The right jewelry can make anyone feel special, and when a piece is totally unique it takes that feeling to a whole new level.
In a world of mass-produced styles and fast fashion, nothing beats true, individual design and uniquely personal style.
This is what makes the shiny allure of custom jewelry hard to resist. With online brands making it easier for customers to choose and personalize their own unique pieces, it is no wonder that custom jewelry is experiencing something of a surge in popularity!
If you’re in the market for custom jewelry, either as a statement style piece or as a personalized gift, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about the different types of custom jewelry and where to buy the best.
What is custom jewelry and why is it becoming more popular?
Custom jewelry is any type of jewelry that has been crafted to bring out a sense of personality or uniqueness. It is often made according to a customer’s specific needs in terms of style, material and design. You can either create a piece of custom jewelry from scratch or modify an already existing piece.
Custom jewelry has become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, there has been a notable growth in the jewelry industry as a whole in the recent past. By 2018, the value of the personal luxury goods market worldwide was 260 billion euros.
The value of the diamond custom jewelry market alone was 87 billion US dollars. This is expected to reach a value of 173 billion dollars by 2035.
This goes to show that while custom jewelry is popular now, it is only going to get even more popular in coming years.
Diamonds and gold are on the increase
More and more people are purchasing diamonds and gold. But why?
Well, for one thing, millennials have become more financially stable, and they have developed a taste for gold and diamond. This explains why the sale of gold and diamond in the world market has been on the increase. In fact, it is estimated that 147 million carats of diamonds were produced from mines worldwide in 2018 alone!
But diamonds and gold aside, why do people buy personalized jewelry in the first place? What is it that makes it so special?
Uniqueness outshines mass-market styles
The main reason people gravitate to custom jewelry is because, by its very nature, it is totally unique.
Custom jewelry puts uniqueness in the foreground, and gives customers something totally tailored to their own personal tastes.
This can be something as simple as a customer ordering a custom necklace to be made with their name engraved on it, to a hopeful future fiancé working with a jewelry designer to create a specially crafted engagement ring for their partner.
People are more drawn to customized jewelry because of the extra work and commitment that the craftsman puts into creating it.
Perhaps the only downside of jewelry customization is the fact that it usually costs more than regular jewelry. This is not only due to the extra time and effort that goes into making it, but also because of the use of additional materials. Consequently, it is often the case that custom jewelry pieces are of far better quality than their mass-market counterparts.
The 4 major types of custom jewelry
While there are many different types of personalized jewelry available to consumers these days, the most popular pieces by far are custom rings, custom necklaces, custom bracelets and custom earrings.
Often described as being one of the easiest pieces to craft, custom necklaces can be personalized in many ways. A customization could be something as simple as adjusting the length to suit the customer’s preferences.
Other times the customization might be more creative. The jeweler may work to a design brief, crafting the necklace to a customer’s exact specifications. This could involve silver or gold smithing, wire working, lapidary or other crafts and techniques practiced by jewelry makers.
Personalized name necklaces and engraved necklaces are also popular. This is a relatively simple customization option in which part of the necklace is engraved or etched with a specific name, date, or message to make it one-of-a-kind.
Personalized bracelets are also a popular option for anyone wanting a unique piece of jewelry. They are relatively easy to create from scratch (depending on the method). For example, it is possible to customize an already existing bracelet by rearranging the links, adding or swapping beads and fastening charms to create a whole new design.
Like custom necklaces, bracelets can also be personalized—often by adding an engraved charm, etched with a person's name. Since the charm on a bracelet is often much smaller than a pendant on a necklace, the surface area for engraving is much smaller too. This means short engravings, like single words, coordinates, or dates are often popular customization options.
Custom earrings are also a popular option—but like bracelets, they do not often leave much room for an engraver to work with.
But while earrings aren’t the most popular option for engraving, they can be customized in other ways. For example, a pair of hoop earrings could be modified by adding a pendant, and stud earrings can be customized by adding a different backing, such as a butterfly back. Custom earrings are popular due to their subtlety, as they allow a person to create their own unique look, without appearing too flashy.
Rings are relatively easy to modify, and are another extremely popular form of custom jewelry—particularly engagement rings and wedding rings. They can be personalized by engraving names, dates or even intricate designs on either the inner or outer band.
Other customization options can include a choice of width, texture, color selection, the size of the stone and the setting. The custom wedding ring market has seen significant growth over the last few years as jewelry designers and suppliers have recognized the consumer need for personalization.
Now, you will find that many people choose to work with a jewelry designer to create a whole new wedding or engagement ring from scratch.
Besides the 4 custom jewelry types above, other types of jewelry like watches can also be customized based on your style and preferences.
How to get your custom jewelry made
As we have seen, jewelry customization has been gaining popularity in recent years. Consequently, finding a good jeweler or jewelry supplier at a great price isn’t always easy, due to this growing market.
You need to be very careful when choosing a supplier or designer of custom jewelry. Because they are so popular, some unscrupulous dealers may sell fake or poor quality items just to make a quick buck. The only way to protect yourself from falling for this is to do your research, and to buy from trusted sources.
Customized jewelry depends on the customer’s choice of style, design, material, and price. You really have to think hard about what you want first before checking out the different personalized jewelry sellers out there.
Custom jewelry can be acquired either online or offline, depending on a customer’s choice of brand, designer, and accessibility of the stores.
Buy custom jewelry in-store
Offline shopping is great because you can literally touch what you want to buy, so you know exactly what you are getting the moment you pay for it. You will get to choose the design you like before having several face-to-face discussions with the designer or artist.
They could present you with ideas through sketches or pictures, or you could select pre-existing products in the shop. Once the initial design is done, they could also make modifications on the jewelry to suit your tastes.
All this is possible because your physical presence means you can see, feel and touch the jewelry and even try it on before actually making a final decision to purchase the product.
Buy custom jewelry online
Online shopping for custom jewelry has become a growing trend in recent years. A lot of people now prefer to order and purchase their pieces from the comfort of their homes or offices without ever visiting the store. This is perfect for international orders, time-sensitive purchases, or when you are not able to make the purchase in person for one reason or the other.
Customers are getting more and more comfortable making personalized shopping for jewelry online. It is now possible to choose from several designs, have an online discussion with the jeweler and view the product virtually.
Let’s take a custom necklace as an example—such as this personalized name necklace on Soufeel. This is typical of online custom jewelry offerings; you first select the necklace, and then type in the name you want to customize it with.
The name will then appear as a preview in the specified font, so you can see how it will look as a finished product. You can then select your preferred material from a drop-down menu, and compare the prices of the different precious metals (ranging from 14k gold, to rose gold, to silver and many more).
Whether you use Soufeel or another online personalized jewelry supplier, there are several factors to consider when making online purchases for custom jewelry:
- Always check the authenticity of the site. This is the best way to safeguard your purchases.
- Ensure that the product has a return policy, a product guarantee or warranty.
- Check if the billing is genuine.
- Whenever possible, find out the ratings of any online jewelry shop to understand other customers’ experiences.
Big brands in the jewelry market
While the jewelry market may be dominated by big brands such as Tiffany & Co., David Yurman, Hermes and Mikimoto, do not let that fool you into believing they have the whole market covered.
In fact, other brands are snapping up market share. Brands such as Soufeel, Custom Made, My Name Necklace, Oak & Luna, and Zales are big names in the custom jewelry sector, and it’s easy to see why.
These big brands have worked to gain their market share through product differentiation and market segmentation—namely by offering the personalization options that customers actually want.
The way these brands offer customization obviously differs from brand to brand. For example, Custom Made allows consumers to work directly with a designer to create a custom designed ring, while My Name Necklace offers personalization options that the consumer can select for themselves.
These brands attract specific consumers who are interested in unique designs and thoughtful gifts that mean something. These consumers are relatively affluent, and have a unique sense of style and sentiment. They value personal style over mass-produced designs—and these popular custom jewelry brands deliver exactly what their target consumers want.
Tips on where to find the best custom jewelry
If you want to buy the best custom jewelry, there are several things that you need to keep in mind. For example, you need to consider the occasion that the piece is being bought for, your specific tastes and preferences, the available materials and patterns, and above all else, your budget!
Keep wardrobe (and occasion) in mind
Different pieces can be matched with different outfits—and are also suited to different specific occasions. You want to select matching pieces of jewelry such as bracelets and ring combinations that complement the outfits you already own.
Similarly, you also want to select jewelry that is suited to specific occasions. A plain silver bangle, for example, would suit everyday wear—while a glitzy pair of drop earrings might be more suited to formal events.
Consider your budget
Another thing to consider is the different brand prices. As you shop, don’t just look at one brand’s products and product ranges. Look through the catalogs of other brands, too, and be sure to pick something that fits within your budget well and meets your particular tastes at the same time.
Look out for reviews
Reviews are also incredibly important when shopping for jewelry. They allow previous customers to give their feedback on what they thought or how they feel about a particular product.
As a potential customer, you need to read these reviews. They will help you know what to expect and guide you on picking only the best product.
Get inspired on social media
Finally, leverage the power of social media. You will find happy customers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter flaunting their jewelry. It will give you a real-life look at the jewelry and arm you with even more information on what the different pieces are like.
Social media is also a very important marketing tool for jewelry brands because it provides the perfect way to inspire potential customers and convince them to buy certain products based on the photos or videos of jewelry shared on these social platforms.
Whether you choose to work directly with a custom jewelry designer or use one of the fantastic online brands to create a personalized item—you can be sure of one thing; the piece you purchase really will be one of a kind.