Custom Jewellery Design
The custom design process is totally unique.
I listen to my clients, find out where they’re coming from in life, what they hope to see happen in my workshop. The goal is to craft a piece that holds meaning, that serves a purpose, whether it’s to hold a cherished memory or make a bold statement, my clients are often surprised and gratified to find it so wholly personal. As a designer and maker, creating jewellery for an individual is challenging, satisfying work.
Important jewellery is symbolic: an engagement ring is a hopeful promise, a statement for the future. Wedding rings symbolize eternity in their unbroken circles, speaking of the highest personal commitment we can make to another. Pendants are often given as gifts on important occasions; and family jewellery, set with birthstones of parents and children, are reminders of our first and most formative relationships.
The process of creating custom jewellery is so personal, so emotional…As well as the technical decisions, such as size, or the type of metal, customers’ thoughts, feelings, memories and stories inform the process of designing just the right piece.
Using Old Gold to Make New Jewellery
People often come to me with old engagement rings, parents’ wedding rings or other inherited sentimental jewellery, from which we create brilliant, new pieces that incorporate not only the materials but the feelings of the previous pieces. Making a new piece of jewellery from old ones can help you honour the past while embracing the present. The act of creation, I have found, is also one of healing. To find more info on using your own gold or gemstones please go to Use Your Old Gold and Gemstones page.
How I Make Jewellery
The creation process starts by hearing from you; from this website, by email, phone or dropping in to the shop. You have something in mind: an event to commemorate, a relationship to celebrate. You probably know you’d like to create a ring, bracelet, pendant or brooch. Booking an appointment with me, either by Skype, phone, email or in person begins the journey to the creation of your customized piece.
You may have old, unworn jewellery you would like to recycle into a new piece. We can weigh the gold and determine if there is enough to make the piece we want, or if more may need to be added. Gemstones can also be recycled from old jewellery, or you can purchase different stones. By the end of our design consultation, you will have a general idea of what the cost will be, and if I can’t provide you with a quote on the spot, I will email you one for your approval.
At our first meeting, as we talk, I begin a sketch–by hand. Computer-aided design can’t replace the nuances of that created by the human hand.
With your input, we create the jewellery, incorporating design elements and materials that fit your esthetic and the meaning of your piece. We decide on the types of metal (silver, gold, platinum), the gemstones and the size of the finished piece. At this point, we may decide to meet once more for you to see the carved wax model and make sure it’s the way you want it.
I like to work by sand casting, a technology dating back more than 3,000 years, to Mesopotamia. In my workshop, I design the piece, then carve a wax model. I press the wax into sand, where it leaves a precise impression once it’s removed. The negative space is where your custom piece will be formed.
I melt the gold, silver or platinum using a torch, until the metal glows and flares in the crucible. When it is molten, I pour it into the sand mold. Once the piece has cooled and been extracted from the mold, the casting is “cleaned.” The “sprue”, where the metal was introduced into the mold, must be cut off;
finishes and textures created;
granulation or a dusting of gold applied;
patterns or engraving applied by hand;
and the final steps of polishing and cleaning completed.
Once you are happy with the initial design, you pay a deposit of half the value of the finished piece. The second payment takes place when the piece is completed. Depending on the time of year and the number of custom orders I receive, your personalized piece of jewellery will be completed in 6-8 weeks.
Ready to get started on a special piece made just for you?
Fill out the Custom Request Form and I’ll get back to you within 24hrs. Once we narrow down design possibilities I’ll be happy to send you personalized drawings and quotes.
Need design inspiration? Go to Custom Jewellery Portfolio.
I look forward to hearing from you!