On my Etsy jewelry shop, and my online jewelry store, I design and sell both custom jewelry and personalized jewelry.
A lot of my customers ask: what is the difference between custom jewelry and personalized jewelry? For casual jewelry buyers, both the terms mean one and the same thing.
But they are not.
Custom jewelry is quite different from personalized jewelry – in the way you order it, and how the artist designs and makes it.
Understanding this difference will make you smarter in buying jewelry for yourself or for your loved ones. After all, good jewelry costs good money!
The Need for Custom and Personalized Jewelry
Why do buyers want custom jewelry, or a personalized piece?
One reason is getting a custom fit. You may have large hands, or slim fingers, and what you get in the neighborhood jewelry store doesn’t really fit you.
Or you may like a design that you saw on TV or in a magazine, and want to recreate that piece – just more cheaply!
But the most common reason is that buyers want a piece that is a unique expression of their feelings, because it means something special to them.
Let us start with personalized jewelry – the easiest way to include a bit of personal identity in a piece of jewelry.
The buyer gets to add a personal element to an available piece, or pick and choose from a set of different designs choices.
For example, you may want to etch your kids’ name on a necklace. Sometimes, people like to engrave their spouse’s name on their engagement/wedding rings. This is also called personalization.
Another way to personalize jewelry is by mixing and matching from several design options. For example, you can like a particular ring, but only with a green, square gemstone in place of the red, round gemstone that it already has. Or you would rather have the piece in rose gold in place of the yellow gold.
The ‘name pendants’ are another example of personalized jewelry.
What is important here is that the buyer gets to pick and chose from a set of available choices. The level of personalization offered may differ from one jeweler to another, depending on their expertise.
Custom jewelry is the apex of jewelry making. The artist talks to the buyer on a personal level, and casts their feelings in metal and gemstones. It is an expression of the artistic ability of the jewelry maker.
Each piece of custom jewelry is unique that the artist creates only for a particular customer.
Every custom piece of jewelry is built from scratch, and the design is unique to the customer. It means something special to them – something that a mass-made jewelry piece can not duplicate.
A custom jewelry piece translates the vision of the buyer into reality. The jewelry designer just picks the suitable material and designs.
Custom Jewelry vs Customized Jewelry
So, let me summarize the difference between custom jewelry and personalized jewelry as follows:
> The artist makes custom jewelry from scratch every time, while personalized jewelry simply adds details to an existing piece.
> Making custom jewelry needs a higher level of artistic skill.
> Personalized jewelry making is fairly automated – and the jeweler can make more pieces in the same time.
In future posts, I will write about custom jewelry and handmade jewelry (yes, they are different things!). I will also write about the charm of handcrafted jewelry, and how to order custom jewelry.
If you were looking to understand the difference between custom jewelry and personalized jewelry, did this post answer your questions?
Can you find more ways these two are different? Please feel free to answer in comments below.