Skip to main content
#
#1 for fine Gems & Jewelry in Europe
Gem-Shop
Cart
CONTACT
My Account
our twitterour facebook page pintrest instagram
  

Amethyst with Rhodolites in White- and Y-Gold

_________________

Bespoke Gemstone Jewelry

Made by Hand & Earth.

Only the finest materials, and nothing but... gemstones!

 



 

What can we do?  See past projects

In a hurry?  Prêt-à-porter for mermaids!

Only the finest for take-away?  'The David Jerome Collection'
 

  


lotus flower sapphire setting

Bespoke Jewelry:

Our style can be yours: from classic glitter to fantastic Avant-garde.

Or let us help with fresh ideas. We know what can be done, and what not, and how much it will cost. Your very own jewelry with quality gems: once reserved for the royal few, today an option for everybody who is willing to set priorities.  



Budget

Every project is different. The necessary budget for individual jewelry is driven by the complexity of its design, the material cost and its workshop-time.

Heavy, simple designs may turn out to be cheaper than delicate but complicated styles. Simple featherweights are most budget friendly. Massive and complicated designs naturally demand the largest contributions from your bank.

Our minimum budget for a simple but individual piece will start around $400 plus the gem.

In any case: Our quote is binding. We will not exceed the given budget without your permission, even if we go under water.


Process

It makes little sense to wreck your brain about design-details BEFORE you have decided on a specific gem. Gold can be hammered, white diamonds are commodities, but a specific gemstone cannot be forced from nature. It must be searched and secured before any other work can be done. 

Therefore, we suggest buying or at least reserving a gem BEFORE working on a design. Although tempting, we also advice you not to publish your dream-gem on social-media until you have secured ownership, or your gem might be snatched up before we even started on a design. Reserve or purchase first, then discuss it in public. We also ship a gem to you for inspection and only afterwards start the jewelry process. Shipping has become easy and safe, plus we have logistic points inside the USA and the EU.

Once the gem is yours, we can develop the right design. You may provide us with only an inspiration like 'sun' or 'leaves', or have more concrete ideas from past-projects, google-images, or you may have a very detailed plan already.

In any case, we will tell you what works and what doesn't, honestly. Is it comfortable and durable for daily wear or only for special occasions? Which is the best material, or material combination (within the budget)? What kind of side-stones could be used, if any? Is its weight balanced? Will it look balanced? Can it be cleaned easily enough? Is it too heavy, or not heavy enough? Of the thousand devils hiding in the details, we know the vast majority in person.

A project-plan with cost-estimate, images, CAD videos, 3D renderings, sketches and prose helps our workshop to transfer your vision into heirloom jewelry.

Before the goldsmith finally swings his hammer, however, we'll have a CADesign for your final approval. After your 'OK', ZEN may be the best practice against nervousness and impatience. 

When the time has come, we'll check-in and coordinate shipping. Some would like to see images of the out-come earlier, but we have found it ruins the moment of initial contact. Nothing can replace the personal experience of holding your one-and-only jewel in hand for the first time. Of course, it is your decision when and where to do the unwrapping.

The BIG BAD 'What if?'

Sometimes even a perfect work may turn out to be different from your imagination, not every detail can be foreseen all the time, perceptions differ from person to person, and yes, even rotten mistakes do happen. 

If things didn't work out as planned, we go back as far as necessary, re-design, re-do, start again, what-ever is needed, until you are happy.

In the rare but sad event that you reject made-to-order jewelry for any reason beyond our responsibility (e.g. the recipient doesn't want it, or can't be located) we will charge 75% of the project cost to cover external labor and waste material (minimum $800 US). Suitable arrangements for a re-sell or credit can be negotiated in all kindness.


Material: Gold / Platinum

Oro Verde ("Green Gold") is, like us, committed to bring the benefits of globalization to the mining areas while fighting ecological and social mismanagement. With only 10% premium on international gold prices, Oro Verde does a great job in developing the local communities and protecting their environment. We feel that is money well spend! (Their supply is limited but we do our best, as always).

Update 2019: Oro Verde is hard to reach lately. We are looking for alternatives.

 


Diamonds / Sidestones / Melee

We can supply any type of small gems, melee, or matching pairs at normal market rates and conflict-free diamonds (that's a given today). Or you may choose 'serious' pairs at serious cost here.

If you don't want to pay for lab-reports and all extras for every sidestone in your halo, then we have a solid inventory of smaller gems off-line which sell cheaper for our own jewelry (without photo-works, grading etc.), even rarities such as small but matching cat's eyes, untreated sapphires, alexandrites, CC garnets or emeralds can be organised. They all pass through the same supply-chain control, meaning our quality commitment stays the same, only the prices are lower (unless you ask for photos and lab-reports :-).  



 

Others:
Wood, textile, leather, silver-thread, steel, oil-paintings, you-name-it

Our workshop uses any material you wish, unless it may harm you or others, including but not limited to Rhinos.


Time

Most designs can be produced in less than six weeks plus shipping time, starting AFTER the design process is concluded (see above). 

As far as the design goes, it's mostly up to you: Some projects need only hours, others months, even years are not unheard of, though exceptional :-)


.


Return policy

If you don't like the results, we will re-make or re-pair until you are satisfied, free of charge.

If we have done faulty work you get a full refund, or we will re-make / re-pair, free of charge.

As always, we can only refund if the item is returned undamaged and with its original paperwork (if asked for).


Copying designs

It is normal and righteous to relate and discuss existing designs or stiles in order to create your own individual jewelry, but we will not steal other people's creative work or infringe any copyrighted designs.

See past projects.

Title 

101-FAQ
for precious gems
in bespoke jewelry

What material?

Gold

Most mass-produced jewelry is done in 14k, or still worse in 8k. It wears down; and turns dull and lusterless. 

 

22k is beautiful but soft for hard working jewelry. Only for soft life-styles or special occasions.

18k is the sweet point. It keeps the shine for years and is strong enough to protect the gem. White gold can be plated to be pure white but this must be re-done every few years. Maintenance-free un-plated white gold has gained popularity with its charming yellow gleam. Try it out.


Today, you may also choose from a variety of hues: Pink gold, rose, even purple or green are on offer. Prices will be slightly higher for exotic mixes (like 10-20%).


Platinum is the prime choice for high-end gemstone. It is heavier and more expensive than gold; and also more demanding to work with. Not all goldsmiths can do it. Special equipment is needed. But platinum never looses luster and never wears down. Estimate up to double the cost compared to 18k gold.

 

Silver is not much used for individual settings anymore. It is not sufficiently strong and durable for precious gems. Even if you wanted to use silver it is not easy to find good silversmiths.
Update 2019: We have found a UK silversmith doing fantastic work, extravagant and special. Ask us for ideas.

 

There are other materials like steel, wood or cotton that experienced jewelry artists work with, but they are not a first choice for precious gemstones. We can do, and have done, such projects if you are ready for the adventure.

 



Bezel or prongs?

 

Prongs lead the pack. They are delicate, offer many design varieties and show the most of any gem, its luster, color and size.

However, they get do caught in stuff, bend open and loose gems; oh horror.

If you do go for prongs, make sure they don't stand out. The finger tip should run smoothly over each prong's end and back. Try to hook up your favorite shirt before you go out. Better at home than later.

 

Bezels are the safest type of setting but they are also more expensive, need more material and extra work. For battered jewelry (rings and bracelets) in active lifestyles we recommend bezel settings.

 


 

Swap-Anxiety 

 

People are unnecessarily worried here. Within the limits of human predictability no goldsmith will risk jail-time to pinch some gemstones. As much as car-repair-shops won't steal cars. It just isn't a profitable business model. 

 

The thorough mind may use inclusions to identify any gem. Inclusions are like fingerprints and can not be copied. Every natural gem has inclusions visible latest under a 30x magnification. In most cases you will only need a handheld 10x loupe ($25) to check the authenticity of your gem before and after setting. Take a good, deep look. Lacking photographic memory you can make a sketch of the gem's inner landscape: Five needles sitting in the upper left corner, a fracture in the second upper facet and an oval-shaped cloud in the lower center - you can be sure to indentify your gem anytime.   


 

 

Chains


Hand-made chains are very expensive and generally too gangsterish for a conservative scenery. Chains from a real goldsmith can be $10k and then some.

 

If you want something special you can order high-end chains made in Swiss or Germany. They are exquisite and come in various designs and materials. A fine gemstone pendant deserves a fine chain. Calculate at least $1k for a high-end gold chain and 3k for platinum.

 

Regardless of your budget, it is recommended to source the chain after the pendant is done. With pendant in hand it is much easier so find a perfectly matching chain.

 

Chinese machine-made chains should not cost much more than the material plus some margin for the trade. Think of very few hundred dollars for good-enough quality, but don't penny-pinch or your pendant will be gone one day.

 


 

Damage of stones


This happens but you can not ask the goldsmith to cover the risk. Ask the seller to take the risk for his stone. Again, if you can't trust your goldsmith forget about it. See also further down the page.

 


 

How long?

 

A dedicated goldsmith can create a standard setting in a day's work if all is well prepared. More time is needed for logistics and creative work. A realistic turn-over for an individual but familiar design at the local bench is a week or two. If it is your first time and you plan a Christmas present or an important yes-or-no-question start a few months ahead. A good goldsmith will always have a line of work waiting. You will need to queue up. If not, he might not be the best craftsman.



 

How many carats?

 

Well, that all depends.

 

As a rule, the smaller the gem the more luster it will need to be visible; the bigger a gem, the more will its color be important.  

 

After a few project you get a good personal feeling for carats and dimensions.

 

The totally inexperienced may check the following sign posts:


0.2 carat is tiny - hardly big enough as stand-alone gem in jewelry.

0.4 carat is still tiny for most occasions but in a terrific quality and in an equally delicate design it may just become visible.

0.8 can be considered as a solitary ring gem but, again, you need good quality; and some diamonds will help.

1-3 carat is the standard go-to size for a ladies ring and the smallest size for a pendant.

3-6 carats can be opulent in a ladies ring, perfectly sized in a gents ring and make a still modest pendant.

6-10 carat makes a big stone, needing full ring sizes, heavy designs, and the willingness to bear the weight (and the cost). Ten carats are probably not every-days choice in a ladies ring but can be worn on special occasions. In pendants ten carats will be very visible but not yet bulky.

Over 10 carats we enter the world of posh pendant-only jewelry. Citrine or Topaz is sometimes seen in 20+ carat sizes but heavy-weight precious gems are rare in jewelry (without bodyguards).

 

For cabochons double the scale. Less than one carat in a cabochon is small. 10 carat cabochons are still good measure.  




Disclaimer: Honestly, there are a million things to learn. But don't be discouraged. It is much more rewarding to create good quality hands-on than buying bad quality hands-off. If you do not want to make any mistakes on your first project, set two carats in an 18k gold bezel and little can go wrong.

 

Any Qs, let us know.

Title 

 

Advice on taking our gems to a local goldsmith.

 

While we do mount roughly a third of our gems, another third is taken to local goldsmiths (the rest is bought for collection only).

 

This is a good way to combine the choices of the web with the touch and feel of a goldsmith's workbench, but it often ends in discord.

Some advice to avoid problems:


1. Margin: Let them live.
A goldsmith used to earn from his craft and he had a margin from selling stones and metals. Today, the margin is threatened. Gold prices are public knowledge and gems sell on Ebay. Setting somebody's gemstone is a completely different business than selling a finished product. A goldsmith who has not yet found a way around this problem will react negative to somebody walking in with his own stone. He needs to re-calculate his margin for a walk-in gemstone. Be prepared to pay more for such a job than you would on a ready-made piece from the same guy. Also, a local goldsmith will charge significantly more than a dot.com using a Chinese goldsmith factory. If you want the extra service you have to pay for it.

2. Guarantees: Cover the risk.
When a goldsmith sets his own gemstones he takes the risk and gets the profit. For a walk-in gemstone he is left with only the risk. Gems do sometimes break or suffer; stuff does go wrong. Any goldsmith working on somebody else's gem needs to be freed of liability for the gem. Especially if you want him to set an apatite or some other sensitive animal you can not expect any guarantees. Let's assume he does not destroy it on purpose, nor steals it; then the rest-risk is yours. Get a guarantee from your seller: If a gem breaks under normal working pressure it is the seller's responsibility. In any case you need to take the risk from the goldsmith. Most goldsmiths have good insurances for these cases. Make sure the rules are clear before you give a 'go'. 

3. Knowledge: Be kind.
Do not expect a local goldsmith to know everything about cc apatite or rutile pezzottaite. If you are reading here, you are likely to have as much knowledge of colored gemstones as the average goldsmith. Most goldsmiths work regular only with the big four, some topaz and maybe a cat's-eye. Be polite; help them along. You may print out some data on your stone, or simply let them research a small variety before you pester them about a setting.

As so often, it burns down to good old values:

Be generous, fair and kind.

 

 

Title 
WildFishGems supports the World Land Trust
 
As of April 2013 we have started a new charity program with the World Land Trust.
 
For every sale that goes through our company we purchase rainforest to be conserved by the WLT. Each $ will buy one square meter of rainforest in Columbia and customers will get their own certificates issued to their name.
 
We hope you like it!
We also support "The Non-Human-Rights-Project" with a monthly donation: 
 
Best
 
Edward Bristol
 
Title 

How big is "two carat"?

Read here to judge gemstone sizes for jewelry.

 

 

Site Mailing List 
Natural Gems Only - No Heat. No Radiation. No Bleaching. No Coating. No Filler. No Diffusion. No Chemicals.

CONTACT
 

Genuine testimonials since 2003
 

Call us TOLL-FREE from the US and Canada:
1-800-540-340-3
 
International customers please call:
1-302-883-8514
 

In case of technical problems,
please
drop us a note or let us call back.

If we are out of the office, please leave a voice message and we will contact you.
 

Our Quality-Standard:
NO Treatments.
NO Inclusions.
NO Windows.
®


Sitemap
 © Wild Fish Gems 2001 - 2020

As everybody these days, we now need to ask for your Cookie-OK.
Are you OK?
We hope this message shows only once.