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The Custom Jewelry Design Process

11 mins read time
The Custom Jewelry Design Process

There are infinite opportunities to express love in the form of fine jewelry. Perhaps you’re keen on presenting your partner with a personalized ring when you pop the question. Maybe your little sister is finishing college, and you’d like to gift her with an exquisite, engraved necklace that crystallizes her achievements.

Whatever the case may be, jewelry acquires a whole new level of meaning when it’s custom designed.

Whether you’re designing a piece for yourself or a loved one, crafting custom jewelry requires several stages, from ideation to manufacturing. By illuminating the steps in between, you can start getting inspired to make your first radiant creation.

What is Custom Designed Jewelry?

Custom designed jewelry refers to pieces that are conceived and designed by an inspired individual, often with the guidance of a professional jewelry designer.

People typically design custom jewelry in two scenarios:

  • They want to update an existing piece of jewelry, like a family heirloom or vintage piece, with modern elements and custom touches
  • They want to create a brand new piece of jewelry with sparkle all its own

Because jewelry design requires specialty knowledge of metals, value, construction, and so on, a seasoned jeweler is an invaluable collaborator in this process. They’ll help you take a kernel of a concept into a final product that dazzles.

From Inspiration to Creation: 6 Stages of the Custom Jewelry Process

Every jewelry maker follows their own process to design custom jewelry. That said, most customization procedures include the following six phases.

#1 Envision Your Dream Piece

The first phase should determine the shape and style of the final piece. You can start by creating a rough sketch of the piece you’d like to design. If you’re not much of an artist, collect photos of jewelry you admire (as well as the sources where you found them) for reference as you build your vision.

Remember, most any type of jewelry can be customized, but some of the most common pieces to create are:

  • Rings
  • Earrings
  • Necklaces
  • Bracelets

In some cases, you may feel fresh out of inspiration. Or, you’re looking to craft a piece that a partner, friend, or loved one would genuinely adore—and you haven’t the faintest idea of their tastes.

Jewelry designers are indispensable allies in this department. They can help guide you towards:

  • Current trends in jewelry design
  • Ageless designs that can be worn proudly for a lifetime
  • Design possibilities you may not have known about

#2 Define Your Preferred Budget

Your budget will be one of the main determinants of your final product. The price of a custom-made piece of jewelry depends on a handful of factors, including:

  • The type of metal used
  • The stones you will have inlaid
  • The complexity of the design

Again, jewelry designers can be a wonderful support for ensuring your budget and your vision align. If the idea you’re chasing isn’t in your budget, they’ll help you lay out alternatives that are.

Moreover, if your heart is set on a custom design that’s beyond your means, many designers and manufacturers offer flexible financing options.

#3 Refine Your Focus

The deeper you move into the process, the more likely it is the details of your piece will change. For a little guidance, here are four areas you can tinker with as you refine your vision:

  • Metals – The precious metal for custom-made jewelry piece vary widely. Sterling silver, titanium, platinum, rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, and black gold—all are possibilities, and all have varying levels of durability and value. Getting acquainted with the differences between metals (like 10K vs. 24K gold) will help you stay on budget and appreciate your design even more.

  • Stones – From sparkling sapphires to radiant diamonds, options for precious stones are endless in custom pieces. If you’re not sure which colored gemstone is for your finished piece, consider choosing your choice of stones based on what you (or the recipient) value most. For instance, sapphires are considered a symbol of deep romance and desire. If environmental ethics are important to you, consider opting for conflict-free or lab-designed diamonds.

  • Cuts – The cut of the stones you select is crucial for achieving the value and look you want. A diamond or lab-created diamond’s cut determines the quality and degree of light reflected—known as its brightness, fire, and scintillation (beautiful, no?)1

  • For instance, princess diamonds are particularly brilliant with a romantic feel. But round cuts tend to disperse more light, scattering multiple colors from across the color spectrum.2 Each unique shape has its subtleties that can make you fall in love with your custom piece even more.

  • Use and wear – If it’s not an engagement or wedding ring, ask if your custom-designed piece will be worn regularly. Or will it be your or your loved one’s go-to piece for special occasions? This, too, will shape and inform your design.

  • #4 Bring In Your Professional Designer

    Whether you’ve arrived at a concrete design or you’re still experimenting with ideas, it’s time to share your thoughts with a professional to start manifesting your custom piece into reality.

    Every manufacturer has its own protocol for launching the process. At Noémie, we like to meet you by asking you to complete a Custom Design Form. This form reviews the basics, such as:

    • Your preferred budget
    • The type of piece you have in mind
    • The fit you will need
    • Any design details you’re contemplating

    You can also share the photos and website links you’ve been saving, so our designers have a sense of what your idea looks like. Achieving the piece of your dreams is important to us, so the more specific you can be, the better. And since we’re lifelong jewelry lovers, our team of designers is always happy to offer their thoughts and counsel!

    Once your custom design request has been received, a member of our team—or the jewelry maker you’ve chosen to work with—will reach out to you about next steps.

    #5 Collaborate on Your Vision

    Once we’ve gotten acquainted, one of our designers will send out a creation package for you to review. This will include:

  • A sketch of your design – A handcrafted sketch will enable you to make amendments before production begins. You’re encouraged to be honest and straightforward about the changes you’d like to see, and ask any questions as they arise.

  • Pricing details – The estimated price of your custom piece. You’ll also get to see the cost of labor and materials used so that you can give us your approval.

  • Once you’ve started to see your piece come to life, our designer will provide you with a final design and cost. After we’ve gotten your approval, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see your idea manifest into a palpable piece!

    #6 Try it On for Size

    To us, your satisfaction is paramount. We want you to feel like you’re unearthing a hidden treasure with every Noémie piece you receive. To start, that means ensuring a proper fit, whether it’s for you or a loved one—so try on your custom piece for size! We can help you find your ring size for your customized wedding rings.

    If you find that it misses the mark, don’t fret: We supply our customers with complimentary resizings, exchanges, and returns (yes, even on pieces you’ve designed!)

    How Long Does Custom Jewelry Take?

    A gorgeous piece of custom designed jewelry will bring you or a loved one delight for decades to come—but it shouldn’t take decades to make!

    In most cases, creating a custom piece hinges on:

    • A designer’s current workload
    • The intricacy of the design
    • The availability of materials
    • The time it takes to secure your approval

    At Noémie, we pride ourselves in delivering the finished piece to you between 1 and 6 weeks.

    Where Can I Draw Design Inspiration?

    We adore this question, since even the most accomplished artists and designers rely on their muses for inspiration.

    Our design process usually starts with the following sources of creativity:

  • The tastes of a loved one – From a friend’s ability to pull off any outfit to frequent reminiscings about the elegance of your mother’s closet, qualities we admire in others are the same ones want to manifest in ourselves. Creating a custom piece of jewelry is a wonderful symbol of our goals, what we value, and what feels truest to the soul.

  • Elements in nature – Every landscape, season, or place has its colors, textures, and associations. You may be moved by a waving field of yellow corn around the fall harvest. Or maybe the swirling blues, greens, and greys of an overcast ocean horizon. Nature speaks to us through its essences, any of which could be replicated in a beautiful piece of custom jewelry.

  • A sense of curiosity – The most inspired pieces are faithful to a sense of mystery and curiosity. How do unexpected gemstone pairings play against one another? What happens when you change the texture of your metal, or the cut of your conflict-free stone? Whether you’re designing for a specific occasion (like an engagement) or a gift you give to yourself, a truly beautiful piece helps you tell a story, even as it unfolds.

  • Craft a Captivating Piece with Noemie

    Feeling that familiar itch of inspiration? We want to craft your next custom piece with you.

    Whether we’re designing our next collection or crafting a piece just for you, Noémie’s talented designers are inspired to create pieces every wearer will cherish. We’re committed to brave, graceful designs, high-quality materials, and end products that will leave a lasting impression.

    Start making some magic with a custom jewelry design from Noémie, and enjoy the treasures of your masterpiece for a lifetime.


    Sources:

    1. GIA. Diamond cut.https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/diamond-cut/
    2. Gem Society. Different Diamond Shapes: Ultimate Guide with Size & Price Chart. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/diamond-shapes-price-size/