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The Complete Guide to Buying Custom Jewelry

Published date: April 6, 2017


Whether you’re searching for the perfect engagement ring, yearning for a new diamond necklace, or trying to find earrings to match an outfit, the pre-designed jewelry at the store often does not meet your needs. There’s no reason to try and settle for something sub-par when you could easily have a piece custom-designed with you in mind. If you’re committed to a unique piece, then you’ll need to know exactly what the process entails before diving in.

Do Research on Designers

Before you settle on a design or jeweler, it’s vital to do the research necessary to know exactly what you want. Just because a company is renowned for selling fine jewelry does not mean they excel at creating fine jewelry.

There are many different companies out there that will offer to create you a custom piece. Not all of them will be good at it. To find the best options, look for stores that employ certified jewelers, as this shows they are masters of their craft. There are a number of organizations they might have certifications from, such as the American Gem Society, Jewelers of America, American Watchmakers Association, or the Gemological Institute of America. Additionally, check out reviews of the store online to see how other customers rated their custom jewelry design experience.

Look Up Jewelry Designs

Choosing a store isn’t the only thing to research, as you’ll also need to get a better idea of what kind of jewelry you want. Some of this will be covered in the consultation, but do preliminary investigating to decide your preferred gemstone setting, band, metal, and more. If you possible, find pictures of similar jewelry you like and want to recreate.

If you’d like a more meaningful ring, also investigate ways to incorporate your personality or inspiration into it, such as adding a pop of color or a special filigree finish.

Choose a Budget

Depending on how many customizations you want, jewelry design can get a bit expensive. In fact, some pieces can be up to three times more expensive as a ring off the shelf. This is because they require more time and labor to complete.

Therefore, before letting your heart run wild with lavish design, let your brain hold you back so that your finances don’t get out of control. Most reputable jewelers can give you a ballpark estimate based on your ideas so that you can have a better idea of what you expect to spend.

Consider Your Timeline

Obviously, custom jewelry takes some time to complete. You won’t be able to order it and pick it up the next day. While it varies between jewelers, an average timeline might take two to three weeks for completion, while more complex projects might take up to six weeks.

Because of this, definitely give yourself a buffer period of a couple months between when you order and when you need the jewelry, just in case things move on the slower end. As long as you plan ahead, there should be no issues.

Prepare for Consultation Time

At the consultation, this is where your research will really come in handy. Bring all of the images you sketched as well as some pictures of the elements you absolutely do not want in your jewelry.

By giving your consultant an exact idea of what you want, they can start coming up with design sketches for you to peruse. This will go a step beyond a simple estimate and provide you with the exact cost and timeline of the project.

Many retailers also provide a CAD or wax model of the piece after the design concept is finalized. This is a great feature to look for in a jeweler, as it gives you a much better idea of what the final piece will look like, allowing you to request changes if there’s something you dislike. Since you’re making a quality investment, you want to ensure the finished product is exactly like you dreamed.

Sign a Contract

While you might have complete trust in the jeweler you’ve chosen to design your jewelry, it’s still important to protect your investment. That’s why you should sign a contract before any work is done so that there won’t be any discrepancies when it comes to the finished product.

A contract will help to guarantee that the price, required elements, and delivery date are all to your pre-discussed satisfaction. If the final result is less than you expected and you have a contract to prove it, that will make getting alterations or a refund much simpler.

Think About Repair Issues

Custom-designed jewelry will also need custom repairs in the event of any misfortune. To prepare yourself for any damage to the ring, make sure you keep your receipts from the original purchase, as this will be your proof of value for the repair’s shop insurance.

Because your custom jewelry is one-of-a-kind, it’s important to choose a jeweler that won’t make an irrevocable mistake in the repair process. Going back to the person that created the ring might be the best option, as they will be able to make the safest alterations.

Wear and Enjoy

Once your ring or other piece of jewelry is done, there’s nothing left but to sit back and enjoy its beauty. Relish in the fact that you have a truly unique piece of jewelry that can become an heirloom for future generations.

Ready to get started on your custom-designed jewelry? With over 25 years of fine jewelry expertise, Janviér Jewelers can craft a magnificent work of art just for you. Visit our store or call us at (302) 366-7448 to get started on your custom jewelry design.