Dream Bling

Custom jewelry to fit any imagination

By: Colton Bartel

Have you ever been out shopping and found a shirt you liked, but then after you bought it, you realized every one of your friends had the same shirt and miraculously decided to wear it the same days you did? If you want to be different and stand out from the rest of the world, you need something that no one else has, which means something that has been customized.

Most things can’t be changed or altered much, let alone completely customized without costing you your firstborn! Sure, you can jack up your truck and put an exhaust on it that will blow the neighbors front door off. Yeah you can remodel your house and give it a fresh coat of neon green paint, making people wonder who could possibly live there. I personally don’t recommend either, but that’s just me. Something you can customize that most people don’t think of is the jewelry they wear.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘This is going to cost me my firstborn and maybe a couple other relatives!’ It’s really not bad, and honestly I probably wouldn’t want the relatives you would be willing to trade anyway. Actually, custom jewelry is comparable to buying something right out of the case, but it’s one-of-a-kind instead of one-in-a-million. The great thing about custom jewelry is the whole reason for it: customization and imagination!

If you really want to be original or have a design in your head that you’ve always wanted to see in your hands, custom jewelry is the way to go. Most independent jewelers have some sort option to do custom work, and some have more options than others.

The old, tried-and-true way of doing things is by fabrication or hand carving, and these are still viable ways of making jewelry today. However, technology has made major improvements on these methods, making more complex designs easier to produce and with better quality.


Computer-aided drafting, or CAD, programs, along with new milling machines and 3-D printing, has taken jewelry designs to a level never seen before. What I always tell customers now is, as long as we are not trying to defy physics, we can make it (i.e. we still can’t literally make diamonds float, but we can make a setting that allows them to move without losing them).

One of the best features of these CAD programs for the customers is the ability to see a rendered image of what the finished piece will look like before any metals or stones are even touched. This gives you the option to make changes before any work is done, saving you time and money. This also ensures that what you have envisioned in your head is exactly what you see when you put it on.


In the past, designs were done from sketches that were drawn and then painted to scale, and usually with only one view. Now we can look at the design from any angle and even zoom in to see details, and if changes need to be made, it takes just minutes instead of hours.

Another great feature of having something custom made is the ability to use jewelry you already own and make it into something new. Many times, people will inherit family jewelry, but it’s just not in great shape or it’s out of style. We can take the stones that were in your great-great-grandmother’s ring and put them into something more modern and tasteful. You still have the sentimental value of the stones belonging to your great-great-grandmother, but you don’t have to dress like her to make the style of her ring work with what you have on.

The best part about custom is that you are the designer, and you are the one who knows what you want to wear. Designing something yourself guarantees you won’t ever walk into another room again worrying if someone is going to have the same thing on. Do you want to be that shiny, new Bentley with the custom metallic-black paintjob pulling up to the party getting all the attention, or do you want to be just another AMC Pacer with bad flame licks at a “Wayne’s World” convention?

We are all different, and we all have our own personalities. What better way of showing it off with a custom piece of jewelry to match? Talk to your local jeweler and ask about their custom options and processes. I’m sure they will be more than happy help get you started on your dream bling!

Colton Bartel is a G.I.A. graduate gemologist and jewelry designer for Susann’s Custom Jewelers. For questions or to set up an appointment, please contact Susann’s Custom Jewelers via phone at 361-991-7565, via Web at www.susanns-jewelers.com or in person at 4254 S. Alameda in the Town and Country shopping center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Photos courtesy of Susann’s Custom Jewelers

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