The Bespoke Process

We have created many bespoke pieces over the years, from bridal jewellery to gifts to commemorate important events to creative ideas made real. Our process involves you at every step along the way.

How to Start

Each project begins with discussions where we ask you to share visuals from our portfolio on instagram or elsewhere (photos of the sea, paintings, and natural materials have all been shared as inspiration besides photographs of jewellery!) so we can get an idea of your taste and preferences. It’s important we know about what gems or gem colours you might be interested in as well as metal or metal colours if you already have preferences. We also need to know if you have a deadline and any budget in mind. 

Timeline

Bespoke work takes a minimum of 6 weeks to turn around, with many projects taking longer. Stone sourcing can be a time consuming aspect of a project. We keep a wide stock of sapphires, diamonds, and some zircons and opals in house. We are very concerned with the ethics of the stones we source, so if you are looking for something specific that is not part of our regular stock, we will need time to ensure wherever we purchase this from is in line with our values.

Your Design

Once we’ve seen your visuals and have one or more stones we feel are good options for you, we’ll schedule you in for a meeting, where you can look at the gems in person and we can discuss the design of the piece. We can also take this meeting remotely if it is more convenient for you, sending images of stones to you beforehand so we can look at the options together.

Deposit

After these discussions, we’ll have the design established with you and be able to provide you with an estimate for your project. We take 30% of this estimate as a deposit for your piece. Deposits are non-refundable and cover time spent creating the wax model of your ring, consults, renderings, wax views, and holding or importing any gems involved with the design.

Our Method

We make all of our jewellery through a process called “lost wax casting.” In this method, we create each piece by hand in wax as a model, perfectly fitted to any gems that you have selected. This model can then be viewed in the shop or we can send you photos, tweaking the design until you are happy with the result. When the wax is complete, we can establish the final price and provide you with a final invoice. Payment of this invoice is required before we cast the piece, and at this stage the order can no longer be cancelled or refunded.

Once this is settled, the piece goes to the casting house where it is used to make a plaster mould that is fired at a temperature high enough to burn out the wax. This leaves a negative space precisely the same size, shape, and texture as the model which can then be filled with molten metal. 

Recycling Heirloom Jewellery

Generally many pieces are cast together in a single large flask, but for a premium, we can monopolise the casting machine and cast a single piece by itself in a tiny flask. Because of this, if you have heirloom items that aren’t your style, we can recycle both your metal and stones into something you truly love. It’s not always much cheaper than using new metal but it can be, and we understand that sentimental value is very important.

We do not accept liability for client’s own stones that were not sourced by us. We are insured on premises and for goods in transit, so they are safe with us, but we cannot be held responsible for existing inclusions or damage to stones. We will do our best to advise you on settings and / or maintenance that might help to protect them for many years to come.

The Assay Office + Hallmarking

Once a piece is cast and returned to us, we prepare it for its hallmarks. These are a UK legal requirement, but they are also nice for posterity. 

A hallmark includes our maker’s mark and the jaguar head mark of the London Assay Office, so you know who made the piece and where this was done. Next is the fineness mark that guarantees the material is the precious metal you have chosen, and the traditional fineness symbol goes next to it – a heraldic lion for Sterling Silver, a crown for Gold, an orb for Platinum, and the head of Pallas Athene in profile for Palladium. Finally, the year mark is applied, a letter in a geometric shape that changes each year, which tells you when the ring was made.

Finishing Touches

After this, we do some more work on it to prepare it for setting if needed. Setting is a fine art in and of itself, and we are very selective about who sets our work. For this reason we may wait up to two weeks for the setting to be completed.

When this is done we give the ring a final clean and polish, it gets a mini photo shoot (we're always happy to share our high resolution photos with you!) and then it is complete and ready to go home with you.

Begin Your Commission

Our pieces are as individual as our clients. It’s a pleasure to see a piece come together that perfectly suits its wearer. To begin your project with us, please get in touch by emailing arrow@wearearrow.com. You can also phone us on +44 7861 688 410 if you have any other questions.