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How Does the Custom Jewelry Design Process Work?

Find out each step of the custom design process from a local Pittsburgh jeweler before you start shopping

Lisa Marie Kotchey Jewelry
December 17, 2021

If you’re on the market for a piece of custom jewelry, either for yourself or a loved one, then keep reading! Many people want custom jewelry — often for a special occasion like the holidays or a big anniversary — but aren’t sure how the process works. That’s why we’re detailing the 6 steps to take your imagination and turn it into a beautiful piece of jewelry. The process is most likely easier than you think! Let’s find out how you can design a custom piece in collaboration with your local Pittsburgh jeweler

Step 1: Call to Book a Consultation with a local Pittsburgh Jeweler

Designing your custom piece begins with booking an initial consultation and gathering your ideas

man on the phone outdoors scheduling appointment
Your initial consultation is the time to set expectations for your final design.

The first step to designing a custom piece of jewelry is booking a consultation. These appointments can take place virtually or in person and are usually about an hour long. When preparing for your consultation, make a list of the details you know you want included in your custom ring design. This could include the following:

  • Metal options: The first piece of designing a custom ring is the metal of the ring. Narrow down your choice between white, yellow, or rose for the color. If you’re not sure, your custom jewelry designer can help you narrow down your options. 
  • Shape: Choosing the shape of your ring comes down to preference. You can keep it simple with a round cut, or you can select something a bit more unique like a pear or emerald cut. 
  • Setting: The ring setting is the part of the ring that displays and secures your gem. This decision will impact the overall look of the ring and the safety of the gemstone. You’ll have many options on how you want to set your ring, so keep in mind which you like so you can talk through your options with your designer. 
  • Gemstone: While diamond is the traditional gemstone for a ring center, you can change it up on your custom ring to add in other colored gemstones or switch out the center stone for a non-traditional ring
  • Ring size: Knowing your or your partner’s ring size is one of the most important elements to get the process started. If you want to keep the ring a surprise, there are a few ways to get your partner’s ring size without asking. 
  • Budget: When you have an idea of what you’d like to spend, your designer can work with you to help you stay within your budget.
  • Timeline: If there’s a specific date you need the ring by, let your designer know. Most custom rings take around 6-8 weeks to complete from beginning to end. 

 During your consultation, you’ll meet with a Pittsburgh jeweler and discuss ideas for your piece. This can include the gemstones, precious metals, shapes, and style ideas of your custom design. During this initial consultation, the more information you can provide, the better!

Step 2: The Initial Design Meeting

Make sure you express all of your ideas to your Pittsburgh jeweler so you can get the best sketches possible

Client meeting with Lisa Marie Kotchey at Lisa Marie Kotchey Design, LLC
Make a list of the things you want out of your custom piece before your first meeting.

The next step in the process is your initial design meeting. Once again, either over video call or in person, you’ll meet with your Pittsburgh jeweler to discuss the design and custom manufacturing process. In this meeting, you’ll get into some of the finer details about your piece. For example, you may be interested in using some elements from your current jewelry collection, such as a band or a gemstone.

You’ll also narrow down the different ideas you proposed in your initial meeting and make a final decision on the type of metal and gemstones you want. After the consultation, you and your jeweler should be on the same page about how the final product will look.

Step 3: Your Jeweler Will Provide You With Some Design Sketches

After your consultation, your Pittsburgh jeweler will present you with some preliminary sketches

jewelry design sketches spread out on table
Think of your initial sketches as a first draft from the jeweler.

After your design meeting, your jeweler will get to work sketching your custom piece. Usually, you will get 3-5 options for different designs that you can choose from. It is important to remember at this stage that this is your design. If for some reason the sketches aren’t matching up with what you had in mind, this is the time to make your critiques heard. During the sketching phase, it is easy to make alterations to the design. So, don’t be afraid to tell your jeweler if you would like some changes made to your sketches.

Step 4: Choose Your Stone

After approving the initial sketches, your Pittsburgh jeweler will present you with a selection of gemstones

hands making jewelry close up
When you custom design jewelry, you can choose the exact stone you want.

Next up, it’s time to finalize your gemstone. There are a lot of different concerns jewelry buyers have when it comes to gemstones. To finalize your gemstone choice, your jeweler will take into account your budget, color, design, quality and source of the gem. During this meeting, you will be able to select the exact stone you want to use for your custom piece. Once again, if you aren’t seeing any stones you like, keep an open dialogue with your jeweler designer and they will be able to accommodate. 

Step 5: We Produce Your Ring Based on an Approved 3D Model

Once you’ve selected your gemstone and approved the final model, your jeweler begins producing your custom piece

gold and silver 3D renderings rings
An example of a 3D rendering.

Now that you have finalized your preliminary sketches and gemstone, it’s time to start production. Using 3D technology, your jeweler will create a model of your ring and send your renderings. When viewing the rendering, you can view your piece from every angle to make sure that the final design is up to your standards. After approval, the designer will begin casting your ring in metal based on the 3D model. After the metal is casted, your jeweler will add the gemstone and begin polishing.

Step 6: Your Custom Piece is Ready!

Congratulations, you’ve designed your own custom jewelry

Lisa Marie Kotchey Design, LLC ring
Your loved one is sure to love a custom designed ring.

Once polishing is completed, your ring is ready for delivery! After you pick up your jewelry or piece has been delivered, you should expect a brief call from your jeweler. This conversation will go over the different aspects of your custom piece and how you should care for it. And that’s the last step! After your final meeting, the only thing left to do is enjoy your jeweler, either for yourself or for that special someone. 

Designing a custom piece with a Pittsburgh jeweler is a big commitment, so you want to make sure you're in good hands. If you’re searching for a custom ring or necklace for a loved one, Lisa Marie Kotchey will assist you in finding the perfect match. Contact us today to get started designing the perfect piece of jewelry.