Our Custom Jewelry Process
So, you're looking for an extra special gift for a loved one, or even a one of a kind treat for yourself.
Maybe you have been browsing and seeing things you like, but nothing quite clicks. You want that feeling, the "have to have it, can't let it get away" leap of excitement! Commissioning a custom piece might be the solution you are looking for.
Phyllis & Elsie offers two different paths to creating an exclusive made-for-you work of art, full custom and à la carte custom.
À La Carte Custom
À la carte custom might be right for you if you see ready-to-ship or sold-out pieces on our website that are almost there, but you want a different stone, a longer chain, slight changes to a setting, or a shape of one thing and a texture on another that you want to have combined. Essentially, this means you are tapping into our catalog as a menu of design options to build your perfect piece. À la carte customs are very popular with our customers, because they are an easy and affordable way to get something that's just right, with a personal touch.
À la carte customs are generally very close in price to our ready-to-ship jewelry, as they don't require extensive design consultation or project-specific material sourcing. For example, if you want a remake of a previous design with a different stone, the price will only vary in relation to the price of the stone you select and quantity of material. If you are seeking a somewhat more complex changes and would like to see sketches before we begin making your piece, there will be an additional art fee.
Full custom projects are perfect for when you have a dream in mind for something all your own, or have an incomplete vision that you want help turning into reality.
At the start of a custom project, you will join your jeweler in a one-on-one consult to start talking about what you are envisioning for your special jewel. This where you get to tell us about your ideas, lifestyle considerations, and budget, and we can make sure we are the right jeweler for the project you have in mind.
We welcome your sketches and doodles! The more visual information you can provide, the better your jeweler can get on the same page as you. We absolutely love Pinterest boards as a way to bring together images of inspirational jewelry, outfits, patterns, textures, and design aesthetics. Do you love the shape of your grandmother's ring? Did you see a stained glass window or wrought iron gate while traveling that had the most beautiful curling patterns? Do you love the layers and bling on a flapper dress from an old movie? Do you want to be reminded of the tiny ripples on stream near your favorite getaway? There are so many special details that you might want us to consider, and they don't all have to come from other jewelry or purely from your imagination. (check out our Pinterest here for ideas and some of the things that inspire us!)
After your consult, your art deposit will be due so your jeweler can get started on designing and sketching out ideas for your project. Generally our clients find 3 rounds of design sketches can get them to a final design. This is also when you will have the opportunity to pick out stones from our collection if you are not providing your own.
The first round will consist of many smaller quick sketches exploring different ideas that were discussed in your consultation. From those sketches, you get to tell us which ideas feel like they are moving in the right direction and we will refine those into 3-5 more detailed sketches that include quotes for a final price range. From the second round of options you will have the opportunity to offer detailed feedback to tweak your favorite option so that it's just right. Before we begin crafting your project, you will receive a final drawing of your design for your approval.
We understand that commissioning an item of jewelry can be a bit nerve wracking, especially with the higher investment level involved, and not everyone thinks visually. If you would like the added clarity of a full-color rendering of your project rather than a final line drawing, we are happy to offer that service. These drawings take significantly more time to complete and that will necessarily be reflected in the project quote and timeline.
After your design approval and your 60% deposit has been received, your jeweler can order the materials for your project and get started at the bench! The time it takes to create your piece will depend on the complexity of the design and will be discussed during the design phase. If you want a peek at the process, we are happy to send you pictures as things progress! If you want to save it all for the big reveal at the end that can be very exciting too!
When your project is complete, your jeweler will send you detailed photos of the finished piece and your final invoice. Once your account is cleared your new treasure will be lovingly packaged and shipped to you with a premium gift box, polishing cloth, and information on care and cleaning.
A few things to keep in mind when you are considering placing a custom order:
** Every jeweler has their own style, so it is important to look around for a jeweler whose aesthetic feels like the right fit for your idea. While we want to make your project as perfect for you as we can, it will ultimately have a bit of our specific flavor. If you are looking for something that differs wildly from out style and processes, we may suggest that a different jeweler would be a better fit to execute your vision.
** While we are happy to take inspiration from other jewelry, we will not reproduce another artist's design.
** We only work on one full custom project at a time, and these projects often take 6-8 weeks to complete. If you have a completion deadline (such as a birthday or wedding) it's important to reach out as soon as possible to get your project on our calendar!
** Full custom jewelry requires significantly more investment of time, energy, and risk than items in our ready-to-ship collections, and this is reflected in the cost of commissioning such a project. While we are happy to plan for a piece within your budget, our quotes are not open to negotiation.
If you have something special in mind we would love to hear from you! You can initiate a conversation about custom projects via our Contact page or by emailing Shanna directly a email@example.com