Custom orders can be a blessing or a challenge for any jewelry designer, depending on what your customer’s needs are. It has been my experience, however, that as long as you can be creative and flexible - along with having good communication and problem solving skills - not only will you be successful in your endeavours, but you will likely gain a very strong and loyal customer base.
One thing that I enjoy immensely is the excitement of the challenge itself. I can tell you for a fact that when you open yourself up to accepting custom orders, you never can tell WHAT a customer might request! Hence the reason to be FLEXIBLE and open minded.
I received a custom request for a ring, which arose from what I thought an unlikely correlation - a wire wrapped bracelet. The stone had to be safely self-contained with a frame around it, rather like the bracelet. Obviously if you’re doing wire wrapping the biggest issue is making sure the wrap will safely hold the stone(s) or bead(s).
The custom ring order requested a very specific size and type of stone, as well as orientation of the stone. When you are building a custom order and choosing the materials, budget is always a big consideration - especially if your customer is working with a smaller budget. It is my belief that no matter what the circumstances, you should be a savvy shopper for the sake of providing the best product at the best price.
Initially the request for the ring to have the stone sit horizontally rather than vertically, but for all practical purposes that couldn’t be done due to the size of the stone. Finding the right stone was a challenge itself, as the shape wasn’t a common one and the size was larger than normally. Adding to this was the desire to find a superior stone with enough clarity, rutile’s (needles) and color (gold).
I am happy to say that after many, many hours I was fortunate enough to find THE stone that fit ALL of the requirements, which frankly were numerous and quite stringent. After that task was finished, my confidence was boosted measurably. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that you may have to have many, many conversations to complete the order, but this is always a great opportunity to build a good rapport with a potential lifelong patron. The very fact that they’ve selected you for a custom order is an honor itself.
I gathered some photos taken throughout the order to give an idea of “What was on my Bench”. In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that unfortunately, the final ring was never completed. After submitting a picture of the final ring style (as you see in this picture) my buyer requested a small change be made to some of the “swirls” in the ring design. Of course I was happy to comply and make some minor changes for the desired effect.
Later that evening, while I was working on a different project and doing some serious hammering on a piece of metal, I decided to see how much pain I could actually withstand and pounded my finger, which then led to a series of very bizarre and unexpected events that left that beautiful stone (taken out to rework the wire “swirls”) in far more than the one piece it started as....
I wish I could have had a better outcome, but as we all know sometimes "Life happens when you’re making other plans". Incidentally I must say ... my finger absolutely hates me now!!!!
See you next week!