From Beginning to End

by Jane Becker on July 8, 2019

Over the course of my career, many of my clients have asked me about the process of creating a piece of custom jewelry.  I often tell them there are 8 to 10 steps in the creation of any custom piece, and I thought I’d share them with you today.

One of my clients gave me a bag of jewelry that she was no longer enjoying.  In the bag, there was a beloved citrine earring which had lost its mate.  After a long discussion with her about the types of jewelry she likes, we settled on the look of a heavy 18K yellow gold pendant design.  We are using the checkerboard faceted oval citrine from the earring, as well as some smaller diamonds that I removed from the jewelry that was in the bag.  Once I removed the diamonds and gems I sold the rest of the jewelry for her, which covered the entire cost of making the pendant. 

Next I drew up designs based on our conversation.  I took that sketch to my model maker and he took my drawing and reproduced it in a 3D wax model, which could accommodate her stones.  The reason for creating a custom setting is that when you are using stones from a lot of different sources they may not all be the same exact size and shape and a pre-fabricated setting might not accommodate your gemstones.

I approved the wax model.  Now this particular client wanted to be involved in every single step of the design process, so for her I wanted to cast the model in silver so that she could approve the actual design as seen in metal.  Casting it in silver would be much less expensive than in gold for this step of the process.   Once she approved the designed, I had it cast in 18K yellow gold.  

Next we had to find an 18K yellow gold chain.  Finding an appropriate style in 18K yellow gold, which was 18 inches long, and at the right price point, was a challenge.  Most of my suppliers had 14K gold, and when I did find an 18K gold chain it was very expensive.  Fortunately I did find one supplier who met all these requirements.  In addition, my client wanted to be able to have the option to wear it at either the 16 inch or 18 inch length, but didn’t want two different chains.  I was able to add a jump ring at the 16 inch mark so that she had both options.

One of the final steps was to create an 18K yellow gold bail to attach the top of the pendant so the chain can easily flow.  I bought a length of 18K gold round wire to create a bail, and took it to my jeweler who created the handmade bail for the pendant.  Then the center gem and the diamonds were set by my diamond setter in to the pendant.  Then we wanted to put a matte finish on the pendant, so I brought the pendant to a polisher and he did a final cleaning and polishing and created a matte finish on the surface.

Finally I found a pretty box to deliver the product!

Tip:  A matte finish is best for pendants, earrings, or bracelets.  A matte finish will wear away on a ring if it’s worn often.  There is upkeep involved in keeping matte finish on your favorite pieces of jewelry.

 

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