Going bespoke doesn’t need to mean splashing all your cash. We ask our favourite budget-savvy Scottish jewellers to show how you can get tailor-made jewellery that doesn’t break the bank
Ready for take off
“People hear the word ‘bespoke’ and instantly assume it’s going to be more expensive, but that is often not the case,” asserts Julia Black from James Brown & Partners, a jeweller in Glasgow’s Argyll Arcade that specialises in bespoke pieces.
“When people are asked ‘how much would you like to spend?’ understandably, they can find it off-putting, but being honest about what your budget is gives us an opportunity to create something that works within your price range. Once people know that our creations can be kept at their level of investment, they then relax and enjoy the personal process, rather than worry about costs.”
Metal choice can make a big difference in the price of your jewellery, as Katie Lees of Katie Lees Jewellery, a contemporary fine jeweller based in Glasgow, explains: “The purity of gold is measured in carats, going right up to 24ct. The lower the carat, the more alloys that are added. This has its benefits in terms of durability – and also cost: 9ct gold is cheaper than 14ct and 18ct.”
Jacqui Grant from Lava Jewellery – an Aberdeenshire jeweller with over 25 years’ experience creating bespoke pieces – urges you to listen to the advice of your designer when selecting metals: “Prices fluctuate and currently platinum is less expensive than 18ct white gold. For the cost-conscious, your jeweller may suggest silver for the gent’s band (because of typically larger finger sizes) and platinum for the lady.”
Rock ‘n’ roll
“There’s more to sparkle than diamonds,” advises Katie Lees. “White sapphires offer a more subtle glimmer, or there’s an alternative rainbow of coloured gemstones. These come in more colours than you are led to believe, so ask your jeweller what options they have available.”
“When it comes to stones, it is entirely possible to have a bespoke piece of wedding jewellery made on a budget. Customers might choose to use semi-precious stones such as amethyst or topaz, rather than precious stones like diamonds or sapphires to keep the cost down,” notes Claire Moore from Jewellery by Design, a Linlithgow workshop that combines the latest technology with traditional hand skills to produce beautifully made bespoke jewellery.
Play with scale
“In the tiny increments that jewellers work with, taking a millimetre off the width of a band or size of a stone won’t always make an overall difference to the design, but can save lots of money,” advises Katie Lees.
This logic can also be used when it comes to setting stones. “Different setting techniques can be used to show off the stones, meaning you may not need as many in the design,” sagely advises Lava Jewellery’s Jacqui.
Keep it in the family
“We specialise in remodelling diamonds and gemstones, so we are often asked to repurpose stones from pieces of family jewellery – it’s a great way to save money and a lovely bit of sentiment for the wedding day,” says Julia from James Brown & Partners. What’s more, it’s also a great way of reducing the environmental impact of your jewellery.
Liam Ross, of Jewellery By Liam Ross, a bespoke specialist based in Edinbugh’s west end, is also concerned with his jewellery’s green credentials . “We are proud of our low-carbon-footprint efficiency in the production of our jewellery and can even recycle old gold. We also offer Fairtrade and single-mine origin gold [gold that has come from a single, responsibly run gold mine].”