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Customized or Bespoke - Which is Right For You? (and what’s the difference?)



You’re about to make a very significant jewelry purchase and you want something one-of-a-kind, but you don’t know exactly where to start.  


We’re here to help!  


There are two general categories of “custom jewelry” available that you may want to consider. Different terms are used to describe these, so even within the jewelry industry it can be a little confusing.  


Each jewelry or brand may take a different approach to what’s available. This post describes what we do at Mercurius Jewelry, with additional examples drawn from other brands, to help you navigate on your search for your unique treasure.   


Customizable 

In general, customizable jewelry is created from a pre-existent design which is modified to suit your preferences.  


Our Commitment Collection is an example of this. Every piece is made to order based on our clients’ desired specifications. We start from the basic ring design of their choice and customize the gemstones, metal, setting, and other small details so that every ring we make is uniquely tailored for the wearer.  


Starting from a base design allows us to offer a made-for-you ring at a more accessible entry price. We price the ring and the gemstones separately, so that we can accommodate a range of budgets. 


Some jewelers offer a “build-your-own” feature on their website, where you can browse a gallery of stone choices and match it with a setting selection which makes the process very easy to do in the comfort of your own home. Most of these jewelers will also offer customer support if you need help through the process. 


If you see rings that are sold as “Made to Order” you might also be able to work with the jeweler to tailor the stone or metal selection to your preferences.  


If there is a jeweler that you admire but they don’t advertise their pieces as customizable, they may still be willing to recreate a piece with a different gemstone or metal color. Reach out and inquire - most independent jewelers are thrilled to connect with people who love their work.   


This category of ring design is perfect for someone who wants to have a good idea of what the finished product will look like, but also wants to customize their piece. It also may be the most suitable option for your budget.  


Another important consideration is your timeline. If you’re in a hurry, a made to order piece of any kind is not right for you. If you decide to create a Commitment Collection piece we recommend allowing for at least 8 weeks from our initial Discovery Call to the delivery of your jewelry. 


Additional considerations before you get started:

  • Look for a designer with an aesthetic you love. 

  • Make sure the brand values match your values (e.g. using responsibly sourced materials). 

  • Check out client reviews - are past customers happy with the product and the customer service? 

  • Review the resizing and return policy, as well as maintenance and warranty coverage.  


Bespoke

Bespoke Jewelry is designed just for you from start to finish. 


The designer’s aesthetic may be apparent, but the piece will be designed to your unique specifications.  


Once we decide to work with a client on a Bespoke project, we start with a one-on-one design consultation of about an hour, after which we provide a set of detailed sketches. We incorporate your feedback into subsequent iterations as we refine towards a final design. There is an open line of communication as we work together to create your highly personalized piece.  


This is a much more involved process than the previous category, and the timeline required and price point reflect that. 


Many jewelers and designers do not offer this category at all, and others specialize in it. We use the term “Bespoke” but this is often called “Custom Design” or just “Custom”.  


This option is ideal if you want something extremely unique or if you want to incorporate very personalized symbolism into your design. This is also a great option if you have heirloom materials that you want to reimagine as new jewelry. 


If you decide to pursue Bespoke jewelry design consider all of the bullet points listed in the previous section. In addition, make sure you have the budget and timeline required. We recommend addressing these questions in your first conversation with a prospective jeweler.  




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