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  • Deborah Kelly-Hopkins

How long does a bespoke piece take to make? 5 hours or longer?

Many of my friends are jewellers and many of us are watching the TV series All That Glitters.

BBC iPlayer - All That Glitters: Britains Next Jewellery Star

We love it, I especially love it because it is filmed at The School of Jewellery in Birmingham. The very same place I learnt to make jewellery. In the program the contestants are set a challenge to make a bespoke piece for a client in 5 hours. Our instant response was, I don't know anyone who could do this. Is it actually possible and if it is,

Are customers now going to question how long we take to make their bespoke pieces of jewellery?


After a long conversation the answer to the question,



Can a bespoke piece be made in the 5 hours set by All that Glitters?

Is Yes.

but only,

If you have the final design for what you are making.

If the design is simple.

If you have every tool you might need and all your materials.

If you can guarantee you won't be disturbed or interrupted for 5 hours.

Nothing goes wrong during the making process.

You don't have it hallmarked to certificate the precious metal content. (hallmarking takes a week)

Your client will accept a finish that isn't perfect.


That is a lot of 'if's' and I definitely don't want to present a piece that is less than perfect to my customer. Therefore the true answer is, it takes longer than 5 hours.


How long does it really take?

8 weeks or more. This is the time frame I give for me to design, make and deliver a one-off piece.

Some jewellers take longer. Some say, that actually it's taken their entire jewellery career of learning, practising techniques, making mistakes and developing their style to bring a customer the final design and in a way that is true.


Why so long?

The reason is reality. I am a parent/designer-maker/business owner. There is always more than one thing that needs to be achieved in X amount of time, within my business and personal life. My 20 years as a maker has taught me to give myself time. Time to come up with the right design, time not to feel pressured, time to allow for the unexpected delay, time to make the finished piece perfect.


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