How to Shop for Custom Jewelry
Custom jewel crafting is a very meticulous task.
You want to make sure it’s done right,
otherwise you may run into some issues with your jewel down the road.
When shopping for a custom jewel, there are specific things about the vendor you want to look for to make sure you select the right one to do the job.
The first thing to point out is that most jewelers, even if they look big, don’t do the craft work themselves.
They usually use an intermediary to take care of that part (they outsource the task).
The consequences of using an intermediary for YOU are:
- Increased costs
- Whenever there’s outsourcing involved, there are additional costs.
- The vendor pays a higher fee than if they would have someone internally to do it, and pass on that fee to you
- Most of vendors will also add their cut on top of that increased fee to increase their margins and make a fat profit.
- Production delays
- An advertised project timeline of 4-6 weeks can easily turn into a 3-4 months
- Again, this is because the vendor doesn’t have staff to do it,
so they have to work on their supplier’s schedule. Not theirs, and definitely not yours.
So if you needed to have this jewel for a specific date or event, this can cause pretty big problems for you.
With our in-house production, we’re able to cut down those delays to 2-3 weeks maximum.
How? because you’re dealing with the product AND service supplier directly.
Step 1: Your Jewel
But before you start selecting a vendor, you should think about 2 things:
What is it exactly that you want? Have you pictured your prefect jewel?
Which stones does it have? How many? What are the dimensions of those stones?
Knowing these things beforehand will help the jeweler better understand what you’re looking for and, and will dictate the value of your jewel.
Knowing your budget will help the vendor guide you into making the right decisions.
Sometimes you’ll have to compromise between 2 things, and a good vendor will explain the different choices you have AND give you recommendations based on his experience.
Step 2: Your Vendor
Once you’ve determined these 2, you’re ready to start shopping.
But how can you know if the jeweler is actually going to do the custom job or outsource it?
(FACT: only around 10% of jewelers actually do it themselves!)
The first thing is to ask them specific questions about the product, the cost, the work involved, the delays, etc.
If they can’t give you a price right away when you’re giving them details about what you want to have (refer to #1 above), then they most likely don’t do it themselves.
If they stay vague on the price and/or the delay, then they most likely don’t do it themselves.
PRO TIP: When shopping for custom, ask the vendor for some pictures or videos of previous custom pieces they crafted. They should be able to show you some.
How to know if it’s custom or not? Custom pieces usually shine more than the other ones, so pay attention to that.
Step 3: Your Project
Now that you’re confident in the vendor you selected, you’re ready to kick things off!
To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s our own internal process:
Because they need to ship it to their supplier, get the job done, ship it back to them and ship it again to you…
So if you’ve planned to have this piece for a special occasion (anniversary, wedding, etc.) - this could cause pretty annoying complications for you.
Hopefully these tips can help you shop for your custom pieces with more confidence, and most of all, ensure you’re selecting the right person to do it.
Because if not, you may have big disappointments in a jewel that should last a lifelong!
The MTL CustomJewelry team.
Contact us to start crafting your perfect custom jewel.