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How to commission a bespoke piece of jewellery

As jewellery designers we enjoy designing and making our collections to sell both to our galleries and at shows - but more and more we're being asked about special one off bespoke pieces too. 

Commissioning a unique piece of handmade jewellery can create the most personal piece, but it can be a daunting task if you've not commissioned a designer before. So in this blog we're sharing our tips on how to commission a piece of handmade jewellery with confidence.

 

Get to know your designer

By this we don't mean being best friends on Facebook or buying each other gifts for birthdays, but by researching and selecting the right designer by getting to know the look that your designer creates and approaching one that you feel inspired by their style of work.

By understanding their aesthetic approach you can and start to envisage the type of piece that they may create for you. It sounds obvious but it is always best to go for a designer whose work you like and who you would want to create a piece for you that stems from their style and develop it rather than ask for something that isn't their typical approach. 

Have a budget in mind 

By giving your designer a budget to work to they will be able to design a piece that fits with your finances and you needn't fear being landed with a hefty quote or invoice at the end of the design process. If you're unsure whether your budget will run to diamonds don't be afraid to ask your designer, they will be able to advise you on your budgets and what types of stones and metals will work best for you and work with you to create the best piece for the amount you want to spend. We work closely with our clients and will always provide quotes early in the design process to agree the right approach, by using different precious stones and metals we can confidently create a piece that meets both beauty and budget requirements! 

Consider how and when you will wear your jewellery

Give your designer detail on how you intend to wear your jewellery. It really helps the design process and will make your piece even more suitable for you.  Ask yourself, is it for special occasions only so can be more elaborate and delicate? Or do you want to wear it every day so it needs to withstand a bit of wear and tear? These details help your designer build a picture of how the piece will be worn and make it design appropriate. For instance, our pieces are made using titanium which is incredibly strong and despite often looking delicate, our designs can withstand lots of wear and needn't be treated too carefully which makes them ideal for everyday use. However, our wire work pieces with pearls are more delicate and need more looking after - such as the Tessellation brooch below.

 

Share your style

It's likely, and we highly recommend that, that you have chosen a designer whose style and portfolio you like, but don't forget to share your own style with them too. Knowing you love to wear button downs or roll necks for example or prefer particular colours in your clothing can really enhance your designer's understanding of what will make a great and truly personal piece for you.

Start the conversation

It's vital when selecting a designer to ask how they work before starting your commission. See commissioning your jewellery as a collaboration between you and the designer. You really need to feel comfortable with the way they approach your project. So it's always best if you can meet or speak with them on the phone before embarking on any jewellery design commission. We always do this with our customers and like to meet in person if at all possible to understand as much as we can about the brief before we start any commissioning project. 

Do ask whether they provide sketches of the work so you'll see it before it goes to the making stage. How will they make sure it fits you? Do they provide aftercare? Guarantees? Gemstone provenance? By knowing the answers to all these questions up front you can avoid any surprises and feel confident at every stage. 

 

Work to a deadline

If you need your piece for a special event or occasion it's important your designer knows this and can commit to delivering their work in time.  When we start a new design for a client we will have many chats about the brief, the design and the timescales involved and like to keep our clients up to date with progress as we understand it's an special experience, often our commissions are for gifts too so it's extra important we make the deadlines for special birthdays and anniversaries. 

Be aware that good designers can often have a hefty workload and their diaries can get booked up months in advance for commissions so do try and plan ahead. Our pieces can take 6-8 weeks to design and create from brief to delivery depending on their complexity so be prepared to think ahead. 

We hope these tips are helpful and give you confidence when commissioning a bespoke piece of jewellery. If we an offer any more help then please do get in touch.

Alongside our latest collections we do provide a bespoke jewellery service and can also adapt our existing designs to suit you too. Simply contact us at the studio and we'll be in touch to chat about how we can make your perfect piece of jewellery. Or if you're in London in November why not come and meet with us, we'll be at The Contemporary Crafts and Design Fair in Chelsea from 11-13 November and would be very happy to answer any commission queries you may have. 

Best, 

F+B