How to design an amazing piece of jewellery

How to design an amazing piece of jewellery when you have no idea where to start
June 12, 2017 Laila Raza

First, let’s debunk the myths that surround getting a piece of custom jewellery created.

  1. There are no rules. Design is not about shoulds and should nots (other than, of course, practical and structural recommendations your jeweller may have).
  1. Custom jewellery is about more than diamond size and dollars. You don’t have to be fancy to own a special adornment of your own.
  1. You have a story to share. You may not be able to think of one right now, but the steps outlined below will help bring those stories to the surface.

By the end of this article you’ll be armed with all the information you need to work with your jeweller and create an awesome bespoke design that turns heads and starts conversations. All you need is a story and a desire to translate it into a keepsake you can wear always.

Here’s how.

Step 1: Identify your story

This is where I start when designing a special piece with a customer. Think about the significant people, objects, philosophies, locations and milestones in your life. Get out a piece of paper (yes, a real piece of paper) and write down your answers to these questions.

  1. Who are the 5 most important people in your life?
  2. If you were going to live on a desert island and could only bring one sentimental item with you, what would it be and why?
  3. What causes and passions do you hold closest to your heart?
  4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?
  5. Name the 3 most significant and exciting achievements in your life.
  6. Jot down the first things that come to mind when asked this question: Who are you? Go beyond your name and job title and delve into your history and heritage, personality and beliefs and the factors that made you the person you are today.

Look at your responses and highlight the answers that trigger the most significant reactions. These are the stories and themes you may want to incorporate into your jewellery.

Step 2: Find your style

Think of how you dress, your hobbies and your lifestyle. Do you like rustic designs or clean, geometric forms? Are you glam, a tomboy or all about the bling? Would you consider yourself traditional, or do you like to push the boundaries?

Start with a brain dump of adjectives that describe your style. Then narrow them to the 5 that speak directly to the heart of who you are.

Step 3: Record your inspiration

Here’s where you build a mood board to share with your chosen jewellery designer. Pinterest is a great tool to use.

Your board can include practical images (such as the styles of jewellery and types of settings you like) and mood images (such as textures, colours and scenes that relate to the story you identified in Step 1).

Think about the materials you’d like to use and what they communicate: The ocean blue-greens of an Australian parti sapphire, the warm rich tones of 18ct yellow gold, or the earthy, organic hues of a rose cut diamond. Perhaps even think about contrast, like a striking black gem against a soft rosy pink gold.

Remember that your jewellery doesn’t have to incorporate precious metals and gems. You can tell your story in materials like leather, wood and stainless steel mesh.

4. Brief your jewellery designer

Now you’re ready to brief your jewellery designer. Note the story you selected in Step 1, the styles you identified in Step 2 and the mood board you created in Step 3. It’s time to create.

Be open minded, and listen to suggestions. Your designer should work with you to communicate your story in a way that takes into consideration the practicality and longevity of your jewellery.

A handy hint when you’re choosing your designer. Every jeweller is different – some have set views about what jewellery should look like, and will design within the boundaries of those views. Others think outside the box and are happy to try new things and offer alternative suggestions. Look at their portfolio and design style. If you like what you see, organise a chat to get a feel of their approach to design.

Now it’s your turn

The design and creation phases are some of the most exciting parts of the custom jewellery process. Nothing beats seeing with your own eyes, how a concept that solely existed in your mind come to reality.

I’d love to hear what story-telling keepsakes you have always wanted to own for yourself. Leave your comments below!

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