directions. Color, texture, heft, feel…the smooth curve of beach worn granite…a moment, an era, a lifetime.

The thing that draws me to expression in precious metals through custom jewelry, is the adaptability of these metals to most any design consideration. From moonlit tropical beach scenes to a Hopi wedding shawl or ancient Chinese pottery designs, virtually anything that interests you may serve as a starting point. This can include lifestyle, hobbies, shared activities, or aesthetic attractions. For one client who grew up surfing near Dana Point in California we depicted the way waves break at that location. For another, a shooting star over a moonlit mountain lake. Designs can be boldly representational, such as a specific rosebud or architecture, or subtly suggestive like the vague forms clouds make in the summer sky. Precious metals such as gold, platinum, and silver can do it. Anything is possible. Tell me your stories, and I’ll make something special for you or someone you love.

Custom Jewelry Process

We may utilize office visits, email, phone conversations, online conferencing, and digital imaging to communicate frequently during the entire process. Simple sketching may be useful in the beginning but generally, after establishing a design direction I will either hand carve in wax, or create in a CAD application, a 3-dimensional prototype for your inspection. This inspection may be done with digital imaging or I can send you a relatively durable model for your personal inspection. With the three-dimensional prototype, you will be able to really get a “feel” for the object we are making. In addition, I can normally mount any gemstone that we are incorporating in the design into model so you can actually see how the gem will work in the design.

custom-jewelry-cadBecause we work together on concept, the first viewing of your model may (and often does) result in approval of the design. Sometimes however, we will get close but perhaps not exactly what you have visualized. At that point your honest feedback will help me revise the model to better suit your vision. We will go through this feedback loop as many times as it takes to arrive at the final revision. My flat design and production fee essentially buys as much time as it takes to make it right for you.

Upon approval of the design, through the magic of the lost-wax casting process, the final model revision actually becomes the finished metal object. What you see in the model is truly what you get in the finished project – be it gold, silver, or platinum.

When the handcrafted design is approved for completion, I can generally calculate the finished price for your project by using a wax to metal ratio and at that time I can lock in your material costs. Please see our pricing and policies page for further info on this topic.

Stress Free Custom Jewelry

If you are committed to the idea of a personal project, such as wedding rings, but have not yet arrived at a specific idea of what you want, it may help initially to consider the design process one of elimination because sometimes it is easier to know for sure what you don’t want than what you do want! Answering a few very basic questions may prove enlightening and I like to think about both lifestyle and aesthetics in this initial stage.

Is this object one that will be worn every day, like most commitment rings, gold wedding bands and engagement rings?
Will the piece include gems?
Do you like bulky or more delicate things?
Do you like swoops and curves or do you favor lines and angles?
Do you like the sturdy feel of a solid design or do you prefer openness?
Middle ground is an acceptable answer. And you can see how, five or six questions later, we may not yet know exactly how the piece will look, but we know enough to get a direction for our design process. Usually, at that point I can offer some initial design ideas and we can continue to refine the piece as necessary.

As a celebrated Goldsmith with over 40 years of working with people I have observed that most people end up feeling the design process is both enjoyable and rewarding, even if it seemed a little overwhelming at first!

Your Jewelry: Just in Time

On average, my custom process takes from 6-8 weeks. It can vary greatly however depending on a variety of factors including but not limited to complexity, your preferred payment options and in some cases, availability of gem materials.

I invite you to request a quote by either calling 541-729-2531 or filling out our Custom Quote Request Form.

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