I have been chatting with friends in the business discussing the current state of “Custom Jewelry” In the industry, there are a lot of opinions on what makes a piece of jewelry custom.
Then there is the discussion of handmade custom. Maybe you don’t care who or how it was made but like anything I have written and will write, here is my opinion.
So, what makes a piece of jewelry custom? Damned if I know and I’ve been doing this for a lot of years and still don’t know what people think custom is. But I think it is a piece that is created for a person, conceived from discussions and planning between myself and a client. BUT,
I need to make it, Now I may not cast it (I admit I really suck at that) but I am going to make it. Admittedly to be custom it does not have to be made by the designer.
Once in a while, I get a request to “Create” something from a picture. Now if it is a picture from someone that has created it themselves, I say, go have them make it but many times it is a picture from someplace like Stuller (Google It) or some other mass-produced piece. Then I ask, what do you want to be changed? What do you like or dislike about it?
that’s cool if it is the piece you want but it’s not custom. I belong to several Facebook Jewelers Group and I always see posts like “Who can make this?” Uhmm you just posted a picture ask whoever made the piece in the picture to make it.
So, back to the original question. Who made it? Does it matter? Well, one thing that matters to me is a lot of “Custom Jewelry” is now made in China or other countries. Let’s face it, I can create a design, email it to China and have a casting in a couple of days a finished piece not much longer. Is it custom? It really is if it was designed just for you, but do you want your custom engagement ring or whatever it is made in a foreign country? Maybe you don’t care. No problem
But here are a few things to ask before you commit to having a piece of jewelry created for you.
- Is this creation just for me? (It does cost extra)
- Who designed it?
- Where is it being made?
- How long will it take?
Some of us bench jewelers wonder if there is still a market for truly custom jewelry. Seems like most people want a piece made as cheaply as possible. Custom jewelry is not cheap.
There are many, many hours involved in creating a piece of jewelry. When we create a piece of jewelry we design, make a wax, cast it (Hope it works) sometimes recreate it, make a wax, cast it then finish it. Setting stones etc. If we make a mistake, we make another wax, another casting and start over again. We are very proud of each piece we create for you. It is getting harder and harder to walk into a local jeweler and have a custom piece created just for you unless they are the jeweler themselves.