Choosing a custom jeweler is more complex than picking out a new sweater. After all, micro details and macro visions can change dramatically from start to finish a project.
Do your homework. Ask friends for recommendations, check out previous work, and ask about certifications and warranties.
Ask for Recommendations
Many people turn to custom jewelry in Los Angeles makers when they need help finding what they're looking for in the standard inventory. For example, they may want to make a ring with a unique design that doesn't exist, or they might need a ring made in a specific size, such as an engagement ring or wedding band.
The first step in the custom jewelry creation process involves consulting the jeweler. This is when the buyer shares their vision for the piece. They also talk about their budget and time frame. It is essential to ask the custom jeweler if they have worked on similar pieces. If so, ask for a photo or a CAD rendering of those pieces. This way, you can compare them and see if the jeweler's work is up to par. Also, look at the quality of the stone settings; they should be uniformly set and not appear too bulky.
Look at Their Work
The ability to make bespoke jewelry requires a wide range of skills. You want a jeweler with industry experience who can interpret your sketch and guide you through creating a unique piece. Ask to see examples of their work, both pictures and CAD renderings. Look at them critically to ensure rings are perfectly round, gems appear secure in their settings, and the engraving is clear and uniform.
You'll also want to find a jeweler who can make a wax model or a CAD drawing before making the final jewelry piece. This will give you a better idea of how the finished jewelry will look so you can make any revisions before it's too late. This is especially important for pieces that recreate sentimental jewelry or heirlooms that you want to be as close to the original. The jeweler should be able to tell you whether or not they can make these changes at this stage.
Look at Their Pricing
When working with a jeweler, be upfront about what your budget is. Most reputable jewelers, such as Gold 'N I Jewelers, will work with you to ensure your custom jewelry design project comes in at or below what you are comfortable spending. They may suggest changes like reducing the number of gemstones or decreasing the size of some details to bring your design concept into what is possible within your price range. Once the initial design has been refined, many jewelers will create a wax model of the piece or use CAD software to produce a 3D image. This allows the customer to see their finished product and make adjustments to ensure it is exactly what they hoped for. This stage can take weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the design, and is another factor that will add to your final cost.
Look at Their Warranty
Whether you're searching for a unique engagement ring, reshaping a broken heirloom necklace, or creating a pair of earrings inspired by your children's birthstones, custom jewelry is an investment. You'll want to ensure the jeweler you choose has a good warranty.
This is especially important if you're investing in a piece that can only be replaced if recovered or stolen. Look for a local, independent jeweler who offers jewelry insurance or security to ensure your new custom jewelry will be protected against the unexpected.
Once you've met with your designer and agreed on a final design, it will take time to create the model for the final piece of jewelry and produce the actual piece itself. Understanding the timeline and process before you commit to a particular jeweler is helpful so there are no surprises along the way. Also, if something goes wrong during the production phase, you'll know exactly who to contact to make the necessary corrections.