WORK WITH ME – GO BESPOKE
Have your own piece of jewellery custom made specifically for you.
Wear your own story!
If you have a particular piece of jewellery in mind – whether it is for yourself or for a special gift – I will be happy to help you achieve your dream design!
Things to think about: Who is it for, what do they like, wear and do? Do you have items you would like to re-model? Colours Metals Jewellery type Ring sizes, and any other sizes that are specific. A completion deadline. An idea of budget.
How to get it started: Each jewellery commission begins with a one to one discussion. Depending on your location that may be a meeting with me in the workshop, a conversation via telephone, video call or over email.
From this initial meeting I will establish your needs and create a brief to work from to begin the design process. It is helpful to have a budget at this stage in the process so that I can design within this boundary or a basic idea of cost can be provided free of charge. You can contact me to discuss any of your ideas at [email protected]
The initial consultation will be free of charge and should last approximately one hour if in person or via the telephone. Any necessary further meetings or correspondence will be included within the final price of your item.
A piece takes 4 months in total to complete and goes through 4 Phases as follows:
Phase 1 – The Design & Budget: After initial consultation, I can provide a detailed ‘working budget’ for your piece and will begin to put pen to paper to come up with initial design ideas. Please note I DON’T DO QUOTES – instead I will work out an estimate of the costs of the piece to include time and materials and we will agree on a ‘working budget’. A working budget is typically within a scale from £x to £y. I do this because in my years of experience clients change their minds as we go along and often ‘upgrade’ their design, materials and stone choices. It is much better for you to have a budget in mind before we begin.
I require a £500 initial deposit at the start of every project – this is non-refundable but is included within your final commission budget. This fee covers my time to prepare the final detailed budget, research of source material and the initial set of hand design drawings or the first set of computer drawings. This process takes several hours and is usually completed over a 2-4 week period depending on the complexity of your design, the clients own timescales and the amount of other orders already on in the workshop. I always endeavour to do this as soon as we can.
On completion of the initial hand-drawn designs or computer designs you you will be invited to review them and have a second meeting to discuss ideas and receive the final budget. It may be necessary for a second set of design drawings which will take a further 2 weeks. When these initial designs are signed off and the quote approved I require a non-refundable 50% deposit (minus your £500 already paid) in order to start either the production of the project in the workshop or the working editions of the computer models.
Phase 1 takes 4 weeks in total to complete.
Phase 2 – Models: During Phase 2 a piece has entered ‘model’ phase. This is where the ideas finalised in Phase 1 begin to literally take shape in 3-dimensions. It is often necessary to produce either a full or part working model of the hand drawings in silver or finalise the computer drawings with a 3D-printed plastic version of the computer design. This allows questions around scale, size and shape to be realised. These models can be sent in the post to actually see and are used in this Phase’s one-to-one meeting (either in person or via video call) where we discuss the models fit and feel.
At this stage, small revisions or tweaks can be made to the models if needed before the piece goes into production. However if a this stage you wish to change the design, it may be possible to do so but this will put the piece back to the start of either the ‘design or model phase’ which will add an extra 4-8 weeks to the project’s timescale and incur an additional design fee or model charge.
Phase 2 takes 4 weeks in total to complete.
Phases 3 & 4 – Making & Finishing: On average a piece will take a full 8 weeks of production in the workshop as it enters Phases 3 and 4. During this time the piece is physically being constructed – all the components are made initially and then the piece begins to be assembled. It is sometimes necessary to have a fitting for pieces and this is done either face-to-face in the workshop or models can be sent in the post to try-on. There will also be a further one-to-one meeting.
During this Phase, I have found that clients often ‘add things in’ to their designs – typically more stones, often bigger ones! Whilst the design of the piece itself can’t be changed, the addition of alternative or bigger stones is of course possible and any changes can be quoted for and will affect the final price.
Once the piece is ready the remaining balance of the project will be due for payment and clear through my account before the piece will be dispatched or made available for collection. Payments can be made using all major debit/credit cards, bank transfer or cash (if in person). Work will not be started until the initial 50% deposit payment has been received and cleared. Likewise the final item will not be dispatched until payment has been received in full.
Phases 3 & 4 takes 4 weeks each being a total of 8 weeks to complete.
How much does a piece cost? I am often asked this question – but ‘how long is a piece of string’ – and there are many different ways to make a piece of jewellery. The cost of a piece varies greatly depending on the design time required, the complexity of fabricating the piece and of course the cost of the materials used.
The design and making process of the average commission can take upwards of 20 to 100 hours with pieces starting from £1,600 up to £160,000 and this is factored into the overall cost of the project. What have you got to spend? What do you want created?
Generally speaking I don’t work in silver – except to make models or if I’m re-working an old sentimental piece. This is because I am a goldsmith with over 20 years experience working in the higher end materials of gold, platinum and palladium mixed with pearls and gemstones.
On average, for a commissioned piece where I am sourcing all the materials and stones as new, my clients spend upwards of £3,200 – £22,000. And for a re-modelled piece where they are providing the majority of the materials to be re-used, somewhere in the region of £1,600 – £12,000. Please note that in a re-modelled piece, even though you might supply most of the materials, you are still paying for design and make time plus the additional skill and time it takes to break down your old pieces and re-work the metal or stones into the new ones.
The cost of creating a piece will of course vary depending on how complex the design is, the materials and the type, size and number of stones used. Before I start the design process, I like to have some idea of budget so that I can design within these parameters. I am of course happy to discuss all your questions!
Commissioning a piece from overseas: Sarah McAleer Jewellerysmith is located in Perth, Western Australia.
However, I work with clients from all over the world – especially Ireland, the UK and the USA – so it is possible to commission jewellery from anywhere in the world. We will typically work together via e-mail and video call. Drawings and designs can be drawn up with models being made up in silver or produced by 3D-printing and posted to clients for fitting and approval. I use an international tracking service for postage.
Cancellations: You are required to pay £500 at the start of every project. Should you, for some reason, change your mind at the end of the initial design phase this fee is non-refundable and covers time spent preparing estimates, research and designs. If after the final approval of the design and your 50% deposit has been paid you no longer desire the piece I will be unable to refund the deposit to you, as work on the piece will have been started, however it may be possible to alter the design at this stage to suit your preference.
I pride myself in having long-term loyal clients and I work individually with every client to ensure that you are happy with your piece.
Returns & Refunds: Commissioned items are non-refundable as they are made specifically for the client. If in the unlikely event that there is a clear fault in the production of the piece then I will of course do my best to repair this. Pieces that are re-modelled from old metal and stones are re-used at your own risk. I am not responsible for the quality of old jewellery and will give you a detailed report of the state of the materials before any work commences.
Lifetime Guarantee: I offer a full repair, cleaning and refinishing service for ALL my pieces. My jewellery is made to last a lifetime and to be worn every day, but with that comes the possibility that over time pieces get bumped and broken, they become dirty or they don’t fit anymore. Whilst this is not a free service, please get in touch at anytime if your piece needs cleaned, fixed or re-sized and I will be happy to estimate the cost of the repair and discuss what needs to be done.
Pearls should be cleaned and re-strung every 1-3 years depending on how often you wear them. Rings that are worn every day may need the stones checked for chips and scratches – its possible to replace or repolish some stones if need be. A piece can be altered if it doesn’t fit anymore. Any piece can be cleaned and re-finished to give it a sparkly new lease of life!
I take immense pride in the fact that a Sarah McAleer Jewellerysmith creation is made to be worn! After all jewellery wasn’t meant to be kept in a box, it was meant to be worn, loved and treasured everyday!
I look forward to working with you – what can we create?