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Hot off the Bench: Past Meets the Present with a Coat of Arms Wedding Band


Part of what I love about working at Custom Jewelry is getting to merge the past with the present. In a custom jewelry and repair shop, this can happen in many different ways. Sometimes a client will bring in an old worn out ring and want to restore it to it’s former glory. Other times, a person will bring in old earrings that have sentimental value, but they never wear. So we make them into cuff links or rings or another accessory they love. And then there are times like this ring, where we create a completely new piece of jewelry, but get to tie it into the past.

Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-bandOur client needed a wedding band. He didn’t want a traditional, plain men’s wedding band though. He figured that if he was going to wear a ring for the rest of his life, he wanted it to remind him about where he was from. So, he came to us with the concept of incorporating his family’s coat of arms into the band. He brought us pictures of family crests and the coat of arms that had been passed down to him, and Lee started to work his magic. He designed a simple band that would fit a truncated version of the arms. Once created, the ring and the picture of the arms were handed over to our wonderful engraver, and he started to weave his magic. When the ring came back it got a coat of rhodium plating, was shined up, and then presented to it’s owner. The white gold and lions rampart really give it an antique feel, and bring a little bit of one family’s history to the present for it’s next generation.

Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-bandMen's wedding band 4           Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-band

So how do you stay connected to the past in your family? Do you have a special family heirloom that has been passed down over the generations? Let us know in the comments.

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Tips for Shopping for a Custom Engagement Ring: Part Two


Welcome to the second installment of our two-part series on shopping for a custom engagement ring. This week, we’ll be talking about timelines, process, and hopefully giving you some good advice about how to expedite your engagement ring process.

Part Two: Process & Timelines

Most of the other questions we get revolve around how long something will take or what you, as the customer, needs to do in order have a smooth designing process. I’ve taken some of the top behaviors we see and turned them into a few tips on how to ensure that your proposal with a custom ring will go as smoothly as possible.

5. Set a proposal timeline. One of the questions we normally get is “how long will this take?” and the answer is very dependent on the type of ring you want to create. Intricate design work takes longer than a simple band, and if the jeweler has to outsource some of the construction — like hand engraving — then that will also add to the timeline. So, the best thing to do is to decide when you want to propose, and then start shopping around a few months before that date. Most custom rings will take around 4-6 weeks to create, but some definitely take longer and you want to give yourself enough buffer for unforeseen circumstances (like your jeweler getting sick). So ask yourself when you’d like to propose to your loved one. Are you a Christmas lover, and want to ask over a bonfire? Is there a special anniversary coming up you want to take advantage of? Once you know when you’d like to do it, then you can work backwards from that date to start shopping around. Ideally you’d give yourself a 2-3 month buffer: enough time to get a few price quotes, have the ring created, and finalize the details of your proposal after the ring is completed.

6. Remember your jeweler is human. Sometimes metalsmithing and jewelry creation seems like magic to me. Somehow someone takes a lump of raw material and turns it into a beautiful, shiny adornment. But behind every intriguing piece of jewelry was a very skilled (and very human) hand molding it into what it is. Like with most things nowadays, I’ve become so accustomed to a “right here, right now” lifestyle that I forget sometimes that real artisanship takes time. So when you’re shopping for Custom Jewelry, don’t be in a rush.  It’s like the old adage says, sometimes the slower you go the faster you get there, and a jeweler should only go as fast as the speed of art. The reason we love handmade is because it is unique, individual, and has the artisan stamp of one person’s viewpoint at a single moment of time. So embrace slight imperfections and don’t expect fine work to be done in a day. Keep an open mind, and remember, your jeweler is human. But he or she is going to work to keep your business and wants to make a piece for you that stands the test of time — even if it’s going to take some to create.

7. Know the ring size. You’d be surprised how many rings we’ve created without having an accurate ring size. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to have it.  But it is soooo much better if you do. Here’s why: When you propose, your beloved is going to want to wear the ring. Right then. Right there. And they do not want to worry about it falling off or not going on. The other reason is that when the jeweler designs a ring, they take specific dimensions into consideration. The size of a person’s hands and fingers is one of them. A 5 mm width looks different on a size 5 finger than a size 7 finger, and fine tuning your design to be as beautiful as it can be is something you can only do with exact dimensions. Most good jewelers will plan rings with the ability to size it up or down by 1 size, but having to drastically change an intricately designed ring can get really hairy, really quickly. So our advice: figure out the ring size. Doing so means not having to come back to the jeweler after you propose, and allows you to end up with a complete and fine-tuned custom design. Not to mention, your beloved will be ecstatic when it fits like a glove the first time.

8. Find a jeweler you trust. This may be obvious, but it is also the best tip we’ve got. While ideally you’d have all of our previous tips in mind while shopping, working with a jeweler you trust is worth it’s weight in gold (pardon the pun), as they can walk you through the process. As I said in my last post, good jewelers have your best interest at heart and will give you options to fit timeline, budget, and scope of the work you want. They are happy to answer your questions and want to create something beautiful with you. So if all thus fails, find someone who you connect with.

With that, I’ll leave you with a few more of the beautiful engagement rings we’ve had the pleasure of creating. We hope they inspire, and happy designing!

  Bezel-set-sapphire-engagement-ring  Blue Topaz Tree Ring  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Hot off the Bench: Hand-engraved white gold engagement ring and wedding band

White gold flower wedding set

There’s classic, and then there’s fairy tale. When Lee brought over this wedding set — a hand-engraved white gold and diamond engagement ring and flower band — from the bench, I blurted out, “Oh my god, did you steal these from Cinderella?!” To which I’m fairly certain he replied something like “Even Prince Charming needs a jeweler.”

Seriously though, these rings are fabulous. I know it. Lee knows it. And the lucky wearer of them knows it. It’s like a fantasy-garden grew up around her finger while she was sleeping. It’s like a fairy godmother popped out of a pumpkin and turned a garden gnome into diamond. It’s like Aladdin’s Genie floated over and gave her two of Aladdin’s three wishes. They are gorgeous: White gold, impeccable flower details, hand-engraving, and the most incredible little scroll-work on the engagement ring’s shank.

But really the craziest thing about these rings is that there was no fairy godmother, fantasy-garden, or fabled genie. Just a beautiful vision of what the rings could be, and hand-crafted artistry from a master jeweler and a master engraver. These rings were very-much created in reality. Now they’re making the wearer’s dreams come true.

Fairy-tale-white-gold-engagement-ring  Daisy-flower-white-gold-wedding-band Hand-engraved-princess-wedding-set Hand-engraved-flower-wedding-band Posy-flower-wedding-set Hand-engraved-flower-wedding-ring Secret-garden-engagement-ringCustom-flower-engagement-ring

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White gold and diamond shadow wedding bands

The lucky owner of this beautiful diamond and sapphire engagement ring was thrilled to receive such a stunning family heirloom from her fiance. But, like most antique rings, her new engagement ring didn’t come with a wedding band, and modern wedding bands weren’t doing the ring justice. So, she partnered with Custom to let us create the perfect pair of white gold and diamond wedding bands to enhance the delicate beauty of her vintage ring.

Vintage and antique engagement rings are near-and-dear to our hearts at Custom. Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing we love more than helping couples create gorgeous custom engagement rings to represent their one-of-a-kind love. But, we appreciate the romanticism behind giving your loved one a ring that has a history of love behind it, as well.

However, as our bride-to-be found out, finding the right wedding band to marry to a beautiful antique or vintage ring is tricky. Rings of an early era (1900 or earlier) were often created to wear alone and therefore tend to have non-standard shapes. Most vintage wedding bands (1950 and later) are usually separated from the engagement ring as they get passed down through the generations. So, if you want to use a vintage ring as an engagement ring, most modern wedding bands won’t *quite* fit the unique shape of your older ring. This is also what makes vintage rings fun (for Custom, at least)! We can’t wait to breathe new life into an old ring with a wedding band (or in this case, bands) that make each ring uniquely the wearer’s.

In this case, our bride knew she wanted two bands, each with diamonds, that would frame her engagement ring. Custom knew we wanted the bands to enhance, not overshadow, the ring’s delicate filigree work. After some consultation and a few rounds of design, we came up with these two lovely shadow bands with prong set diamonds. We love how the bands gently hug the ring and the prong-set round diamonds give the outside edge a delicate scalloped look, gently mirroring the fine filigree scroll work on the ring. In the end, the bride loved the sparkle, the groom loved that it didn’t detract from the family’s ring, and we loved that we had two more happy customers.



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Mens Hand Engraved Wedding Band

Whether you are a man or woman, your wedding band should hold some meaning. It is refreshing when our male customers put the kind of time into thinking of an idea, as it will take us to realize it. Everything about this ring is deliberate. The proportions, its weight, its contrast, and every swirl of the engraving. A great deal of effort went into getting everything exactly right. You get out what you put in, and this wedding band exemplifies Custom jewelry.


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Pink Sapphire Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Engagement Ring and Band

This Pink Sapphire Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Engagement Ring and Band was a bittersweet job. We had just made a wedding band to match the original engagement ring, when 2 weeks later both rings were stolen. Luckily the Engagement ring was insured, and we were able to recreate both missing rings. It is very important to have your jewelry insured. This is a perfect example of how anything can happen. It’s not the type of job we like to do often, but we are very proud that when Custom is needed to replace something very dear, that we are able. Congratulations on having your Engagement Ring and Band back!