5 Simple Steps to Custom Jewelry Design
Story time: Two years ago, we custom designed an engagement ring with soon to be married couple, Jaclyn and Parker (read their adorable proposal story here). We were so excited when they recently came back to design Jaclyn's custom wedding ring to perfectly match the curve of her engagement ring. Her wedding ring turned out gorgeous - we'll show you, don't worry, but we also took pictures of the design process so you could get a real look at how custom jewelry design goes down, with real people, and five simple steps.
1. Come in with an Idea
You don't have to know exactly what you want, but it helps to have inspiration or a guiding force before meeting with your jeweler. Use Pinterest to find and save images of jewelry pieces you like, or tear pages out of magazines the old fashioned way. If you don't know where to start on Pinterest, we have an Engagement Rings board and Jewelry board with design ideas to get you inspired.
You can also sketch your own design, or a specific part of the design you haven't see anywhere else. Your custom jeweler can put all the pieces together. Either way, bring your inspiration in when you meet with your jeweler so they can start to understand the jumping off point. Some questions to consider when thinking about your piece:
- Do you want a stone in your custom jewelery piece?
- If so, what color or type of stone do you want?
- What type of metal do you like?
- What is your budget?
- Simple or detailed design?
- When do you need your custom piece by? The process can take from 4 weeks+ depending on complexity
- What don't you like / what do you know you don't want in your design?
- Is this a delicate piece you'll wear for special occasions or something you'll wear everyday?
- Remember to bring in your saved photos to share!
2. Meet with your Custom Jeweler
This is where the fun happens and you'll start to see your custom jewelry design come to life. When you meet with your jeweler, they'll ask you questions similar to what we've prepared you with above. Be honest with your budget, and share your design inspiration photos. Cost can vary greatly depending on type of stone, detail work, type of metal, and how much metal. Remember to tell your jeweler what you don't like in design from the start! As you share your ideas your jeweler may start rough sketching concepts for your piece and you can try on pieces in the store to get an idea for what feels right. You'll also find out your ring size if you're making a ring.
If you want stones in your ring, your jeweler will provide a vast array of options for you to choose from based on your given parameters like stone type, shade, quality, shape and size. This will most likely happen on a separate visit, unless you've planned ahead with your jeweler.
3. Be Open to Suggestions
Your jeweler will make suggestions throughout the design process, stay true to what you know you want and be open to changes that could make your piece even better. At the end of the day, we want to create what will make you happy, but we also need the piece to fit your budget, and be structurally sound, so it can become the forever lasting heirloom it was meant to be.
4. Approve your Stone and Sketch
While you're meeting with your jeweler, they'll do a rough sketch based on what you tell them and the inspiration photos you bring in. Once you leave, they'll most likely do a fresh sketch adding final notes and drawing more to scale than the rough sketch. If your jeweler uses CAD (Computer Aided Design) they might also show you a mechanical rendering of your custom jewelry piece before it's complete. Once you've approved the final design and stones for your custom piece, the jeweler get's started.
5. Take Home your Custom Jewelry
Now that you've made final approvals, your jeweler will get to work on creating your custom piece. If your jeweler's like us, they may fabricate at the bench - something we do often. This means we create your piece completely by hand, working the metal until it's just right, no molds allowed. Your jeweler might also use a CAD program to print a wax and then cast it or they may hand carve the wax for your piece. If a mold is used, the piece will then be cast in metal, stones and final details will be added, and your custom jewelry piece will be ready for pickup.
It's that simple, maybe not THAT simple for your jeweler, but for you, it's that simple. Options are endless. Whether your grandma's old ring is yearning for a refresh or you want something completely new and original, we have a full atelier in house ready to take on your most elaborate ideas, and a design team ready to guide you in the right direction.
Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry
10307 Santa Monica Blvd,
Century City, 90025
Monday - Friday: 10:30 AM - 5 PM
Saturday by appointment
Stop by to shop or give us a call: 310-278-4792