Defining the Levels of Custom Jewelry

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custom jewelryJust like a fine tailor has terms to define their offerings, such as bespoke and made to measure, so do we when it comes to custom jewelry. The nomenclature for custom design is as follows:

  • Full Custom: This is a new, from-scratch design that begins with ideas and pictures (on paper or on CAD), with unlimited possibilities.
  • Semi-Custom: Taking an existing design and modifying it–e.g., two hearts changed to two Celtic knots. The design has been customized, but it is a quick change.
  • Made to Order: Taking an existing design with elemental changes—different gemstones, different metals, engravings or other added embellishments–but none to the basic design of the piece.

We use these terms for custom jewelry to clarify the idea to our clients. If you pick a suit out of a catalog that’s then made for you, that’s not bespoke–bespoke is at a whole different level and recognized as such, so is full custom jewelry vs made to order jewelry. We want these terms to lead to happy customers, consistency and understanding throughout the custom design process.

Author: Shawn

Indiana University Alumni

GIA Graduate Gemologist Student

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