Recently I saw an advertisement on TV for a large local jewellery distributor. The advertisement showed several items of jewellery and had the tag line: "Where every piece tells a story …"
I have to wonder though; what story is that?
Engagement rings, wedding rings and jewellery given on special occasions mark major events in our lives. Because of this, uniqueness and originality are highly desired. We give these items to our loved ones as a symbol of our love and friendship and we bind ourselves together with these for many years to come.
Most of us have a rough idea of how much we would like to spend on a special piece of jewellery, and we try to fit what we want around our budgets. If you're in the market for an engagement ring, you know that it will be a talking point for years to come, and that you want something unique to make your fiancée feel special.
Or course, you could splash out on a massive diamond. Some people even suggest spending at least two months wages on an engagement ring, but not everyone can afford that. So if you can not buy a diamond ring with a half carat diamond or bigger, and in top quality, you want to make sure it is special in some other way.
Do not buy a ring just because it's discounted by 50%. This does not make it special, and it is not a good reason to buy. It is discounted because it sat in the shop for a year or more and was grossly overpriced anyway. Of course no one wanted it! It is therefore a good item for the shop to advertise as being a bargain. This tactic is often used by shops selling mass-produced jewellery, where a few items are sold at cost price to get more people in to the shop.
So what does mass-produced mean?
It means items being produced in big numbers by technology which requires a minimum input of labour. This allows for cheap and fast production. Mass-production technologies are necessary in the modern world, but there are some items which should simply be unique. When we go to McDonalds we want to buy the same hamburger every time, but we certainly do not want to express our love and respect by giving a ring which will also be on 1,000 other hands; not unless you think that fast food is the most romantic meal on the planet.
What is the first thing to ask for when looking for something special?
The answer is to ask for something hand-made and ideally, designed for you. When you get something made as a one-off or you participate in the design process, the jewellery becomes a truly unique piece with real sentimental value. This sentimental value is what counts.
Original jewellery is created as an expression of the designer's feelings or from an idea that results from experimenting with shapes and materials. It is an intensive and personal process.
A customer's participation makes the process even more personal, and guarantees that the item will have real emotional value. The consultation process usually takes several hours and the item is created from scratch using classic techniques. The difference between handmade and mass-produced can be compared to the difference between a painting and printed copy, both nicely framed. Sure, if you get a bargain on a nice looking engagement ring and you propose on top of the Eiffel Tower. However, if you do not have an unlimited budget it may pay to spend a little extra on the jewellery and find a special place closer to home. After all it will be the ring which will be seen by your family and friends on every occasion.
When you buy a piece of jewellery for a loved one, you are telling them a story. By getting a custom designed piece you are making sure that the story is one written just for them, rather than making them one of thousands borrowing the same tale.
You can expect to pay a little extra for a custom made item, but not necessarily too much extra. Jewellers specializing in custom made jewellery often like to use better quality diamonds, which can change the price dramatically. If you ask a jeweller to make a similar looking ring as one seen in a common jewellery store with the same quality stone, they might be happy to match the original price. At Studio JM, we're happy to do this for you.