The process goes something like this.
You fall in love. Decide you want to propose marriage or commitment and would like to do that with a ring. Or, you are already married, and have decided your ring no longer matches your tastes or quite often you now can afford something perhaps a little more unique. In any case, you have come to the right spot.
I will speak mostly of custom rings, though this can be used for custom anything I make.. But as far as rings go, here is how it usually works. For the question poppers and newly engaged: I strongly encourage clients to research to their hearts content from my own portfolio on this website to nearly any jewelry store to jewelry you have found online. Basically I would like for you to see what is out there and have an idea of what you like as well as what you do not like. Both parts of that equation are very informative for me. I encourage you to do as much "homework" as you can digest and then, when you are feeling like you have an idea of what you would like, we set up an appointment to sit and sketch out our ideas.
The majority of the rings that I make I create for people who are drawn to my "style" By that I generally mean people are attracted to my work because it is unique, or weathered and worn looking, or "not shiny". I love hearing peoples take on what my work means to them and the words they use to describe it. In any case, the rings that I design are really sometimes self-portraits. Of you that is. One of the greatest compliments I receive is when I hear, "That is so you!" Which really means to me that we designed something that really reflects who that person is. Their lifestyle, their tastes, their tendencies, etc. Often times the designs process is very much an interview. I know what questions to ask and I have become versed in interpreting people’s answers. This often times really just allows me to put meaning to someone’s ideas or thoughts that they may have not been able to identify themselves.
The most popular and important question people have is about metals. I tend to work in a variety of metals not often found in traditional jewelry store. The most popular metals I work in include: Platinum, Palladium, Gold (All colors and karats), Silver (Pure Silver, Sterling Silver, Palladium Sterling & Platinum Sterling) Iron, Stainless Damascus Steel, Mild Steel, Stainless Steel & Copper to name more than a few.
An often misunderstood metal is Gold. Gold in its pure form is 24K and is yellow, almost a rich yellowish orange. To create other colors and karats of Gold, other metals are blended with pure Gold. This mixture is an alloy. So for instance, 14K White Gold is an alloy made from pure gold. So if pure Gold is 24K, 14K Gold is .5833 percent pure Gold, which is 14 divided by 24. Eighteen-karat gold, 18K, has 75% pure Gold in the alloy, 18 divided by 24. What this means is that in 14K white Gold, just over 58% of the alloy is made up of pure gold and in 18K, 75% is pure Gold. And recall how pure Gold is yellow, very yellow? This is why white Gold has a yellow hue to it.
Traditional jewelry manufacturers like to conceal this yellow hue by plating an extremely white metal called Rhodium over the entire ring. This Rhodium plating is very thin and even though Rhodium is durable, it wears off over time to reveal the yellow hued white gold beneath. So with that said, I refer to white gold as a warm white and Platinum and Palladium as cool whites. I personally do not rhodium plate white gold rings I custom make. If you do not prefer the warm color of white Gold, I steer you towards a slightly grey white metal, such as Platinum or Palladium, to name a couple. Platinum is the most expensive and for good reason, followed by the Golds and Palladium, then Palladium Sterling and Sterling. I generally do not make custom wedding rings in Sterling Silver, as it is a fairly soft material, though if and when I do, I tend to build them on the heavier side for longer life.
Platinum: Platinum is one amazing metal. It is often the most misunderstood even in the jewelry trade. It is rare and heavy. And the part that is most often misunderstood is its durability. Most often, instead of the word durable, the word hard is used. Platinum is not hard. Platinum is soft. But before you decide you don't want a soft metal for a ring, hear this. Platinum will outlast any other material by over ten times. The reason being is this. When you scratch your Gold wedding ring while working on your bike, the small divot created by the scratch removes a tiny amount of metal. Platinum on the other hand, when scratched, is merely dented or smudged like a fingernail scraped across soft clay. No metal is removed. And not only is no metal removed, the metal that was "parted" if you will, was compacted. We refer to this as work hardening. On a very small level, that tiny scratch on your Platinum ring compacted the molecules of the metal and this in turn makes the metal harder. So over time a well-worn Platinum ring is harder than the day you received it. So another side of that coin is that platinum is not for the shiny crowd. I you like a shiny polished ring, platinum probably isn't your metal. I think of platinum like a leather belt or jacket. It just gets more beautiful with age. This is one reason that my textures look so good in platinum is that the texture "conceals" the bumps and dings better.
Gold: Gold in its pure for is 24 karat. Karat with a K is used to describe metal purity while carat with a C is used to describe weight of a gemstone or diamond. Gold is fairly soft. This is why it is alloyed with other materials. The only reason metals are alloyed is to change their color or change their hardness or both. So to make a point, 10K Gold is harder than 18K Gold as it has less pure Gold in the mix and more alloy metals such as Copper, Zinc, Silver, etc. These metals are added to change the color and also to make it more durable. With this said, Gold has been used for centuries in jewelry. Whenever I design rings, I take into consideration the material I am using. So rest assured, if any color of the Golds speaks to you, know that this ring will most likely last you a lifetime.