“Here at Impress, more than half our business relates to one-of-a-kind custom and special order designs” -Bill Martin, Co-Owner Impress Jewelry Creations
If you're at all familiar with the boutique, you may have heard this phrase before. It's something we're very proud of, something we LOVE to offer. However, the word “custom” might seem daunting if you haven’t been through the creative process before. So, what does it mean to have a custom piece of jewelry made?
When walking into our space, we strive to convey that this isn't your run-of-the-mill 'big box' jewelry store. We love this distinction. But sometimes, even our in-house collection doesn’t quite perfectly express who you are. This is where the dialog of custom creation begins. It takes thoughtful communication and understanding to determine your preferences and even considers what you don't like.
When it comes to making a piece that is just right, our mission is to make sure you're involved in every step of the way. The custom path begins with inspiration (see our interactive Inspiration form). Inspiration comes in many forms. It may be from our pieces here in the boutique, pictures online, your own sketches, all things organic or otherwise can be utilized in your custom piece. As an example, we had a customer bring a decorative bathroom tile insert from which a gold pendant concept was born. Inspirations can come from absolutely anywhere! Our four goldsmiths along with our design team have many years of combined experience and who come from diverse backgrounds. This helps shape our recommendations about the concept, wear-ability, and durability to ensure that it will meet your lifestyle needs.
Let’s walk through the process together:
When you decide that a custom piece is the best choice, then we need a starting point. Rough sketches are where it begins. As we refine the concept, we will transition to more detailed sketches that, upon approval, will lead to the next stage. This is stage is a great melting pot of ideas. It's here where we really get the “WHY” of the piece. Is this piece in honor of someone important in your life? Does the piece need to incorporate metal or gemstones from a special loved one? Do we want an area set aside in the design that can be hand engraved to further add meaning to the piece? This process is all about YOU! We take the time to get to know you and why a custom piece will be so memorable for you and your family.
After we have final approval on the refined sketch, we create the piece in our design software. This is where all the details are made to scale and where we make all the mechanisms that will be responsible for safely securing any gemstones in the final piece. Changes can still be made at this point but 99% of the time we've discussed the project with you in enough detail that we've accomplished what's needed to move forward. But, just like in Step 1, we will continue to tweak and change the 3D model until you are 100% happy with it.
Not Karate Kid style but before the 3D image is cast into metal, it will be modeled in wax or plastic. We sometimes show the client this piece especially if there is any remaining uncertainty or clarification that's needed. We coach our clients through this process too as the wax/plastic model will be about 10-15% thicker than the finished piece. This extra material allows for the loss that happens during casting, stone setting, and polishing. We refer to this piece as a pre-production model as it's ready for casting with any prongs in the 'up and open' stage awaiting the gemstones to be set. The finished piece will, of course, have the prongs 'down and smooth' over the stones. We pride ourselves in our snag-less prongs. Have you ever had a ring that constantly caught on your hair or clothing? Ugh... we hate that too, better yet, we know how to avoid it!
No, not Metallica...but good choice. This is the stage where we take the model, embed it in investment, vaporize the wax/plastic, and under pressure, force molten precious metal in the void left by the vaporized model. After this process, it honestly looks pretty rough. Most clients don't want to see their piece at this stage of the operation. It's only through the hands and tools on our experienced goldsmiths where the true beauty comes out. It takes a goldsmith to pre-polish the casting, to perform necessary assembly, set the stones in perfect symmetry and polish your piece to perfection. After an independent quality control process is performed, we will appraise the item for insurance purposes. We guarantee our work from manufacture defect for 5 years. This means we will take care of any normal wear and tear maintenance needed at no charge to you. The best thing you can do with your jewelry is to wear it during 'appropriate for the piece' activities AND have a complimentary cleaning and inspection performed at a six-month MINIMUM interval. Our cleanings and inspections are done by goldsmiths specially trained for this. Our thoroughness is in your best interests.
From start to finish, a custom piece may take 2-8 weeks depending on its complexity and our waiting list.
Do you live in Mishawaka, Granger, South Bend, Elkhart, St. Joseph, MI? Maybe you live part-time in Chicago. We would love to help everyone! Come see us in store, and also check out our Inspiration page right here on our website!
“Impress is incredibly impressive! About a month ago, we went in to look at a new wedding ring for our 25th anniversary and started talking with Jessy about possibly redesigning my ring. After a few drawings, listening to me about exactly what I wanted, making some changes, working with some of my old jewelry to combined in the new ring, and a 3d modeling of the ring, I have THE MOST AMAZING ring I could have ever imagined… the entire team at Impress were attentive, educational, caring and know how to provide the best customer experience on could expect.”
“Awesome environment! they’re very helpful and catered to all of our needs. I couldn’t be happier with all the custom jewelry they have made for me! Top notch!”
“Bill did an amazing job creating a custom piece for my 10 year wedding anniversary…Bill took his time listening to me and including me in the process he made tweaks and changes as we went to create my perfect piece. I never felt rushed or pressured during this process… I would highly recommend using Impress for a custom piece or any jewelry purchase. They go above and beyond to serve their client needs.”
Let the IJC work for you! Kelley, Ashley, Bill and our goldsmiths are waiting for you and your ideas. Make sure to remember your inspiration when you visit the store at 1233 E University Drive in Grnager IN! We are just two doors down from Temper Grille (yum!)