One of my favorite parts of my work at Chaya Studio Jewelry is custom designs. A growing number of clients are asking me to create something for themselves or someone else. We start with a clean slate and collaborate on their ideas and tastes. At the end, they get exactly what they want, and it is uniquely them.

The most important thing to know about embarking on a custom design is that you don’t have to come with complete ideas…that’s my job! Bring stones you already have, bring jewelry you don’t like anymore, show me pictures of jewelry you love, and I’ll take it from there.

So how does it work? 

First, some of the boring details

  • I can use your metals and stones in a custom design or as credit toward the project.
  • Most projects fall between $600 – $1200 plus the cost of materials.
  • I require a nonrefundable deposit that goes toward the project; it gets you a minimum of 3 design concepts and at least one round of edits.
  • Most projects are paid in 3 installments.
  • From start to finish, a custom process averages 8-12 weeks.
  • As you can understand, all custom order sales are final.

Now, for the fun stuff!

  1. We start with a consultation—in person or by phone, email or Skype—to talk about your personal style, metal and stone preferences, and thoughts you have—no matter how vague. I can also customize an existing design, so bring a photo of a piece you almost love, and let’s talk about how we can make it a perfect fit! These completely hand-fabricated earrings are a great example of customizing a current line (rather than starting from scratch).  These are from my Cascade series, but they were customized with brass, sterling silver, sea shell, dried flowers and epoxy.

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2. Next, I create preliminary drawings. At this point, clients usually find the design that speaks to them. I refine the drawings and outline a proposal with details, timeline and cost estimate.

3. When you sign off, I go to work building your piece—that might mean that I move right into fabrication or I may need to carve a model out of wax or build a prototype in metal. In some cases, I build the piece in a 3D CAD–Computer Aided Design—file like this. 

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Clients are informed and involved as much as they want to be. I find that finished pieces are always a delightful surprise (in a good way), but I never want a client to be surprised by design details, materials or costs.

I have created some very special custom projects over the past few years. From wedding rings with a musical theme and an elaborate necklace with stones collected over a client’s lifetime, to a jewel encrusted hairpiece.

The collage below is a good representation of the process. If you’re intrigued, give me a call. I’d love to talk through your ideas! I hope you will also pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested.

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