So, you have an idea for a special piece of jewellery, or you can’t find exactly what you want online or on the high street. You decide that you would like to have your piece made but how do you go about that?
Commissioning a piece is something that may seem complicated but it’s really a very simple process…..
1. An idea or an occasion.
A lot of my commissions are for either an engagement or wedding ring but I also receive requests for all sorts of interesting pieces of jewellery. If you already have an idea or just know that you want a special one off piece, then a consultation via email, over the phone, in person or even by Skype or FaceTime can turn your initial ideas into reality. I will ask you about what sort of materials you would like it made in and what your budget is at this stage too.
I always like to work from a drawing as it makes sure that we all understand exactly what we are talking about. I’ll create this after our initial consultation, usually presenting my client with 3 or 4 different versions to choose from. Producing drawings takes a while so obviously there is a small charge for this, but this ensures that you know exactly what you are getting so that there is no confusion later on when it’s more difficult to make changes.
Just like your piece of jewellery, your drawings will be created by hand too. I like to work with traditional gold and silversmithing tools and techniques so I feel that the best way to start this is with a pencil and a piece of paper.
3. Deposit and payment.
Once an idea has been finalised, I will ask you for a deposit (or the full amount if your piece is under £100) to cover the cost of the materials. This is usually around 50% but it may be more than this if the materials are the main cost in the piece. It’s possible to pay you deposit in instalments if you need to, meaning that I will just hold onto your payments until there is enough to buy the materials needed, then I will start making your piece. When your piece is finished, I will let you know by email or phone so that you can pay off the balance. I will then package and post your piece to you.
This is a very important factor to be considered. As already mentioned, everything I make is done so by hand using traditional techniques. This ensures that your piece of jewellery is unique and made to the highest quality. Making everything by hand means that I can apply much more attention to detail than a machine can, but this also takes a little more time to do. If possible, then I always ask my clients to allow around 6 weeks to commission a piece of jewellery. This allows time for consultations, to produce the drawings and to get the final piece absolutely right. Sometimes, I am less busy and can work much quicker than this, so please feel free to still contact me if you need your piece sooner than my standard 6 week turnaround time.
4. How much will it cost?
How long is a piece of string? This is a really difficult question as each commission is different, but as a very rough guide, I take on commissions from around £50, up to several thousand so am usually very good at creating the perfect piece within each individual client’s budget.
I hope this has been a helpful and informative blog post. If you are considering having something made and would like to discuss your ideas, then please do get in touch via the contact form on my commissions or weddings page at http://www.annacliftonjewellery.com/#/bespoke/
Thank you for reading. Back tomorrow x