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Are we expecting too much re bespoke ER design?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by BrimstoneTwo, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Sorry if this is the wrong place but none of the other categories felt right either.

    We made an appointment with a bespoke jewelery designer here in London to create an ER setting for our loose RB. This firm was mentioned positively here on Pricescope and since we had no other recommendations, it felt like a good place to start. We made email inquiries, which were seemingly answered by the owner within a day and we set an appointment for Saturday 29 July.

    We arrived on time and were greeted by a male who simply said hello and asked us to take a seat. I said, "you must be (name of owner)". He only said "no, I am (name)". He did not further clarify his role. We spoke for about an hour with him taking some details, but he was unable to show us many examples of their work as he said he had been having hard drive issues. Our ideas were at the formative stage, with us having brought a few photos of things we like, but also seeking professional guidance as to how additional requirements could be best implemented. He ended up using google to search for examples of his one idea, which he never successfully found, and in the end told us to go across the street to look in another shop. He requested that we send the photos we had in an email to the owner.

    We left feeling less than impressed. He did not seem very interested in the appointment at all and offered only one idea. We still have no idea what role he plays in the organisation as we forgot to ask. My fiance was ready to find another designer but since we did not meet the owner himself, I thought we should at least give them the benefit of doubt. We composed a detailed email that clarified what we were looking for including multiple photos. This was sent on Sunday 30 July.

    By Thursday 3 Aug, we had still not heard back from anyone, so I sent an email to the owner asking for confirmation that my email had been received. He replied by the end of the day saying that the person we had met with was away on holiday, and that he (the owner) would send a proposal shortly. This arrived the next day (4 Aug). We responded over the weekend to the proposal with feedback but have again, heard nothing from anyone.

    Tomorrow is two weeks since our first appointment. So far our email interactions with the owner have been positive when they occur but we seem to have to chase them. If they are so busy that they cannot handle another commission at this point, shouldn't they have said so upfront? Or at least given us a timeline and allowed us to decide if we wished to wait? We weren't expecting overnight service but this seems to be dragging on.

    Are our expectations unreasonable? We really don't want to start over from scratch but at this point, nothing concrete has been discussed, no designs offered, nothing. Forgive my ignorance, but I thought a bespoke design service included bringing your ideas to an jewelry professional who worked with you to bring them to life in a timely fashion. Please help! I am quite happy to be wrong in this situation but if it's time to throw in the towel and move on, we'd like to know that too.
     
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  2. Austina
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Austina » Aug 11, 2017
    Alarm bells are ringing for me. I know you said you don't want to start the process again, but this is a very important and expensive purchase, and I wouldn't want to deal with someone who seems so meh about the project from the word go.
     
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  3. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Thanks for your thoughts Austina. I'm glad we aren't alone in feeling this way.

    This is our first bespoke design, so we didn't know what to expect. I really want to be fair to the owner, who may be a very good designer himself but might have staff with rubbish customer service skills. :|
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  4. Matthews1127
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Matthews1127 » Aug 11, 2017
    Agreed. Every customer is a priority. If you don't feel like their #1, find someone who does. There are plenty of qualified vendors/jewelers out there; competition is high! I hope your next experience meets your (and the common consumer's) expectations.
    Please keep us posted!!!
    :bigsmile:
    CRM
     
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  5. tinydiamond
    Rough_Rock

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    by tinydiamond » Aug 11, 2017
    I'm in the UK too and have been speaking with a designer in London. I already have a diamond and wanted someone to design a ring setting for me. The owner/designer has been very friendly and responsive, and gets very good reviews. Let me know if you'd like her details. I'm not sure I'm allowed to make a recommendation on here?
     
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  6. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Thanks for that. Appreciate your feedback :)
     
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  7. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Yes please! I am not naming the designer I am dealing with as I want to be sure that I am not over reacting but I don't see why making a positive public recommendation would be a problem. :)
     
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  8. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    If anyone else has London or surrounding area recommendations, they would be gratefully appreciated.
     
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  9. tinydiamond
    Rough_Rock

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    by tinydiamond » Aug 11, 2017
    Anais Rose Jewellery. The owner's name is Sam (Samantha). Have a look at her facebook and instagram pages.

    Good luck with your project!
     
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  10. Matthews1127
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Matthews1127 » Aug 11, 2017
    Absolutely. We're in the US. I refused to work with a highly recommended independent jeweler just after having brief contact with her over the phone. That may seem a bit rough, but when I specify what I'm looking for with a broad spectrum of options, and an undecided budget, and someone tries to talk me out of what I want by minimalizing it, I'm not going to feel comfortable working with that person, and have confidence that they are going to produce my true dream ring. Engagement rings are expensive & my standards are set high when dealing with jewelry; especially diamonds.
    She is not on PS, but I still wouldn't expose her. It could have just been me. ;)2
     
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  11. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Thanks! We will look into it :)
     
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  12. rockysalamander
    Shiny_Rock

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    by rockysalamander » Aug 11, 2017
    Something very different struck me about your post. Why are you wanting a custom design? Getting a custom made design is very challenging even for the more experienced PSers. Custom is a good option if you know exactly what you want (this shoulder, this other head, this gallery detail), you really want a specific designer/feel, you want a design that is way out our your price and are seeking some budget alternatives, you have a number of old pieces you want to incorporate into something new and you like a designer's vibe, etc. Semi-custom is more successful since you start from something tangible and make a few changes (e.g., change stone shape, remove or add details, etc.) Full custom (aka bespoke) can be agonizing and a pretty stressful experience when you don't know what you want. No judgement here, but you don't seem to have a clear vision for what you want....a lot of the 'custom' designs I see outside the PS word already existed. They could have saved themselves a lot of time, energy and money by spending time looking at designs that existed. Custom is hard because you don't actually know what the end product will be, so it is hard to chart a journey. You must have a lot of faith in the designer.

    Before you go this route, why don't you post your inspirations and budget for the setting. Tell us your diamond size and specs. Maybe we can find you a setting that won't require full custom or identify a designer that has the right 'feel'. At the least, we may be able to tell you how to get from your idea to a more solid articulation of the design and point out important choices you need to make based on design elements to avoid some surprises.
     
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  13. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Indeed! It's something we will wear everyday! I think you did the right thing by sticking to your standards.
     
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  14. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Hi rockysalamander. Thanks for your feedback. You've made some good points and introduced some new terminology to me.

    My fiance was interested in having the ER handcrafted as he wanted something high quality instead of mass produced and potentially of lesser quality. As none of our ideas are totally unique, I suppose we are looking for something semi-custom.

    I am at work at the moment, but I can post some of our inspirations and specs later. :)
     
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  15. rockysalamander
    Shiny_Rock

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    by rockysalamander » Aug 11, 2017
    Great. There is a BIG difference between a mass-produced setting made in China and sold for $500 usd and a well-crafted one. But, being made in multiples does not determine the quality of the setting or finished goods. It is the quality of the design, treatment of materials, selection of materials/alloys, and finishing (so much is about the finishing) that determine the end product. Both Tiffany's and Harry Winston both use 'stock' settings for their rings. They are settings of their own design and created and finished to a high standard, but they do produce them in multiples. Even if you find a perfect stock setting, most companies will offer to improve the finish for a modest fee. You can also add stones, engraving and hidden stones for some stock settings.
     
  16. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Rockysalamander, that is super helpful to know!
     
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  17. tyty333
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by tyty333 » Aug 11, 2017
    One thing I want to point out is that its only been 2 weeks. In my experience, which is limited, custom takes a lot longer than expected. Especially when you're
    not sure of what you want. The client is always ready to get going but on the vendor side, you are one of many clients they are working with. Good vendors
    can make it seem like you are the only client. Doesnt look like this company is good at that. That being said, doesnt sound like you are getting the attention going custom deserves.

    I would either contact the owner and tell him your concerns or just move on. I agree with Rockysalamander...dont go custom unless you really have to.
    Most Pricescopers have had many rings and many years of experience before they go custom on a detailed design. Plus they usually have most of the
    design down on paper with maybe a few areas that are open for discussion (and sometimes they still dont turn out as expected).

    Good luck!
     
  18. Austina
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Austina » Aug 11, 2017
    I'm in the UK too Brimstone, and whilst I don't have recommendations for you, I will urge you to post here, because you will be able to draw from a huge resource of those who have been in your place, and will be able to offer invaluable help.
     
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  19. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Thanks for your input tyty. It's very helpful to put things into perspective. :)
     
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  20. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Thanks Austina. I look forward to seeing what people think!
     
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  21. diamondseeker2006
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by diamondseeker2006 » Aug 11, 2017
    I agree with Rocky that you need a more clear idea of what you want. A designer is not going to spend hours and hours coming up with designs you don't like. Please do show us inspiration pictures of rings you like and we can maybe suggest some. It would help a lot to know if she wants a classic style or antique, etc.

    Take a look at someone's Facebook page like David Klass who makes a large number of custom rings and see if you can get ideas. It is always best to use a ringmaker whose primary business is ringmaking, in my opinion. I'd never use a local jeweler for a custom project in the large city near me.

    Oh, and one more thing. If this is a jewelry store, I see no reason to meet with the owner if he is not the ring designer. I see nothing out of order about that. Plus, it is summer, and people go on vacations. What matters is the quality of their bespoke pieces and I wouldn't use any ringmaker without closely examining pieces of their work before even talking about a design.
     
  22. OoohShiny
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Aug 11, 2017
    This could be blatant spam LOL


    Hope you can sort things out @BrimstoneTwo - perhaps, as you say, it's just a case of being busy and 'the squeakiest wheel getting the grease'.
     
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  23. tinydiamond
    Rough_Rock

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    by tinydiamond » Aug 11, 2017
    My post wasn't spam, but it was my first post so I can see how you made that mistake.
    I saw BrimstoneTwo's post and was just trying to be helpful.
     
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  24. LLJsmom
    Ideal_Rock

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    by LLJsmom » Aug 11, 2017
    Totally agree. Don't go back to that first jeweler. If it's not feeling right, follow your gut. And be sure you need custom before you get on that road.
     
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  25. OoohShiny
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Aug 11, 2017
    Being helpful is always welcome :) but my years of internet forum use have made me very cynical ;-) lol
     
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  26. ericad
    Brilliant_Rock
    Trade

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    by ericad » Aug 11, 2017
    The bespoke setting process can be very rewarding, but also very difficult depending on the client's expectations and level of support needed. Most of the time, my clients come in with a very strong sense of what they want, with images or mock ups - we call them franken-rings because sometimes we'll piece together parts of various vintage or modern rings (face up from this design, shoulders from this vintage ring, basket like this, but instead of prongs I want a bezel, and so forth). From there I'll usually take a crack at sketching the basic components out and then we move on to the CAD renderings and go from there to tweak it into a cohesive design.

    On occasion I have a client who simply doesn't know what she exactly wants, or is very vague, and she hopes that I will somehow pull the design from the recesses of her subconscious. I'm not being flip - I have honestly had clients who want this, and in those cases we often joke about it and it becomes a much lengthier process (sometimes it takes months), where over a period of time I'll periodically email an inspiration pic and say "something like this?" And she says "Oh maybe!" or "nope that doesn't speak to me". I'm much less immediately helpful in cases where a client doesn't come prepared with a solid design idea to work from.

    My general advice to anyone looking to have a custom ring made is to do a lot of research online, save pics of designs you love with notes about what aspects you like from each design, then come to your designer with an idea framed in your mind, to help guide the designer down the right path. There are literally millions of different designs ideas out there, so leaving any part of it vague will result in your jeweler most likely sending you away to do some homework.

    That being said, a designer should be prepared in advance of an appointment, with example photos and finished rings to show his/her work, design ideas based on the direction you supplied, questions to ask to help narrow down ideas, etc. It sounds to me like perhaps this jeweler isn't the right fit - if you can already sense that now, please find someone you click with because that's the most important part of the entire relationship/process!

    Best of luck - I can't wait to see the final finished project!
     
  27. pyramid
    Ideal_Rock

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  28. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Hi diamondseeker. Thanks for your thoughts.

    We did have some firm ideas going into the appointment, which have since been honed, but we did not expect to have every detail decided. We are both scientists and perhaps naively thought that the designer would assist with taking our rough thoughts and telling us what could or could not be done.

    This vendor is not a jewellery store. He is a by appointment only bespoke designer. We certainly understand that people go on holiday and would have been very happy to be patient had this been communicated to us.

    Oh and "she" is me . I tend to like very clean designs. I will post photos below. :)
     
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  29. motownmama
    Ideal_Rock

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    by motownmama » Aug 11, 2017
    Don't doubt yourself for one minute for moving on to another jeweler. This gentleman should have told you his role, and if he thought more inspirational pics, partial customization etc. were good next steps than HE should have suggested those things.
     
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  30. BrimstoneTwo
    Rough_Rock

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    by BrimstoneTwo » Aug 11, 2017
    Thanks Ericad. Very thorough and helpful reply.

    In our first follow up email we did include lots of photos with the specifics about each one. What we liked or didn't like and why we were including it. In our second email, we narrowed our ideas down quite a lot but still had questions about how certain things might be achieved. We are both in science and do our best to be precise when possible.

    We have looked at hundreds of settings now and so many of them feel very similar and not to our taste. We have been to Hatton Gardens in London and many of the shops seem to have the same settings. But we take your points on board and hopefully will be better prepared going forward. :)
     
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