I hope this post will help for those you are interested in starting a custom jewelry design project with me!
Q1: Why custom design?
Ans: Custom design jewelry is a great way to celebrate your life’s journeys, such as an engagement, wedding, anniversaries, or even a redesign of heirloom jewelry. Custom-designed jewelry is original and allows you to tell your unique story. Custom pieces of jewelry can include engagement rings, wedding bands, heirloom jewelry redesign, and custom design for special occasions.
Q2: How long does a custom jewelry design order normally take?
Ans: Generally speaking, from initial consultation and brainstorming to final delivering, it takes around three to six weeks.
Q3: What is the process? What should I expect?
Ans: After you contact me, we will schedule a thirty minute to one hour initial consultation via email, Skype, Facetime, or in person where you will give me all the essential information I need to begin the design process. Soon after this consultation I typically provide four to six hand-drawn sketches. Depending on the project I may also use a CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawing to enhance and ensure visual communication.
At this stage you are welcome and encouraged to add ideas or makes changes to the design. My goal is always to make my customers happy and feel confident in the final design before we moving forward. Please note: I will not continue to the next step until I receive your final approval (Email with final design attached). This stage may take anywhere from three business days to two weeks.
Based on the final design I determine the best fabrication method for your design. Often, with a simple design, I can hand-fabricate the entire piece in my studio. However, if the design is more complex I will create a wax model of the design and have it cast in the material of your choice before I perform the final fabrication. This step may take anywhere from five business days to two weeks.
After hand-fabricating or casting I polish the jewelry, set the stones, and give it a final touch before the piece is delivered to you. This step might take anywhere from five business days up to two weeks.
Lastly, my favorite part: Watching that magical moment when your eyes brighten as you hold the final piece in your hands. A design dream come true!
Q4: How much does custom jewelry cost?
Ans: There are several factors that may affect the price of a custom piece of jewelry. However, custom jewelry can cost less than you might expect depending on the materials and design. Of course, it is more costly than mass produced. I believe that custom jewelry is worth the time, money, and effort in order to get a quality piece, made just the way you want it. The time invested in design, labor, and production are what makes custom jewelry more expensive than ready-made. Normally I ask that clients give me an estimated budget so that I can suggest appropriate materials and designs. This ensures that we avoid any unexpected costs.
Q5: What is the source of the diamonds and color gemstones?
Ans: Most of the diamonds and gemstones come from reputable jewelry suppliers such as Stuller and Rio Grande, and all diamonds are conflict-free. I can also work with diamonds and gemstones from provided by clients, such as heirloom jewelry.
Q6: How will I know what ring size to order?
Ans: I can send you a plastic ring sizer once we start the project.
Q7: I really like HTY Jewelry’s style but I do not live in Raleigh or the Triangle area. Can I conduct the custom jewelry design process with the designer remotely?
Ans: I have had the opportunity to help clients from outside of North Carolina to design the perfect piece of custom jewelry including Virginia, DC, Baltimore, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and even outside of United States such as Australia, France, Korea, and Taiwan. We communicated the design process via email, Skype, and even Facebook. Finished pieces are only shipped with insurance using UPS Domestic/International Express Shipping.
Q8: Do you accept trade-in pieces? How would this work?
Ans: I am able to recycle your gold or platinum pieces to up to 85% of the weight value. You can deduct this value from the total cost of the custom jewelry fee.
Q9: I saw a ring by another designer. Can you make a copy for me with my diamond?
Ans: I do not copy another designer's work. Legally, this practice is prohibited. Ethically, as a designer of unique pieces myself, copying another designer’s work is not part of my core values . Certainly, though, if you would like to have a design in a certain motif, style, feeling, or perhaps with the same essence expressed by an example you found, we can certainly design a new piece that meets your expectations.
Also, some designs are termed "generic" and are simple and widespread enough that no one can claim ownership of them. For example, a simple comfort-fit ring band with matte or hammered finish or a solitaire 14k white gold engagement ring prong set with a brilliant cut diamond. These designs I can recreate.
Q10: What metals do you work with?
I work with precious metals: Platinum, palladium (a platinum group metal), 18 karat yellow gold, 18 karat white gold, 14 karat yellow gold, 14 karat white gold, 14 karat palladium white gold, 14 karat rose gold, and sterling silver.
These metals offer the workability and durability needed for the artistic creation of fine jewelry. I work with them using fabrication, casting, reticulation, hand-engraving, and advanced stone setting techniques. Sometimes I create wax models for casting using CAD and CAM (computer assisted manufacturing) mentioned above. I always finish and detail the pieces by hand.
Q11: Do you work in Titanium?
I do not work in industrial metals: stainless steel, tungsten, titanium, niobium, and so on because they require industrial techniques and machining. A jewelry designer’s studio produces pieces in precious metals; a factory produces pieces in industrial metal.