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Custom Jewelry Design

Distinctive by Design!

By  Judith Anderson  GG, CGA

Rings with Tulipset™ mounting. [The following article is the second in a four-part series on custom-designed jewelry.   The other articles are listed at the bottom of this page.]

The first step in creating a beautiful custom jewel is creating an exciting design.   Thomas Edison said that invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  When it comes to custom-designed jewelry,  the numbers are reversed  -  designing a beautiful,  personalized jewel is 99% creativity and fun and,  maybe,  1% labor.

Most custom-designed jewels celebrate a special person or event:  thus,  the design of the jewel should carry a special meaning for both the creator and the wearer.   There are many ways to add "personal touches" to a custom jewel.  Here are several ideas:

Brooches and pendants have long been showcases for miniature portraits of loved ones and special places.   Sometimes the portraits are prominently painted,  enameled or etched of the surface of the jewel;  other times they are hidden in a secret compartment!

Or,  in the last century a style known as "acrostic jewelry" was popular.  In acrostic jewelry a phrase or name is "spelled out" using the first letters of the names of gemstones.   For example, a ring set with four stones  -  Jadeite,  Uvarovite garnet,  Diamond and Iolite  -  would carry the secret message "Judi".

Finally,  a custom-designed jewel can be personalized by incorporating a special gemstone,  color or motif which has special meaning for the wearer.   Often,  the simplest design carries the deepest meaning.

Stunning uvarovite garnet earrings.

When you are designing a custom jewel,  there are three important guidelines you should follow:

1.  Allow yourself and your jeweller enough time to create a jewel which will be truly special and of lasting beauty.  A custom jewel whose design is rushed or compromised will often look awkward and incomplete.  (Ed. note  -  If you plan to create a special jewel for the Christmas holiday season, you should begin the design process in early November.)

2.  Cast a wide net when searching for design ideas.  Possible sources of inspiration include antique and ancient jewels,  jewels from other cultures and contemporary jewelry designs.  Clip magazine ads and catalog listings of design ideas you may want to incorporate in your jewel.

3.  Work with a designer who will help you enhance and interpret your ideas.  The design should be a statement of your personal tastes and life style.  Be wary of a "designer" who "knows exactly what you need" or works from a catalog of hackneyed commercial designs.

At Bijoux Extraordinaire, our designers and gemologists are available to help you design a jewel of lasting beauty and value.   We will work with you to translate your ideas and sentiments into a truly unique jewel inspired with personal meanings.

If you would like to see some wonderful custom design jewels that we created for clients,  please visit our  Gallery of Custom Design Jewelry.

Or, if you would like to read more about creating custom design jewelry, check out the following articles:

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Bijoux Extraordinaire, Ltd.
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