The Sixteen Steps to Your Custom Jewelry Design
Jumping Horses and Jewelry Design. This Santa Barbara Jewelry designer loved riding and jumping horses as a teen. I galloped on the Santa Barbara beaches, jumped fallen trees and lived and breathed horses.
"Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow" this quote was from horseman, author and clergyman - Norman Vincent Peale.
He spoke of knowing what you want and confidently going for it. In order to give your horse the confidence to leap over an obstacle, you have to throw your heart over and he will follow. At any rate, it was great advice.
Throwing Your Heart Over
Not only does it work really well in jumping horses over high fences, it works in many other aspects of life, too—including…jewelry design!
Among the steps in designing your ring or other types of jewelry you've always wanted, is finally saying “Yes.” And embarking on your dream design.
The Sixteen Steps in Jewelry Design and Who Does What
1. Discuss what you like and don’t like with your jeweler. See my blog: How Lord Google can Help You Design Your Wedding Ring.) Also see: How to Use Pinterest to Design Your Engagement Ring, to pull your detailed likes into one place.
2. Sketch out a preliminary drawing of what is wanted. Your Jeweler should do this.
3. Refine and modify the drawing. Include exact measurements and finger size. Your Jeweler should do this.
4. Approve the drawing. You do this.
5. Bid the cost of the project including materials and labor. Your bid should include the drawing done at your previous meeting. The bid should be given to you. Your Jeweler’s job.
6. Say “Yes” to going ahead with the project! Your job.
7. Carve a wax model of the drawing. Check out the different types of waxes that you have to choose from in my blog: Wax Carving Explained in Jewelry Design-The Three Types of Wax Model Making for Jewelry - Your Jeweler’s job.
8. Refine and modify the wax model as needed. Jeweler's job.
9. Approve the wax model. Your job.
10. Procure and approve all gemstones that will be needed. Your Jeweler gets them and you approve them.
11. Cast it in the metal of your choice. You don’t have to do this!
12. Set all gemstones. Jeweler’s job.
13. Add textures, special features, and engraving to the piece. It’s getting close to done! Jeweler's job.
14. Do final polishing. Jeweler's job.
15. The Jeweler shows the piece to you and makes any adjustments that are necessary to make it just how you wanted it. This would include adjusting the size, altering the finish, rounding an edge or otherwise tweaking it to make it just right.
16. You receive your newly designed custom jewelry and put it on and smile happily.
These Steps Aren’t Carved in Stone
Sometimes steps get reversed. Occasionally, “sub-steps” must be added. But you get the idea. Right?
Have you always wanted a unique and special piece of jewelry for yourself? Good! Don’t be afraid to throw your heart over and make it so.
Your Personal Jeweler,
Thanks for mapping this out Calla! I knew how hard you worked on my ring, seeing the steps to your magic is soo coolio!
Lorrie, it was such a cool experience working on your ring. We totally did the 16 steps!
The design step was especially amazing with you because you are this powerhouse person, smart, travelling all over to share your online marketing message and artistic.
Your ring is one of my favorite designs of all time.
I want to add a step: recognize that the wax model your jeweler provides will be and should run tight. It’s waxy after all so will be tough to get on and off. Unless your jeweler advises, don’t go up a size from the wax model thinking you suddenly got fatter fingers. Trust the measurements you took earlier.
Hi Kymberly, Thanks for commenting. I actually very carefully measure people’s rings before the wax carving portion of the design steps. The wax is too delicate to be tried on. I learned after breaking a couple early on that they don’t put up with our knuckles and just burst apart. So I rely on my metal ring sizers to tell me what will get over your knuckle and what won’t. It’s super important for the client to see the wax to make sure that the details discussed are understood and communicated in the wax. For example if you want sharp… Read more »
Wow, I never realized there were so many steps to custom jewelery design. Sixteen candles or sixteen steps? Both involve wax! What great attention to detail.
Thanks for finding more fun things that involve the number sixteen!
I’ve often wondered how custom jewelry was created. Can you tell me how the process would work if your client is out of state?
Thanks for this inside peek into the process. It’s quite fascinating.
Lesa, That’s a great question. I definitely design for out of state clients. I have a free e-book on my website that shows a variety of style elements. It’s called “The Language of Jewelry Design” and is a free download on my site. It’s a recommended step that you make an “idea folder” with pictures of jewelry that has elements of your preferred style. We can go over your design element preferences over the phone via skype. Usually I’ll put the disparate elements that you’ve said you like together and come up with a drawing to share with you. I’ll… Read more »
This is a very interesting insight into your work as a jewellery designer, Calla. Is the wax design step new? I had an engagement ring custom made 20+ years ago, but I don’t recall this step.
It’s actually a great idea to create a 3D visual representation of the finished piece.
Maria, Thank you for your excellent question. The wax step is not new. When I wanted to become a Jewelry Designer, I surveyed my clients about their interest in having their jewelry custom designed. Some loved the idea, but were afraid to get stuck with something that didn’t live up to their dream. I also heard horror stories of clients who said “yes” to a drawing and got a ring that wasn’t what they expected. So they wear it with a sense of loss. My happy-with-custom-design clients had been more a part of the design.These clients had been shown a… Read more »
I am a fan of beautiful and refined jewelry so this article resonates with me. Working in fashion parallel to my coaching business I am in contact with designers in Italy. I have worked as a fashion agent for 15 years now. I love taking a model which I see in a window and changing the way it presents itself. When I did this twice I came up with amazing results. I believe that the jewelry designer did all the steps you mentioned here. This is the way professional work in Italy is done as well. I’d love to see… Read more »
Thank you telling me of your Italian Fashion connection. More of my designs are visible in my website gallery:https://www.callagold.com/jewelry-designs-gallery/
I usually post more recent designs on my Facebook business page as well:https://www.facebook.com/callagoldjewelry
May your fashion agent exploits continue to wow the audience!
I am someone who learns from step-by-step instructions, so your blog post about jewelry design is right on! I also see how this is a great process for your customers, as they are participating directly in the design, rather than getting something at the end and asking themselves if this is the right piece for them.
Very interesting, I have learned something new today 🙂
Thanks for your feedback. I’m a pretty step by step learner myself too. I’m glad you learned something new.
I plan to pop over to your blog and see if I can learn something new today too!
When I read about the passion that goes into the design and creation, it makes me appreciate the custom pieces I have all the more. It also suggests to me that this could be a great way for me to thank a special family member or even a great client. I love the possibility of being a “co-creator” in the process. Everything seems more beautiful and possible when we put our hearts there first–great message I am carrying away!
How great that you came up with all these good ideas from reading about the steps custom jewelry design. I hope people read your in-put. Special gifts for a family member or excellent client gifts are a great reason to co-create a one of a kind piece of jewelry.
GREAT article, Calla! I wish I’d known you when I got married 15 years ago. I created a really cool design and took it to “the” custom jeweler where we lived at the time (San Diego) who basically just blew me off!!! We ended up finding a nice “cigar band” ring at another store which I had them modify and it’s really nice, but not as nice as what I came up with. Hmm…I think there may be a Calla Gold creation “anniversary ring” in my future……. 😉
Rena, When I started my design career I first asked people what they wanted in a custom designed experience. A few people like yourself wanted to make their own design. I vowed that I’d do as much as I could to encourage people to show me their vision of a unique design for them. It’s been so fun for me to not only be a Jewelry designer, but to create other people’s designs. It expands my viewpoint of beauty to see what people love. I’m just finishing a ring designed by a graphic designer. It’s so different and I’m so… Read more »
The great “take away” for me from this post is the idea of “throwing your heart over…” Such a great metaphor for entrepreneurs. We often need to move forward with a new adventure and trust that “the rest will follow.” How refreshing to see that this metaphor will be useful for many of us – from coaches to jewelry designers. Thanks so much.
Erica, I love that you got a nice take away from my post. It was so fun to use it because of my horseback riding happy history. I love to weave in the loves and fascinations of other parts of my life into my jewelry blog. And it is a blast to throw my heart over in whatever adventure personal or business that I find myself facing.
May your coaching be fulfilling and your adventures wondrous!