“It Was Made For You”
How to create custom bridal jewelry that’s perfect for you.
For many brides, custom jewelry is associated with luxury, exclusivity and glamour. Celebrities often flash one-of-a-kind engagement rings at red carpet events, but today, any bride can have a piece of wedding jewelry made just for her. Beyond making a bride feel like a star, this appeal extends to the wedding itself, where brides desire everything about the event to be a true reflection of them and their groom. Custom jewelry is the ultimate in the expression of personal style, and a piece created by a groom exclusively for his bride is a token of love that can be passed down for generations. So how do you go about creating the perfect one-of-a-kind bridal piece? Here are some tips.
Choose the Right Jeweler
From large stores to small shops, many jewelry retailers possess the ability to create custom pieces. Ask around for recommendations from family and friends, and visit local stores to browse their selection. Even though your piece will be completely unique, it’s important that your jeweler retain the experience to create something that’s similar to the style you envision. If you already have a favorite jeweler, go ahead and ask how the staff can work with you to design a custom piece.
Some retailers are outfitted with a full shop and will do all the custom work right in the store; others will send the piece out for custom work. Your ring might be made using one or more techniques. Lost wax casting involves making a wax model of your piece, creating a rubber or a silicone mould for it, and then pouring the metal inside a plaster mould to form the finished product. A handmade setting is created by sewing, forging, filing, hammering and soldering pieces of metal into the appropriate design. Or it might be partially handmade and partially casted. If it’s assembled, all the parts are purchased premade and then combined to form the jewelry.
Create Your Ideal Design
Jewelry designs can be conceived in a number of ways. You may peruse a variety of pieces, and pick and choose from among them all the features you’d like in your jewelry, such as the setting from one and the pavé diamond details of another. Perhaps there’s one particular piece that you’d like to tweak to suit your own personal style, such as adding some intricate engraving, for example. If you want the complete package, a designer may be able to work with you to sketch out the perfect piece exactly to your specifications. To work with a designer, you’ll start with a sketch and then, together, you’ll fine tune or change the sketch in order to come up with a completely unique design.
Everything in a ring can be customized. You can create something simple with clean lines, or something more intricate and ornate. You may prefer carved details or straight edges. You might opt for a bezel setting or a prong setting. Metals can be mixed, as in platinum and gold, or a different color of gold can be mixed, such as yellow, white and pink gold. In addition, micropavé details can be added. The list goes on and on.
Know Your Stones and Metals
Be savvy when it comes to your biggest design choices: the stones and the metals. Choosing the perfect diamond to put into your engagement ring is the most common way to customize it. This is an important choice because the stone is usually the priciest part of the piece, as well as the piece that will endure, while the rest of the jewelry can be changed over time. Be sure you consider a variety of stone sizes, the cut, and the quality in your price range; also inquire about their attributes. Once you’ve settled on a stone, choose the right color metal to showcase it. Platinum is a smart, long-lasting choice. You also can choose from white gold, or the warm tones of yellow or pink gold. When choosing a type of gold for your jewelry, remember that it is an alloy—a mixture of gold with other metals. Gold that is 14K or 18K is only 58.5% or 75% gold—the higher the karat, the greater the percentage of gold and the more valuable the metal.
One you’ve chosen your metal, your stone and your customized design, you’re well on your way to a piece of jewelry to express both your style and your affection. It will be as unique as the one-of-a-kind wedding day you’re painstakingly planning.
Image by David & Company.