From time to time, someone will send me a picture of a piece of jewelry and ask me “Can you make one of these?”. I thought I’d write a short post about it, because it’s something I find difficult to respond to in a short message. There’s the short answer, which is yes but no. The long answer is probably more helpful.
Generally speaking, I could technically recreate what is in the image, or a close approximation of it. I am open to custom orders, and love working with a customer to create a piece that is just what they want. However, there are a few reasons why I say no to a request to recreate something someone has seen elsewhere.
First of all is artistic integrity. I simply don’t like the idea of copying somebody else’s design, even if that somebody else is a big company and the customer would rather have it made by a small business like me. It’s not enjoyable copying someone else’s work, and it is theft of their intellectual property. I don’t like even the idea of it. I’d be very upset if someone did it to me.
Secondly, often the design is something that doesn’t fit with my style, and that’s why I’ve been asked for it outside of a listing. Most commissions I get are to tweak a piece I have designed - the same charms on a bracelet but a different stone, or could I change the clasp (these are no problem at all!). But if you can’t find something similar of mine in my shop already, chances are it’s because I don’t like the style and am not interested in making it. Maybe it uses a very chunky chain (all the chains I work with are quite fine), or a colour of metal that I don’t normally work with. Maybe it uses a technique I am unfamiliar with. But to make one of these as a special request would require me to buy in a whole load of materials that I will never use again. It’s wasteful, and expensive.
And that brings me on to the final reason. Often if someone has seen something elsewhere, and want me to copy it, it’s because of the price. They’ve seen it somewhere but it’s expensive, so they want me to make a cheaper version. It’s not going to happen. It costs me more to make something that I wouldn’t normally make. I’m going to pass on the costs to my customer.
So my advice is if you see something you like somewhere else - buy it there! I’m flattered that you maybe think I will make it nicer, or that you’d rather support my shop. But think of the original designer, and think about whether I am really the right maker for the job.