The design process
I love creating bespoke pieces for my lovely clients, there is nothing more fabulous than working together to create the perfect item of jewellery, or a bridal head piece, wedding ring or special gift.
I usually work with a client over email and phone, or video call, and we will have an initial conversation about what you want, your budget, and you share any pictures which are inspirations for your ideas (Pinterest ahoy!). If you have something you would like included in the new design, such as your grannie’s brooch, or a string of pearls, you can send these to me and I’ll build the new design around it. In the past I have included a large cameo brooch which was very sentimental into a beautiful headpiece, and even a heavy metal Iron Maiden pin badge into a comb for a fabulous rock’n’roll bride! I then go away and do some sketches and work out costs, to make sure we are on the same page. At this point, if you like what you see, you place the order and I then go off to make your special piece. When it’s ready I snap some photos to show you, and if you’re happy with it, I go ahead and wrap it carefully for postage, and it will wing it’s way to you!
Very often a piece of jewellery or a hair accessory will be needed to match an outfit, for bridesmaids for example. In this instance you can send me a small piece of fabric (most bridal dress shops will be able to give you a small swatch of fabric for this purpose) and I can match the colour to the stones you want included in your design. I use Swarovski crystal and this gives us a really large range of colours, which are far superior in quality and consistent colour tone.
I use very high quality materials in my designs- for jewellery I use sterling silver, gold, copper and brass wire and sheet, with precious and semi precious stones. For bridal headpieces, I use good quality silver or gold plated wire. Crystal components are normally Swarovski crystal (unless for the design we need to use high quality Czech glass also- these are fabulous for larger stones and pressed shapes), glass pearls are Swarovski pearls, and I also utilise freshwater pearls in some of my designs. Some pieces have vintage components, these are recycled from quality vintage crystal jewellery, such as brooches, earrings, and necklaces. I do not use plastic crystal components (vintage or modern). Sometimes I also combine the vintage brooches with modern components, these are of a high quality and serve to enhance the design.
If you have vintage parts you would like to incorporate into a design, you can send them to me, and I will gladly make them part of the design wherever possible. There is something wonderful about including a special loved one’s jewellery into something you can treasure, or wear on your big day, and it becomes a new heirloom.
I usually ask for a 50% deposit on order, when you have seen the sketches and agreed the costs, with the further 50% becoming payable on completion of the order, before posting. The initial 50% deposit is non-refundable; as soon as you place the order, I source materials and incur costs, and the deposit is required in case the order is abandoned as it will cover the materials and a small portion of my time. This may be negotiable if within a very short period after ordering, but once the order is being made to your specification the deposit will be forfeited, or of course you can continue with the order, pay the outstanding amount and receive your order.
I usually ask for 6 weeks for a custom order, dependant on how full my order books are at the time. I will let you know the expected completion date when you order. Remember if you are ordering a bespoke hair accessory for your wedding, you will want this for your hair trial, which is usually 4-6 weeks before the wedding. It’s best to allow 3 months before a wedding date if at all possible (if not see ‘rush orders’ below!).
Sometime you just need something in a hurry! Don’t fret, I can often accommodate a rush order- get in touch letting me know what you would like and the date you need it by, and I will check if it’s possible. There may be a small extra charge if I also incur extra costs for ordering materials in a which need express delivery, or for rushing an order to the Assay Office for Hallmarking.
All individual Sterling silver items over 7.78g, and gold over 1g legally have to hallmarked, to prove the quality of the metal. Your item will be marked with the mark of the Birmingham Assay Office (an anchor), the numbers 925 (the purity of Sterling Silver) or 375, 585, 750, 916 (for the varying carats of gold) and my own maker’s mark (SD in two squares). If your item is under this weight, your piece may not be hallmarked but will be made from exactly the same materials, from the same bullion merchant, so you can be assured of the quality.
I love to chat- and I’m a super friendly person, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a query, or want to see if something is possible.
I am a member of the Wedding Guild of Wales and take my customer service very seriously. I love what I do and take great pride in making people happy, and over the last 15 years people have been thrilled with my service and designs. Check out my testimonials!
gift box designer jewellery
sketching out an engagement ring design
Finished engagement and wedding rings with emerald and diamond
sketches of custom ring commissions
a custom bridal millinery design with client's own vintage brooch
sketches of custom bridal vintage jewelled comb
designs for bridal millinery, a floral crystal headband
A custom jewelled bridal tiara with vintage brooches and crystal, in bold tones of blues and greens
a page from my sketchbook of designs for silver pendants and rings