Header image courtesy of @blakecheekk (via Unsplash)
In a world of rapid-fire consumption and mass production, it is all too easy to be fatigued by the seemingly endless choices available that nevertheless appear exactly the same as each other. We’ve always used jewellery to accessorise, but truly inspired styles are rare, so if you’re looking for the one ring to rule them all, you might want to consider going to a custom jeweller for one-of-a-kind, bespoke pieces. But how do you find one that’s right for your needs, and what should you look out for? We asked artisan jeweller Freedom2Sparkle for a useful guide on qualities to look for in a custom jeweller, so you can create the unique accessories of your dreams!
Needless to say, this is the be-all and end-all of any jeweller; there is no narrative to be had if the very craft of jewellery making isn’t done well. Find out your potential jeweller’s credentials. How long have they been in the jewellery business? Do they do casting or hand fabrication?
Stone setting is also one of the most important aspects of jewellery making. You don’t want a piece of jewellery that has recurring problems and keeps needing to be reset in the future, so having the centre and accent stones set properly makes all the difference. A good jeweller should know their way around working with diamonds and precious stones in every cut and setting. Are they proficient in bead setting, channel, pave, fishtail, shared prong, and tab settings, cut-away styles, and more? Don’t be afraid to ask and find out! A good custom jeweller should be willing to explain different styles and fabrication techniques—extra points if they have physical examples of their work to show you, and let you examine them under a loupe.
Ultimately, you want to love your custom jewellery and cherish it for years to come. This is why it’s important to find a jeweller who is willing to listen to what you have in mind, instead of forcing their personal preferences on you. Ask to see examples of their previous pieces so you can gauge what kind of style they do best, and whether that aligns with your own vision. Remember that jewellers are artists who use their personal touches and designs to improve on your ideas, so make sure you like their individual flair.
Custom designs can, and often do, change over the course of creating a piece, so find a jeweller who understands your macro-vision, and also has the knowledge and flexibility to educate and work with you as you tweak the micro details. A lot of this boils down to gut feeling and whether or not you feel you vibe with a particular jeweller, so do take the time to chat!
As above, keep in mind throughout your search that your custom jewellery should be personalised to what you want it to look like, so apart from being willing to adapt to your preferences, the perfect custom jeweller also needs to know how to implement a wide range of possible styles and changes.
A great way to identify a master stone setter and jeweller is to find out if they also do hand engraving. A lot of hand engraving techniques correlate to the skills required of stone setting, and many of the tools used are also the same, so custom jewellers who do good hand engraving are usually also likely to be masterful in their craft. Again, ask to see physical examples; hand engraving work should be uniform with brightly cut lines. If their engraving style matches your vision you may even choose to incorporate them into your design.
Despite its rather bougie connotations, custom jewellery doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Set yourself a budget and communicate this clearly when talking to jewellers so you can find one who can and will work within your parameters. If you’re honest and upfront about your budget, then a good jeweller should be able to advise you on the decisions that will suit you best.
Do also ask about charges for design work in the early stages. How much do they charge for CAD work, sketches, and later modifications?
If you’re fine with paying for a ring and never thinking about it again, then just going to a high street jewellery store will do the job. However, an artistic piece of jewellery deserves better treatment, and a good custom jeweller will journey with you from the initial design process down to post-production services. These generally include repairs, resetting, and polishing—all services which a piece of jewellery needs to last you through the ages.
Particularly with bespoke rings, it’s important to find out how easy it will be to get it re-sized if needed. Find out what a potential custom jeweller will offer in terms of aftercare or warranties.
Ultimately, a custom jeweller should offer an experience that is more than just a simple transaction. If this sounds right up your alley, we’ve found a custom jeweller who makes the bespoke process fun, with a portfolio of stunning pieces.
Freedom2Sparkle was started with a passion for jewels, and has since expanded into a range of custom design services working with diamonds, pearls, and other precious stones. Understanding the increasing need for freedom of self-expression, Freedom2Sparkle applies this ideal onto jewellery, searching for specific jewels according to customer specifications and designing settings that are personalised. Their range extends from elegant, everyday-wear jewellery to opulent pieces designed to immediately catch the eye.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the freedom granted to you, Freedom2Sparkle also makes things easier with an array of beautiful, ready-to-wear designs. Their Circulus, Linearis, and Stellaris collections are themed around circles, lines, and cosmology, respectively, and give customers the opportunity to see what they can do, as well as a jumping-off point to begin the custom creative process.
What makes these guys stand out for us is their insistence on using craftsmen who are homegrown Hong Kong locals, so all their custom pieces are lovingly made right here in Hong Kong. In an age when so many heritage skills and crafts are slipping into a sunset industry, it’s all the more important for us to support our traditional master artisans, and Freedom2Sparkle creates precisely that opportunity.
To get started, simply make an appointment with their friendly team for a face-to-face chat about what kind of jewellery you might want. Their mode of online business also means that they can save on rental and utilities—savings that are reflected in their prices that are markedly affordable for bespoke designs! Start building your custom jewellery collection with the support of local tradesmen with Freedom2Sparkle, and be prepared to absolutely dazzle.