At Mark Michael Diamond Designs we design and manufacture custom jewelry, engagement rings and bridal jewelry in-house. We feature jewelry questions, diamond information and answers in our jewelry blog.

The 6 Most Commonly Asked Custom Jewelry Questions

Here at Mark Michael Diamond Designs we consider custom jewelry our specialty. While creating a one-of-a-kind custom jewelry piece is a fun and intimate process, we get lots of questions about how the process works and where to start. Today we’re going to answer our 6 most commonly asked custom jewelry questions.

Q. I’m just starting out and don’t know a lot about custom jewelry. What does the custom jewelry process look like?

A. At Mark Michael Diamond Designs there are four main steps in the custom jewelry process.  Each step is completed in-house in our Maple Grove, MN studio.

1. Consultation: The first step in the custom jewelry process is to meet with one of our in-house designers for a custom consultation. During this initial meeting, the designer will get to know more about the project you had in mind, your overall design aesthetic, and assess any gemstones or metal that you’d like to use in your project. A custom consultation typically takes between 30 – 60 minutes and is completely free of charge.

2. Sketches: After your consultation the designer will work on a series of hand sketches and notify you when the sketches are ready to see. Sketches are typically completed 2-5 days after your initial consultation and are the first step in bringing your design to life. Having sketches created is completely free of charge. During this second meeting, the designer will go over the sketches they’ve created for you and answer any questions you may have.  Once you’ve selected a sketch that you like, the designer will be able to let you know the cost of your custom jewelry piece. The price of custom jewelry depends on many different factors including metal type, stone type, number of gemstones, and complexity of design.

3. CAD Renders: Once you’ve approved a sketch, our designers use computer aided design (CAD) to create photo-realistic renders to really bring your custom jewelry piece to life. CAD renders typically take 2-7 days to complete and will be emailed to you once they are ready. During the CAD render process you can easily request side by side comparisons of different metal combinations, stone sizes, band widths, etc. The CAD process really helps you visualize your jewelry creation and ensures we create a piece of jewelry you’ll love.  

 Working in CAD can be time consuming. A designer can spend upwards of 4 hours in CAD creating a single jewelry piece. For this reason, we do require a 50% deposit to move into the CAD render process.

4. Wax Model: Once you’ve approved the CAD render, the last step is to create a 3D wax model. Using our on-site 3D printer we will create a life size model of your custom jewelry piece. The wax model helps you visualize the exact size and proportion of your finished piece.  During the wax model process you can still request additional changes if needed. Creating a 3D wax model typically takes 3-7 days.

After you’ve approved your wax model, we go into manufacturing. All jewelry manufacturing, including metal casting, stone setting, and final polishing is completed on-site in our Maple Grove, MN studio. Manufacturing typically takes 2-3 weeks to complete and you will be notified as soon as your gorgeous new piece is ready for pick up. Now the only remaining step is to show off your new one-of-a-kind design to all your friends and family!

Q. Do I need an appointment for an initial consultation?

A. Appointments are never required, but are strongly encouraged so that we can make sure a designer is available to meet with you. You can schedule a consultation by calling 763-494-5700 or online at

Q. What, if anything should I bring to the initial consultation?

A. Be sure to bring any design inspiration you may have such as pictures printed from the internet, photos saved from Pinterest, magazine clippings, etc. Knowing what style you like helps narrow down design options for our designers. Additionally, if you would like to reset any gemstones or diamonds that you already own into your new jewelry piece please bring these along as well.

Q. How long does a custom jewelry piece take to create?

A. From start to finish, 4-6 weeks is the average time frame to create a custom piece of jewelry. However, it is possible to complete a project much sooner than this. If you are interested in a custom jewelry project and have a shorter time frame we encourage you to get in contact with us here.

Q. How much does custom jewelry cost?

A. While our average custom jewelry sale is in the $2,000 - $3,000 price range, there are many different factors that go into the price of custom jewelry including metal type, size of gemstones/diamonds, number of gemstones/diamonds, complexity of design, etc. We highly recommend that you schedule a free custom consultation and move into the sketches phase so that we may quote you an exact price for your specific project.

Q. Can I use my own stones & metal?

A. Yes! Here at Mark Michael Diamond Designs we understand the important emotional and sentimental value of using gemstones/diamonds that you already own or have inherited.  We are happy to reset these stones into your new custom jewelry piece. We also can supply brand new gemstones and diamonds as well.

Mark Michael Diamond Designs strives to make custom jewelry a fun and intimate experience for our clients. We thank you for reading our 6 most commonly asked custom jewelry questions and hope this gets you started on your custom order journey. If you have any additional questions please send us an email here. We hope to hear from you soon!

Mark Lauer