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Custom Jewelry Design

Beautiful Gems & Metals

By  Judith Anderson  GG, CGA

[The following article is the third in a four-part series on custom-designed jewelry.   The other articles are listed at the bottom of this page.]

A striking opal and diamond ring.
Michelangelo believed that within every block of uncut marble was trapped a beautiful sculpture.   He believed that it was the artist's mission to free the imprisoned "sculpture" from its stony confines.

At Bijoux Extraordinaire, we believe that every beautiful gemstone embraces the beginning of an extraordinary piece of jewelry.   It is our goal to help you create that jewel.

Gemstones and metals are one of the three elements critical to the successful creation of custom-designed jewelry (the other two elements are imaginative design and quality craftsmanship).   When selecting gemstones for custom- designed jewelry you should follow these guidelines:

  1. The gemstone should compliment the design of the jewel.   A custom- designed jewel is a reflection of the wearer's personal tastes and sentiments. The shape, color and texture of the gemstone should help express this style.

  2. Have fun!   Custom designing jewelry allows you to explore a wide variety of rare and exotic gemstones.   Many of the most beautiful gemstones are not found in sufficient numbers to be used in commercial or mass- produced jewelry.   When creating a custom-designed jewel you can consider such exotic varieties as Spessartite Garnet from the Little 3 Mines, Indicolite Tourmaline, Drusy Uvarovite, Raspberry Spinel from Burma, Violet Sapphire from Tunduru Tanzania and Pink Diamond from the Argyle mines of Australia.

  3. Consult an expert!   Today's jewelry markets are flooded with fracture-filled diamonds, color-treated gemstones and synthetics.   Before purchasing an expensive gemstone, you should always have the stone's quality and value assessed by an independent gemologist.

Earrings with Dendritic Agates Precious metals, like gemstones, offer the jewelry designer a wonderful selection of colors, tones and textures.   You can look to the past for inspiration from early design techniques such as the ancient craft of granulation, mastered by Etruscan goldsmiths, or the colorful Japanese arts of Shakudo (gold and copper) and Shibuichi (silver and copper).

In these ancient Japanese mixed-metal techniques, two or more metals are combined and overlaid; the contrasting colors and textures of the various metals are used to create intricate figural and abstract designs.   Or....consider a design with a more contemporary metal.....platinum - the king of metals.   By combining platinum with high karat yellow and pink gold, in satin, bright or repousse finishes, you can create a beautiful design, whether it be bold and shiny....or soft and subtle.   The many combinations and textures of the metals are only limited by the imagination of the creator!

Earrings with Rutilated Quartz One thing to remember: allow yourself plenty of time to find the best gems, select the appropriate metals and create a quality design.   If you are considering a custom design jewel for Christmas, start your project in early November or sooner!

Bijoux Extraordinaire is a practice of independent gemologists working for the jewelry consumer.   If you wish to create beautiful custom-designed jewelry, our gemologists and designers will help you create a jewel of lasting beauty and value.   Among the other services we offer are appraisals, pre-purchase evaluations and gemstone brokering.   Please call us for all of your jewelry needs.

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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If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please give us a call
(603 624-8672) or send us an email.

Or, if you prefer snail mail, our postal address is:

Bijoux Extraordinaire, Ltd.
P.O. Box 1424
Manchester, New Hampshire

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