Fashion

5 things you need to know about designing your own jewellery

Personalised pieces are a great way to make something extra special – here’s how to go about creating the bespoke jewellery of your dreams…

In an age when personalisation is de rigueur and shoppers are favouring more considered purchases, we’re increasingly looking for investment pieces that suit our personal style, are high quality and are symbolic of a treasured memory or milestone in our lives – and that applies to our jewellery collections, too.

Whether it’s a pendant featuring your favourite gemstone or a signet ring engraved with a precious message, jewellery can hold huge sentimental value. 

So who wouldn’t want to play designer and create a personal piece you’ll treasure forever?

But with a dizzying array of options out there, it’s tricky to know where to begin. 

Will you go traditional or modernist? Embrace bold, colourful gemstones or keep it minimal and dainty? And how can you ensure your choices will stand the test of time? 

We asked the experts for their advice on what you need to know when designing your own jewellery.  

1. Get inspired

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“When creating a piece from scratch, it can help to build a moodboard,” says Charlie Boyd, jewellery editor and glitz aficionado. 

“Start by looking at existing pieces you love, so you can pick and choose details from each, giving a clear visual brief to your designer.”

If you’re unsure on colours or metal tones, Boyd recommends considering what you will wear it with. 

“Will it be worn alongside your existing jewellery, and do you want the colours or metals to match or perhaps contrast? It can help to take those existing pieces along to your designer, so they can get the look and feel of them in the flesh, and echo their design.”

It’s also important to think about the sentiment. 

“Are there any particular stones that hold meaning for you, or would you like to include an inscription? Jewellery is incredibly personal, and bespoke pieces even more so.”

2. Work with the pros

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One way to ensure you find a piece that is right for you, as well as your budget, is to go straight to the source. 

Bespoke fine jewellery brand Vashi has made this easier than ever, turning their stores into collaborative spaces, putting you at the heart of the design and making process without an intimidating doorman in sight.

“Our mission is to make our overall experience feel very welcoming and accessible,” says Liz Olver, Director of Product Design at Vashi. 

“Our team of experienced designers will talk through your vision and bring your ideas to life through sketches, while offering expert design and technical advice to ensure the piece is just as you’d like it.”

 “You’re even invited to join us at the bench to help make as much of the piece as you’d like.” 

Being at the heart of the experience, the brand starts every consultation with an informal masterclass focused on precious metals and gemstones, empowering you to make informed decisions from start to finish which certainly makes the end result all the more meaningful.

3. Consider wearability

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So your Pinterest board is full of inspiration and you’ve found your go-to brand, but how something actually looks may influence your choice. 

“That 10 carat diamond ring you’ve been lusting over on Instagram might not work so well in everyday life,” says jewellery expert Liza Urla of Gemologue

“You need to consider what you’re happy to wear on a daily basis. For example, if your manicure only lasts a couple of days, then avoid delicate ring settings. ” 

After all, a beautiful piece that keeps catching on your chunkier knits is going to lose its lustre pretty quickly, so while you may like to imagine yourself drenched in bling, it’s worth thinking about the practicalities and test driving several styles. 

As Urla notes, “Without trying on different stone sizes as well as different setting styles you’ll never know what will work for you in real life, so try and try again.”

“Comfort is key. You want jewellery to feel like a second skin, so it has to work on a practical level.” 

4. Keep it sustainable

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With consumers increasingly taking a much-needed interest in their environmental impact, choosing responsibly crafted jewellery is more important than ever. 

Look for suppliers that are transparent about their processes and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Vashi is one company that’s doing it right, championing a green, innovative approach to creating jewellery. 

“We are all very aware of the environmental challenges we face, and at Vashi we do all we can to ensure our impact is positive,” says Liz Olver. 

“By making our jewellery locally in-store, the carbon footprint for a Vashi piece is minimised, which is important to us and our customers. Additionally, 100% of the precious metals we use are recycled.” 

Sustainable and stylish? It’s a win-win.

5. Be brave

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When it comes to the final design, go with your gut and choose a design that you adore. 

“Jewellery is the ultimate means of self-expression,” says Liza Urla, “and designing jewellery from scratch  allows you to broadcast your personality to the world.”

Above all else, be brave. This is your chance to create a piece that’s totally unique to you.

You don’t need to stay within the traditional box - so long as you create something that’s true to your personal sense of style, you won’t go wrong.

Want to design your own bespoke piece of jewellery? Vashi’s unique experience is offered either as a virtual consultation online or in person at their six retail stores. Make a completely bespoke and original creation or personalise and customise pieces from the ready-to-wear collections. Find out more here.

Photography: Pauline Caranton, Benedict Morgan, Sirui Ma, Vicki King.