Buying custom jewelry is an involved process, because it requires the establishment of a relationship between the buyer and the jeweler. Buyers usually look through the portfolios of several jewelers to find one with a style and aesthetic which will meet their needs. Upon finding a jeweler, the buyer can meet with him or her to discuss custom jewelry options, including the type of piece, the metals and gems which will be used, and the general look and feel which will be desired. The jeweler usually makes some preliminary sketches at this meeting, and refines them into more formal designs for approval by the buyer.
It can take several weeks or months for a jeweler to finish a custom piece, since he or she may need to hand-fabricate certain aspects of the jewelry. Custom jewelry also tends to be more expensive than other types of china beads jewelry, but it is usually heirloom quality, and it may be treasured and passed down for generations.
Some things to think about when choosing a jeweler beyond basic aesthetics include his or her approach to jewelry-making, and the types of materials and tools used. Some jewelers, for example, are committed to the use of ethically sourced materials, and they avoid the use of toxins in soldering and fabrication. Many skilled jewelers like to meet their clients in person to get a feel for them, and they may want to meet several times in the course of designing a piece to ensure that the piece turns out precisely as desired.