The Girlfriend's Guide to Jewellery

by Anne Wallner Rss
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26: Handmade

Having a one of a kind custom designed piece of jewellery made for you is the most personal and most expensive way to create a piece of jewellery. In a sense, it could be regarded as the choice of last resort. If you can’t find anything to your liking or if you have particular stones you want set, the option of having a custom made piece may be your only answer. The process may begin with a rough sketch. From there, as your ideas firm up, a more finished rendering may be next or perhaps next, a wax model. Basically what you are having made will follow a very similar path as making a master for commercial reproduction only in your case there will be no copies made. As your project advances, because is it a custom piece, you must be aware that almost anything is possible. When you ask to change details, add stones or choose larger stones, choose a heavier version of your original idea or upgrade the karat of the piece your designer will rarely say ‘no’. But remember, as you make these changes, each change or addition can have a major impact on the price. It is best to set a budget at the outset and make your limits clear to your designer. It will save you both a lot of time, help prevent misunderstandings and help keep your project on budget.

If you and your designer are working from an original sketch be sure to discuss the details and subtleties of your design as your project progresses. All of these should be defined by the time your design is executed. It may take a couple of tries to ‘get it right’. Sometimes it is actually easier to see and say what you don’t like than it is to verbalize exactly what it is you do want but through a process of elimination gradually the piece of your dreams will start to come to life before your eyes. You should realize that when you bring your own stones to be set you are also bringing along certain limitations. Slight variances in shape and measurement may impose certain physical restrictions in terms of symmetry, setting heights and angles. That does not mean you cannot have the design you want but it may mean you need to leave your micrometer at home. On the other hand, when you have stones that are not an exact match a hand made piece can accommodate these slight variances and compensate for difference with slight adjustments to the size of the settings. If you are a person who loves ‘perfection’ hand made may not be the solution for you. ‘Hand made’will often show a ‘human touch’; that is, there may be slight variances in symmetry or finish.

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