Do you offer any kind of warranty on your work?
I ALWAYS have and ALWAYS will stand behind what I make. It's as simple as that. I don't know a way to state this any more clearly. To my knowledge, I've never had a dissatisfied customer and will do most anything to make certain this remains the case.
Why don't you list prices for the jewelry found on your website or provide a shopping cart system?
If a person visits at least a number of the more than three hundred pages of my website (there will be at least two hundred specifically related to jewelry I've made) and takes the time to read what I've written regarding any specific piece, he or she will likely realize that the major pieces have been created for a specific person. Nearly without exception, it's my aim to create one of a kind pieces which I won't remake without incorporating, at minimum, a visible variation from any given piece. For this reason alone, there's no point in providing the price of the piece you've looked at. ALSO, the prices of both the precious metals and gems used in making jewelry have been and continue to be quite volatile. If attempting to update the cost of any given ring or other piece of jewelry from day to day or even week to week, I'd wind up accomplishing nothing else. In that I won't remake a major piece in the exact form as one I've already made, it would seem pointless to post prices...especially since the costs of the raw materials changes daily, often by quite a lot.
What I ask is that a person provide me one or more reference numbers, one of which is located on each page, when asking for me to provide a rough estimate regarding the cost of any specified piece. Based on the current market prices of the precious metals and gemstones to be incorporated, I'll be able to get back to you with at least a rough idea what something exhibiting similar characteristics will likely cost at the time.
If you won't remake any specific piece of jewelry I've looked at, what will you make?
My aim is NOT to remake any given ring exactly as seen, BUT RATHER to discuss and find out from a person what aspect/s he or she finds most particularly compelling about one or more rings already seen on my website. My job is then to create a new ring that exhibits a combination of some or all of these characteristics. More specifically, after being provided the information about what the person finds compelling about any specific ring or rings, I carve a new wax model in which I incorporate a combination of the noted aspects in such a manner that it will be distinguishable as one of a kind...a ring that you'll know won't be found elsewhere and will NOT be worn by another person. While I may make rings that, in some manner exhibit characteristics of one or more rings I've already made, any new ring won't be a carbon copy of another. I think of this process, more or less, as creating a variation on one or more already established themes. I hope this makes sense. If you'd like to discuss this further, please let me know.
What size limitations, if any, are there for the center diamond or other gemstone?
I don't necessarily envision specific limitations regarding the size of a center stone. What I've most generally found, however, is that a stone smaller than around .50 carat tends to become overwhelmed by the ring. On the other side of the size-related spectrum, about the largest stone I've set in rings bearing similarity to those you've asked about has been somewhat in excess of 1.50 carats.
Do I send you the gems I would like to be set or do you provide your own?
For a variety of reasons, I'd much prefer to locate the gems to be used, although I'm willing to discuss the possibility of using stones that you may already have. Having made jewelry for over thirty years, I've located reliable and honest resources for gems during these years. I'm able to obtain GREAT stones at very good prices...almost certainly better than you'll find for the equivalent stone elsewhere. My main objective in locating stones for customers is to make certain he or she is actually getting a stone that's of at least as high a quality as represented by the seller, which isn't always the case. I also take a great deal of pride in the pieces of jewelry I make and don't wish to incorporate stones that will detract from what I'm making. During the many years I've made jewelry, I've all too often found that people opting to provide gems they either already had or may have located on their own, have been of inferior quality...not all of them, but too many, nonetheless...stones which I didn't feel merited my setting in the pieces I made. In the end, I reserve the right to make the final decision regarding whether I'll use a stone you provide in a piece of jewelry I'm making. If you're interested in my locating one or more gemstones for you and/or discussing this further, please let me know.
What if I want to locate and purchase my own stones?
If you do purchase diamonds from someone else, there are some specific characteristics regarding the stone or stones that I do insist upon. I'll be better able to discuss this with you by telephone. However, I'll make a few basic notations immediately below..
I recall at least a few customers who have opted to provide diamonds they've acquired elsewhere, the results of which turned out to be stones exhibiting qualities of lesser diamonds that have ranged from being slightly off in either color or clarity to stones that have not even resembled the specifications stated. If getting stones from someone else, I have no way to control what is received.
Another issue to which people pay little or no attention is the thickness of the girdle, which can be a reasonably critical element. I recall being provided at least a couple of diamonds, the girdles of which were razor sharp which makes the setting of such stones quite dangerous to the well being of the stone. The process of setting a stone, at least in the manner by which I set stones, requires that a portion of metal be hammered over and onto the girdle and lower portion of the crown facets, which places a LOT of stress on the girdle, most particularly a sharp girdle.
Over the years I've received quite a number of diamonds that have not turned out to be up to the grade they were supposed to be and/or have had particularly thin girdles. For the reason, I've found it necessary to put my foot down, giving myself the final say in what I will and won't set in the ring AND the quality of any stone that will be found in what I make. I won't set stones of a quality that I feel will detract from the overall ring or other piece of jewelry I make for you.
How does the design process occur? Is there any fee for working up drawings?
I'm probably my own worst enemy in this area. But thus far, I have never yet asked for a designer's fee or money up front when first beginning the process of creating a new piece of jewelry. I've found that my approach nearly almost always works out very well. If it didn't, I'd most certainly change my approach.
I do, however, reserve the right to require an up front payment of a design fee at my discretion.
Quite honestly, I'm a 3-D oriented person and most generally feel as though I'm much more effectively able to develop more interesting and dynamic ideas when working directly with a hands on type material occurring in three dimensions. Almost without exception, I find this approach far preferable to attempting to provide two dimensional drawings.
My approach to jewelry making most generally begins with the use of a block of wax from which I carve and develop the model that will ultimately establish the size, shape, and form of the piece of jewelry to be.
Among my most valuable tools is a digital camera with which I shoot enough pictures of the resulting wax model to make clear the overall shape and of the form of the already carved wax model.
I then incorporate the resulting very much larger than life digital images in a slide show format that I'll upload to a location on my website. I provide very large photos so you'll be much better able to clearly see and understand what happens with the model.
I'll then send you an email with a link to the location where you'll be able to view the pictures and make certain the wax model accurately fulfills the design-related considerations we initially discussed or if some modification might be required.
Once you've taken a look the photos and assuming you approve of the model I've created, I'll already know how much time I've spent carving the model as well as being able to estimate what kind of time will be required to see the piece of jewelry through to its conclusion. And based on the weight of the wax model, I'll then be able to make a better defined calculation regarding how much of any particular metal will be required and determine how much that quantity of metal will cost based on the current precious metals markets. It's at this point I'll be able to provide a very good idea what the final cost of the finished piece or pieces of jewelry will be.
At what point can you give a price for the piece(s)?
This may be somewhat repetitive of part of what's been discussed in the question above. However, since this specific question is asked frequently, I'll include it anyway. Once we've agreed that the wax model accurately represents the ultimate shape and form of the piece of jewelry I'm making, I can weigh the model or models and determine with reasonable accuracy how much of any particular metal will be needed. Having this relatively accurate figure available along with a reasonably good idea of the amount of my time and other expenses, I can come very close to providing you an accurate final cost.
How do we go about establishing the design for my ring or other piece of jewelry? What's the process?
I've been working exclusively from my website for the past ten plus years and only rarely meet the people who have me make rings or other types of jewelry. While I actually encourage people to meet with me if it's possible to do so, distance and lack of time often get in the way...I fully realize that it may not be convenient or even feasible to travel this far to visit in person.
During the time in which I've conducted business from the website, I've established methods of working closely with customers in creating rings, most often without ever meeting the people involved...very strange the world of possibilities the internet has created! But the process works...and it works VERY WELL! I'm providing a link below to a page on my website that I expect will clarify my approach to developing ideas for a ring or other piece of jewelry and how I share such information with with you.
Please discuss the quantity of metal used in a ring as related to its durability.
The rings I make will almost without exception contain considerably more metal than most any ring you'll likely find elsewhere. I point to two reasons for this. I begin with what I'll refer to as the more or less sculptural character of the majority of the rings I make. Most have what I think of as an upper level as well as a lower level. These higher and lower levels most generally (although not always) transition back and forth as the ring wraps around the finger. This process requires the use of additional space which ultimately results in more metal being used than the commercially made rings found elsewhere.
The second reason I opt for the inclusion of additional metal has to do with my intent to make certain the ring or rings I make for you will be durable. Of all the forms of jewelry, rings are expected to endure far greater abuses than any other type of jewelry...even more so, since engagement and wedding rings tend to be worn either most or all of the time. Additionally, it's the palm side of the ring that must be able to sustain the majority of the many bumps and collisions it encounters as it's worn. As a means of counteracting this, I make the palm side of nearly any ring either wider, thicker, or the combination of both than nearly any engagement or wedding ring you'll find elsewhere. The addition of not that much more metal can cause a ring to be considerably more durable. In making the palm side of the ring wider and/or thicker, the likelihood of the ring sustaining significant damage is minimized by a LOT. Additionally, I fully expect that the rings I make will easily be able to be handed down through numbers of generations, assuming this is what people anticipate happening with their rings.
During the ten plus years I've been designing and selling what I make from my website, I have found that what I produce, weight for weight, is by far a better deal than you'll likely find elsewhere...and this doesn't even take into account the fact that the jewelry I make is custom designed AND one of a kind, as opposed to commercially produced jewelry that's mass produced with hardly a thought regarding its design.
What are the pros and cons regarding each of the white metals?
I provide a basic discussion regarding the white metals from which I currently make jewelry at the page noted at the link below.
What's the general price difference between platinum, white gold, and palladium?
The cost of each of these precious metals changes every day, sometimes by quite a lot, as has been the case during recent years. I can say, however, that something made of platinum will currently cost a LOT more than essentially the same thing made of 14K white gold...very roughly speaking, around double the cost. Another white metal which I'm currently able to use in creating ring is 950 palladium, which is related to platinum (according to the information I've accumulated) and shares many of the same characteristics. At the time of this update, the cost of essentially the same thing, one made of 950 palladium and the other of 14K white gold, will likely cost nearly the same. piece as when made of 14K gold. Another alternative referred to as palladium white gold, which is not the same as the 950 palladium I described above, will cost somewhat more than if using other versions of white gold. Like the nickel based versions of white gold, palladium white gold is also available in both 14K and 18K forms. If interested in exploring and/or discussing these or other options further, please let me know.
My budget is pretty tight. Can you tell me the difference in the cost between platinum and white gold?
As far as the choice between platinum and white gold, I definitely understand the budget dilemma. If two of the same piece of jewelry were to be made, one made of platinum and the other of white gold or other color option of gold, the platinum piece will cost considerably more than its gold counterpart...more often than not, by approximately twice as much. If thinking in terms of a white metal, I now offer the possibility of using palladium, instead of platinum or white gold. We can certainly keep the choice between any of these metals open ended until I have one or more actual waxes to weigh in order to calculate the cost of each metal. There's no real need to choose one or the other until I'm preparing to cast. If you'd be interested in my assessment regarding the relative pros and cons between these metals, please let me know.
What is your policy regarding payments?
Assuming a diamond or other expensive stone will be used, this will almost certainly be the most costly portion of the ring, assuming it's a ring that will be made. Once selected and if at all possible, I ask that payment for any major gem be made so I can pay the vendor as quickly as possible. This isn't carved in stone and, knowing everyone has a different set of circumstances, I'll do whatever I'm able to make it all work.
Regarding my major focus and involvement in the creation of the ring itself, I don't necessarily ask for a deposit as I begin with the initial process of making the ring. However, I certainly won't turn down a deposit when offered. Once the major gem or gems have been selected and the finger size accurately established, the process begins as I carve the wax model that will ultimately establish the form of the ring being made which will ultimately be replaced by whatever metal is selected. After carving the model, I photograph and present a series of pictures as a slide show that provides a very good idea regarding the shape and form of the ring. If need be, modifications to the model can be made and. Once approved, I generally ask for a deposit before committing any precious metals to the process. Once I complete the ring, I make a practice of photographing it and presenting a group of pictures showing it from a number of perspectives for your approval. At that time, I ask that the remaining balance be paid, at which point I'll ship and insure the ring during the time it's in transit.
What payment options do you provide?
At my discretion, I accept payment by cashier's checks, money orders, personal checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express (some limitations apply), PayPal, as well as cash. Please let me know what works for you and/or if I'm overlooking another option.
How will I receive the jewelry you've made for me?
Over the years, I've established what I feel to be the very safest approaches when shipping what I make to a customer while, at the same time, keeping the costs contained as much as possible. More often than not, the shipping takes place by way of a company whose mission it is to provide insurance for finished jewelry and loose gems while in transit. Since the mission of the company is to insure what's being sent, they proactively require that more stringent safeguards than otherwise be put in place and adhered to when shipping such goods. More often than not, the shipping takes place via UPS, by either Next Day Air or Second Day delivery. For both your peace of mind as well as mine, I make a practice of insuring whatever I'm shipping for at least the asking price. There are other options as well, among them being the possibility of my personally delivering what I've made, which has happened a number of times. I very much enjoy being able to meet the people for whom I make rings and other varieties of jewelry. Please feel free to let me know if you have questions and/or concerns regarding this aspect of the overall process.
In what sort of timeframe can you produce and deliver the rings or rings?
The anticipated timeframe will likely prove easier for me to assess if you let me know what you have in mind. I often have a considerable backlog of deadlines I must already meet. However, I'm often able to reconfigure my work schedule to fit a person's specific needs. If you have a particular date or timeframe in mind by which you'll need the completed ring or rings, please let me know.
Not necessarily meeting in person, how should we go about establishing an accurate finger size?
I've all too often been provided the incorrectly established finger size, an occurrence which is definitely avoidable and causes both of us considerable inconvenience and expense. I'm including below a link to a page where I set forth the methodsthat I'll accept AND those I won't accept for determining the accurate finger size.