When you design jewellery, custom requests are inevitable. They take more time, and they often result in a lower profit because of it. But custom orders are a unique challenge, and I welcome them because for me there is nothing more fulfilling than creating something for a customer that is unique to them. Something that matches their taste, their wedding dress, their frame or their style. It's a challenge, and it's an exciting one.
I recently was contacted by a customer who was getting married in Hawaii. Her dress was floor-length, strapless and gauzy. The best part? This incredible dress was swirls of royal blue, purple and hot pink. Just perfect for a Hawaiian wedding on the beach. Obviously, the traditional pearl earrings just wouldn't do. So together we designed a pair of long, bright earrings dripping with colourful gemstones including swiss blue topaz, hot pink topaz and amethyst. The size suited her 5'8" frame, and really complemented her amazing dress:
Wedding jewellery can be so different, as unique as the brides wearing them. This necklace I made for a friend of mine who was married last year. It was a Fall wedding which included browns and oranges and leaves - no flowers. My friend had very little input on her jewellery, so when she came to see it for the first time, it was a bit nerve-wracking. After all, this was her wedding jewellery! Luckily, she loved it:
A wedding is a great reason to buy a custom piece of jewellery, but sometimes you just want something that suits your style exactly. Another customer contacted me about a pair of earrings in my shop, and asked if I could make a matching necklace. I had just enough tiny orange-pink sapphire stones to create this matching piece for her:
When a designer offers custom pieces, it's a way of saying, "you don't have to fit into my jewellery; my jewellery will be made to fit you." Another of my customers has small wrists, and needs to have bracelets made quite a bit smaller. No problem. This is one of her most recent purchases (oh, and she had me make a matching necklace and earrings too):
Sometimes buyers like what they see in my shop, but they want different colours. I had made a necklace similar to the one below, but in more subtle shades. My customer preferred bright, so bright is what we did!
Finally, the best part of offering custom orders for me is when a customer helps me come up with a really great design. I had made some rainbow hoops a while back, with all different gemstones including ruby, amethyst, citrine and tourmaline. I didn't know if they would be popular, but I had so much fun making them because it took me back to the days of drawing rainbows and unicorns as a child. Fun, colourful and cheerful. A lovely woman contacted me and asked if I could make a rainbow bangle, and this is what we came up with:
I liked it so much I added another one to my shop! I really enjoyed choosing the stones that blend from one colour to another, and the best part is that this bangle will go with any outfit.
When I opened my shop, I wasn't prepared for so many of my requests to be custom requests. But I'm happy that it's working out that way, and grateful to my customers for inspiring new designs.
My only regret? Why, oh why did I not learn how to make jewellery 13 years ago when I got married? I could have become my own happy customer.