The Comissions Process
If you are thinking about commissioning a special piece of jewellery or are looking to have an existing piece remodelled there are a few things you will need to give some thought to. You need not be a designer yourself but asking yourself these questions really help to understand exactly what it is you want from your commission. It might be that you have no idea or want to leave it entirely up to me to create something, this is ok too. But if you do have any ideas or thoughts, please do share them. Your input is invaluable to the process and the more information you give will help realise the design in its final form.
What is it I want made?
- Is it a bangle, an engagement ring? A special necklace? Regardless of whether you are remodelling or starting from scratch, this really is the first question you need to ask.
Who is this commission for?
Is it for you? A gift for your best friend? An eternity ring for your partner? If the item is not for yourself how well do you know their tastes and will they enjoy the style of asterlingidea? Jewellery is incredibly subjective and personal thing, you want to make sure you are getting it right.
What is it I want made?
- Is it a bangle, an engagement ring? A special necklace? Regardless of whether you are remodelling or starting from scratch, this really is the first question you need to ask. If you are looking to remodel an existing piece of jewellery, have a look at our our remodelling process.
What style do I want for my commission?
- Are you after a clean design with smooth lines? Something very traditional? Perhaps a statement piece in an organic style?
Does the style I want reflect the style of asterlingidea?
Often people get in touch looking for commissions in a style that is completely opposite to mine. Many jewellers work in a certain way and style that they feel most comfortable with. It might be that other styles may not interest them or they like less. Just as you wouldn't think of applying for a job you have no interest in or desire to do, most jewellers will not take on commission work that is not in keeping with their own style. The best way to determine whether my style is right for you is to have a look at some of my work. For example, a lot of my designs features rough textures and does not have mirror shine finishes. I use bezels and experimental settings rather than claw ones. Although detailed, my designs are not intricate in their forms. It would be inappropriate then to commission me to make a highly polished, expertly carved celtic band with a claw set diamond and inset stones on the shoulders. Although, I could make that ring, I would not enjoy doing so and due to the way I work, It would likely not be made to my truest abilities and your commission may suffer. However, there are no hard or fast rules and an enquiry is always welcome. If it turns out that I may not want to take on your commission, I will almost certainly be able to recommend another jeweller who will. Silver linings and all that.
What is my budget?
- If you are working with a strict budget it is imperative that you are let me know about it and your expectations. I am always happy to work to any budget and where expectations are unrealistic I will try to offer creative alternatives.
What metals/stones do I want my commission made out of?
Your choice of metal and stones are limited only by your budget. I work with all precious metals with the exception of platinum. All metals have their limitations and it may be a certain design in one metal cannot be reproduced in different one. It is often the case during remodelling work that extra metal may need to be purchased to create your chosen piece.
How often will the piece be worn?
- Daily? Only at weekends? High days and holidays? It does have an impact and can be important to the design. Softer stones such as opals, pearls and turquoise are less suitable for daily wear as they are more likely to become damaged from normal activities but in an occasional piece they can work well. A wedding or engagement ring that is worn daily must be robust and functional enough to withstand normal day-to-day wear and tear.
Do I need the piece by a certain date?
- Most people who commission jewellery from me need it within a certain timeframe or for a specific date. My standard lead time for commissions is 12 weeks (3 months) depending on how busy I am, when you contact me I will be able to give you a more precise time. I can and am happy to work with commissions that require more urgency but be aware that this comes with an added premium as I will be prioritising your order over other outstanding orders.
Do I have accurate sizing details?
- This one is definite mine field which I have become a font of knowledge on, especially in the case of partners looking to find out their better half's ring size for an engagement ring! Eventually I will write a whole article on this and you are always free to e-mail me if you are looking for secret - and sometimes devious - ways to find out but in the meantime there really is no better way to be sized than by a jeweller. Flimsy plastic sizers and internet printouts might go someway to finding out but usually they end up being out by a size or 2. Sizing is not just for rings! Both bracelets/bangles and necklaces all come in different sizes. There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to commissioning jewellery. Any high street jeweller worth their weight will be happy to size you for free with no obligation to purchase anything – just pop in and ask them.
Can I scribble down my ideas for you to see?
- Yes absolutely! Even if you are no Picasso, a simple line drawing can speak volumes when it comes to design. The same goes for idea boards such as pinterest - it opens up a huge insight into style and preference which I can use to translate into a design.
Ok, I've thought about all this and I want to go ahead and commission you, what now?
- There is likely to be a few e-mails exchanged regarding details and ideas, we can even chat via Skype if you would prefer. After we have finalised the ideas I can put together a proposal for you detailing full costs, design specifics and a very basic sketch of designs. I must place emphasis on the "very basic" element of this. I work from a very different design ethic than most. You can read more about this here. There is never any obligation to go ahead with your commission unless you are 100% happy with the proposal. If you want take a step back or time to think it over this is no problem at all. If everything is good and you want to go ahead, a PayPal invoice will be drawn up and payment will need to be made before construction of the piece begins.