There is definitely a move towards custom jewellery. I’ve noticed it over the years. My split of stock versus bespoke work has shifted each year in favour of customised designs.
So why is there a shift?
The search for individuality
The high availability of mass produced means buyers can quickly have exactly the same piece of jewellery as their friend or neighbour. Despite the variety, it’s getting harder for people to own something truly different. We see this with the likes of Pandora – very well made and cleverly conceived bracelets. You have a huge variety to choose from but will often end up with conversations like “Oh, you have the penguin. I have the penguin too”. Of course, adding any non-Pandora charms invalidates your warranty – a nice touch to lock you into the system.
Wanting a voice
Customisation is a big part of our lives, from the clothes we wear to the phones we carry, and people seem to be moving to expressing their individuality through jewellery even more.
Being able to choose the topic and order of the charms is one thing, being able to design and get a charm made immediately makes it more personal. Jewellery created just for you that represents a unique experience, memory or person in our lives is a powerful way of celebrating something.
You get to specify the elements that make up the overall piece – giving flexibility and more meaning to the final outcome. It’s a bit like giving birth to an idea – one that will serve as a constant companion if you wear piece regularly.
I am getting more commissions to:
- Celebrate overcoming a difficulty
- Remembering a family member
- Memorialise a special pet or animal
- Mark a significant time in life
- Honour a friendship
- Act as a reminder to persevere
Proof of human input
Small makers on Etsy and the like are becoming far more popular as this need for self-expression grows. These jewellery pieces are handmade, individual and have more soul than the mass produced factory items. They will often have warmer, non-perfect finishes, often with tool-marks visible as proof of the fact that they were crafted by hand. In my opinion, this adds life and soul to a piece of jewellery in whatever form it takes. It is this “non-clinical look and feel” that shows how much thought has gone into the piece. More so than just setting up a tooling machine to stamp them out.