How to start a custom jewelry job. It sounds easy, but is far from it. Custom jewelry is not the first time buyer, or even a second time buyer. Creating a one off, personal piece of jewelry is a time consuming, and expensive process. Anyone (or store) who tells you otherwise either does not do much custom work, or the work they do is not the quality is not what you are looking for (you should run away, fast).
Whether you purchase your custom piece with us, or someone else, there are a few things you should know before hand. There is potentially more to this list, but we think these are the 4 most important things to keep in mind.
1. This is not an investment
Lots of jewelry can (and is) considered an investment. It is one of the few items in life that can be expensive initially, but years later still be worth money.
Custom jewelry DOES NOT fall into this category. Custom jewelry is, and should, cost more than standard gold jewelry in a store front. This piece is one off, for you. Design and renderings will generally cost a minimum of $200 (and go up from there).
Labor is going to be much higher, a jeweler (often more than one) will be working only on your piece for weeks/months. Do you want diamonds? Good diamond setters are not easy, or cheap to come by.
And once again this jeweler is working solely on your piece.
With all those added costs you will get nowhere near what you paid if you go to sell the piece. The jewelry store/pawn shop you try to sell your piece at is buying it for the price of scrap gold, they have no value in the design of the piece.
2. Patience is key
Custom work is not fast, nor should it be. Right off the bat you have to have the piece designed by a graphic designer. Chances are you are not the only project they have. There is probably a reason if a graphic designer has no work.
The jeweler(s) working on your piece have never worked on that piece before, its custom. You want them to take their time to be sure everything is correct. Rushing your jeweler will almost always lead to issues with your piece.
There is always a chance the design will need changes, pieces may need to be recast, diamonds reset, along with many other setbacks.
If you have to have the piece by a certain time, don't buy a custom piece!
3. Initial prices are estimates
The first price you get from a jeweler is likely a rough estimate. We take all the initial information you give (photos, desired sizes, estimated weights, etc) and give a quote based on prior jobs. Just keep in mind prior jobs, are not YOUR job. We have to do the rendering to confirm the rough idea.
Once we have the rendering we can confirm the ESTIMATE. But please keep in mind the estimate is still... an estimate. A graphic rendering is a computer simulated model. That rendering leads to molds. Those molds lead to a casted piece. That casted piece is then hand finished.
Each of those steps can end up slightly altering the final weight. Nearly all jewelry stores will have to charge you for any difference in weight (unless they charge very high to account for that potential extra weight), or refund you if lighter.
4. Be 100% sure you want to make your idea, a reality.
This may seem obvious, but it is something people often do not think of. Be sure you like everything about your idea before moving forward with a custom piece of jewelry. Custom work is almost never going to be returnable or exchangeable. The piece could come out 100% like you idea and design, but if it was not something you loved from the beginning you may end up feeling buyers remorse. NOT because the piece is not what you had wanted then, or because it is not what the design was, but because you just are not crazy about the design any longer.
If you have a tendency to get tired of things quickly, custom work may not be the right thing for you. Now if you have the money, and do not care about paying for labor, by all means get another piece made. This just stems back to our first point of this article, do not get into custom work as an investment.
To wrap everything up. Custom work can be incredibly fun, it can give you the opportunity to design and create an idea yourself. As long as you remember it is not an investment, patience is key, and everything is an estimate, you should end up with an awesome piece with meaning, sure to last a lifetime!
If YOU want to get your custom pendant or ring started, shoot us an email. Our amazing team of jewelry experts will help you create your masterpiece!
Shown above is a customers initial photos submitted for custom design along with desired weight and size of the piece.
Shown above is the 3D digital rendering as well as the design being printed in our 3D printer.
Shown above is the final product of our custom, 70g, egyptian medallion.
Kyle has spent years working not only with jewelers, but with customers. He knows what customers are looking for and how to translate that to the jewelers to create the perfect piece! By handling all custom pieces since 2018 at Lirys, he understands the process better than most.
Checkout our YouTube video on the rendering and design process