How To: Commission a Piece of Jewellery
Commission a Bespoke Piece of Jewellery
Jewellers (and other makers, artists and designer) often talk about ‘commissions’, but what does this actually mean? For me, working to commission means that I work with customers to create bespoke, custom and unique jewellery pieces. Think of it as a collaboration between you and the designer. It allows you to have some input into the design of the piece and become part of the making process.
So...have you ever thought about commissioning a special piece of jewellery but aren’t sure how to start? Here are some top tips to help you achieve your dream design…
First things first, what do you want to make?
Although I can work with you to figure out exactly what you’d like, commissioning works best when you already have an idea. Think about who the jewellery is for. What do they like? What do they wear? Do they have any interests or hobbies you’d like to incorporate into the design? Is it for a special occasion? Do you have a preference for the type of metal or stones in the design? The more information you can give the designer the better.
Get to know the designer.
You want to choose the right designer who can turn your idea into something tangible. Get to know their work and choose a designer whose style you like. Many designers like to add their own influence into commissioned pieces so let them know if there are elements of their own designs you’d like to include in the piece. Make sure the designer you choose will take on commissions, if you’re not sure just send them an email - most jewellers will be happy to help and even if they won’t do the work themselves they may pass you on to somebody who will.
Ask how the designer works and make sure you feel comfortable with their commission process. I like to have an initial consultation via email, phone or in person. After this I ask for a £50 design fee and once the design is confirmed I will take a 50% deposit and begin making your piece. I will keep you up to date with the making of your piece via email. Ask the designer what their process is, if they provide sketches, how they will make sure the piece fits and anything else you can think of. Knowing the answers to all of these questions at the beginning will leave you feeling confident at every stage.
Have a budget in mind.
If you are commissioning a piece of handmade jewellery it is important to value the time and effort they put into making your bespoke piece. When a designer prices a commission they take a lot into consideration. As well as designing and making your piece they will have to think about fluctuation of the price of precious metals, any hallmarking fees and the overheads that come with running a small jewellery business. Give your designer a budget as early as possible, if you are unsure what your budget will cover, don’t be afraid to ask, many pieces can be designed and altered to suit your needs by using different metals or stones. I work closely with my customers to ensure that I can create a beautiful piece that is within their budget. If you are looking for a bargain or just want the best price then a commissioned piece of jewellery is probably not for you. Most commissioned pieces are custom made and completely unique. Be realistic with your budget and never expect a designer to lower their commission price.
Work To a Deadline.
It is likely that you are commissioning a piece of jewellery as a gift for someone special. If this is the case and you will need the piece for a specific date let your designer know as soon as possible. Be aware that designers can often have large workloads and the time it takes to complete a commission varies from piece to piece. It can take from 3-10 weeks to design and create from the first consultation to delivery, depending on the complexity of the design.
Be prepared, think ahead and have a deadline to ensure you get your pieces in time for all of those special occasions.
I hope you find these tips are helpful and now feel confident when commissioning a bespoke piece of jewellery.
Alongside my collections I do provide a commission service and can update any existing designs in another metal or to suit your style. Take a look at my commissions gallery and get in touch to chat about how we can make your perfect piece of jewellery.