Ever thought about commissioning a piece of jewellery, but don’t know where to start? Maybe you want an existing, but little worn piece remodelled - for example by reusing the stone from a ring that's too small or recycling the gold from a necklace that isn't really your style? Or perhaps you’re after something for yourself or a loved one - a special birthday, anniversay, Valentine's or Mother's Day gift?
What does it mean to commission a bespoke piece of jewellery?
Bespoke jewellery is a design that's been made just for you and to your exact requirements. Commissioning bespoke handmade jewellery is a great way to own a piece that is truly unique. I love working with clients to produce something special, whether it be a tweak to an existing piece or a new idea to be realised. If this sounds like something you’re interested in then read on for some handy tips to guide you through the process.
What do you need to think about when commissioning bespoke jewellery?
Before engaging a jeweller, it helps to have a reasonably clear idea of what you’re after. It’s vital that the aesthetic of the designer is in tune with your own. For example is their work all about clean lines and strong shapes or are they inspired by soft, organic forms? Even when an item is made to your exacting specifications it will inevitably carry the individual mark of the maker (after all that’s what you’re paying for!) so you need to be sure that you’re both signing from the same hymn sheet here. Do plenty of research and don't be afraid to ask your jewellery for some photos of previous projects to get a sense of their signature style.
What questions should I consider before commissioning a designer to make me some bespoke jewellery?
What material will the bespoke piece of jewellery be made from?
Is it an occasion piece or something that will be worn every day?
What other jewellery does the recipient wear? What sort of style is that jewellery?
Will there be stones involved? Will these be provided or will they need to be sourced separately? I recently reused a stone from a gold ring that had great sentimental value, but wasn’t never worn. Re-purposing it into claw setting on a silver necklace showed it off to its best advantage whilst giving the client something that was much more ‘her’
Budget - it is very useful to have a rough idea of what you can spend as it can influence the materials used. Naturally the price will reflect the production of a one off handmade piece, but it may be possible to tweak the design to ensure it fits within budget
What’s the timeline? Is it needed in time for a birthday or anniversary? Make sure you allow enough time as most commissions take 6-8 weeks from the initial enquiry
Any additional practical information eg:- ring size, necklace chain length
How much does it cost to commission a piece of bespoke jewellery?
All designers work differently and of course the final cost will vary according to the type of metal and fineness used and whether you also want to incorporate gemstones. For gold and silver jewellery over a certain weight the piece will be need to be hallmarked at one of the UK's four Assay Offices. In general, expect to pay some of the fee up front and the rest on collection. I usually produce design sketches based on the discussion during an initial free consultation. Should you wish to proceed, a full quote and timeframe is provided and I require a 50% deposit with the remaining 50% due on receipt of the finished item.
Elin Horgan designs and creates handmade jewellery in her Bristol studio. Elin’s beautifully simple handmade jewellery is carefully crafted and designed to be worn every day. You can read more about Elin’s work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand on her About Elin Horgan Jewellery page.