A lovely acquaintance of mine recently tried to introduce me to an acquaintance of his who runs a very successful chain of jewellery stores found in malls. It was a very kind offer, and I thanked him profusely before turning it down.
“My jewellery wouldn’t work in her shops,” I explained. “For one thing, I couldn’t possibly make enough pieces for all her outlets.”
He gave me the perplexed look I often get from men who can’t understand why I haven’t produced dozens of that sold-out necklace their wife wanted. I’ve tried explaining that if there were dozens of that piece their oh-so-stylish wives wouldn’t want it, but that tends to fall of deaf ears.
Instead, I offer to make those clients something original, keeping in mind the wife’s taste for gleaming pyrite or big, bold silver link chains.
And that’s how I became a designer of custom jewellery. Or as the fashion biz likes to call it “bespoke.”
Bespoke is a funny old-fashioned word that is the past tense of “bespeaks,” which means to indicate something. As in, those size 14 shoes bespeak a very tall man.
In the case of tailors or milliners or jewellers like me, it means we create pieces that are already spoken for – they’re done on request. Many of the photos you see on my Pinterest page were custom pieces. That means the owner will never see anyone else in her necklace.
I began doing bespoke work for my regular clients almost by accident. After a couple of years of selling my jewellery, I began to know who shared my passion for faceted aquamarines and who thinks there’s nothing better than a grey baroque pearl or a cranberry-red garnet.
On a buying trip, I’ll sometimes see some exceptional gems I just know a particular client will love and I make a piece with her in mind. Eventually I began to take requests.
Do you have a hankering for something made with green amethysts? Are you a sucker for citrines?
I’m happy to design something just for you. Or keep an eye out for stones you love when I’m on a buying trip.
So please let me know if you’re looking for something special that you can’t find at my online shop. It’s quite possible that I have just the stones sitting on my workbench, waiting to be made into something fabulous.
If you want to request a piece, you can reach me by email — firstname.lastname@example.org