What we do
In House Designs, Custom Jewelry and Heirloom RedesignCustom Jewelry Lab is jeweler owned, staffed with creatives and makers, forming a skilled and knowledgeable team. We pride ourselves on start to finish, in-house jewelry creation. Jewelry left in our care will never leave the premises, is locked in our safe at all times, and is fully insured. Please Tour Our Shop, and see where modern heirlooms begin their lives. Work with our designers to create a one-of-a-kind piece, or redesign your existing family heirlooms into a new piece you’ll want to wear every day. All ideas are welcome and we’ll guide you through our process from design, to prototype, to hand-finished piece.
Custom combines the newest design technology with ancient metalsmithing techniques to create our stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Step 1: ConsultationDuring consultations we collaborate with you to come up with an initial design direction. You can have as much or as little input in the design as you desire. We encourage clients to bring pictures, magazine clippings, or sketches that inspire their vision and illustrate their aesthetic. Consultations can be done either in person at our shop, or via e-mail and phone, for our long-distance customers.
Step 2: DepositDuring the consultation we’ll give you a price estimate, based on our initial design direction. To begin building the design, we require a 50% deposit at the end of the consultation phase.
Step 3: DesignAfter your deposit is made, we’ll assign you to a designer, who will then take the next few weeks to create your initial design. Your designer will either use our CAD 3D modeling program to create initial images of your design, or hand-carve a wax from which we will cast your piece.
Step 4: Prototypes and Design ChangesYou will have input on changes and alterations to the design where desired, and we will never move forward with casting until you give final approval. Major changes that result in a complete design redirection may require an adjustment of the deposit.
Step 5: Casting and FinishingAfter a prototype approval, we cast and hand-finish your piece, setting stones, engraving and fabricating the final product, as needed.
Commissioned Custom Pieces and Heirloom Redesigns average between $2000 – $4000.00. We are committed to our judgement free, laid-back approach to fine jewelry. We would never want a potential client to be intimidated by the average cost of our projects, please feel free to approach us with your ideas and budget, we will do our best to work with you! Before work starts, Custom will create an estimate specific to your project, based on the following categories.
Design FeeThis fee is your major labor cost. The design fee covers everything from design work and edits, to casting and finishing the approved piece. This fee also includes computer renders and one 3D prototype for each version of your design. Design fees are based on the overall complexity of the piece, and therefore time involved in its creation.
Metal CostCustom uses only fine metals (silver, gold, palladium, and platinum). Your metal cost will be based on overall weight of your piece and market price on the day we cast.
Stones Cost and Setting LaborThis is based on the cost of any stones used in your project and the labor to set them in the finished piece. If you are providing your own stones, then this category will only be a setting fee. Setting fees vary based on size and value of the stones being set, the type of each setting, as well as the total number of stones set.
Common Additional FeesThese fees are incurred when finishing the piece and usually include things like:
- Hand Engraving
- Special Textures or Finishes
- Rhodium Plating
- Casting Fees for Re-purposing Heirloom Metal (especially Platinum)
- Additional Labor Fees if creating several pieces from one design
Our Design AssuranceWe understand that it is sometimes difficult to fully visualize a completed commissioned design! We at Custom want you to feel confident commissioning your treasured pieces with us. We assure you that no piece will move to the final casting and finishing stages, before you feel comfortable with your design. We want to assure you that minor alterations to your design, while subject to timeline changes, will not accrue additional fees. You will receive both digital renders and 3D prototypes to approve, before we ever move to final stages of creation. And, if you find your original direction is not as you envisioned, we will always work with you, at a discounted re-design rate, until you are happy with your piece. We love working with you bring your jewelry to life, and are honored you are considering allowing us to do so. If there is ever anything we can do to make the process easier, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are committed to making the sometimes daunting task of commissioning a piece of jewelry an easy and pleasant experience.
WarrantyCustom stands behind the quality of our pieces. The purchase of each ring includes a complimentary sizing, if needed. Additionally, you will receive free cleanings and stone checks for the lifetime of any piece you purchase from us.
Stone Loss:Any stone that we have set, valued up to $500.00, that falls-out, within two years from purchase, will be replaced it at no charge. This assumes the loss is due to normal wear. We reserve the right to determine if the loss was due to extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. If your center stone falls out during normal, daily wear, and is over the $500.00 limit, we will cover your insurance deductible up to $500.00. It is important that gemstones and diamonds above the $500.00 limit be appraised and then covered by your personal homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. We are happy to guide you through these processes if you have any questions.
Repairs:At Custom we pride ourselves on the quality of our work. In the rare circumstance your piece breaks or needs repair during the first year of normal daily wear, we will repair it at no cost to you, up to $250.00. Beyond $250.00, a discounted rate will apply to your repair. In the extremely rare case that you have continual issues with your piece during normal daily wear, we will re-make or re-cast your ring at no cost to you. These cases are exceedingly rare and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis when you bring the ring in. This will need to be brought to our attention within the first year of the ring’s life. Custom does not cover damage to the piece that incurs due to rough wear or general misuse of the piece. Normal repair fees will apply. Read more about daily wear and tear vs. rough wear here.
The Fine Print:We pride ourselves on workmanship and stand behind the construction of all of our pieces. If you do have issues, please allow us to resolve them first. Having your Custom piece worked on by another jeweler will void the remainder of your warranty.
Returns/ExchangesCustom orders, customized inventory, and items from our engagement line are not currently returnable or exchangeable. Purchases of our Standard Inventory* can be returned or exchanged within 2 weeks of purchase date (delivery date for online orders). Upon return of the item, we will assess it to ensure no damage or wear has been done to the piece, after which we will either send you your exchange piece or will refund your purchase cost. Return shipping will not be reimbursed. If damage is found, you will be notified, and we will return the originally purchased item to you.
*Standard Inventory is any item currently for sale in our showroom or via our website that is not part of our Engagement Line.
Returns/ExchangesAt Custom, we pride ourselves on building jewelry that will last a lifetime, and by adhering to the following guidelines, you can help ensure that it will.
What is daily wear?You should be able to wear your pieces without incident under normal, daily activities, such as going for a leisurely walk, working at an office job, having dinner out with friends — circumstances where you are not under excessive strain or working exclusively with your hands. What types of activities are considered rough wear?
- Exercising, or any strenuous activity including, but not limited to, cardio, yoga, lifting weights, hiking, swimming, etc.
- Cooking, baking, or doing dishes
- Cleaning, especially with bleach or other harsh chemicals
- Gardening or building repair
- Painting, throwing pottery, or other art activities that are done exclusively with your hands
- Showering and Bathing. At Custom, we always remove our jewelry before showers or bathing. The water temperatures could affect the metal, you will not be able find lost stones — should one fall out, and showering will always make your stones dull with dirt or soap.
- Sleeping. Your hands swell and contract on a daily basis. During the night, your fingers may swell and make your rings feel uncomfortable or become impossible to get off in the morning, until the swelling goes down. Additionally, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets can become tangled and break during the night.
- Hot or Cold Temperatures. Extreme temperatures contract and expand metal. Too much back and forth between temperatures can cause brittleness in the metal, and could loosen prong-set stones.
- Perfumes, oils, body lotion. Always remove your jewelry before applying these, and do not put the jewelry back on until they are fully absorbed by your skin.
- Silver: Silver jewelry will tarnish over time. Keep the silver lustre going with weekly or bi-weekly polishes with a soft cloth. In extreme cases of oxidization (black tarnish), where there are no stones on the piece, quickly dip it in Tarne, for no more than 5 seconds, then briefly rinse under running water.
- Gold (with or without most gemstones): Mix a small amount of mild dish detergent with warm water in a bowl. Put the jewelry into the bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Use a soft toothbrush (such as one that is old and worn out) to gently scrub the jewelry. Remove item from soapy water, rinse it and dry thoroughly with a soft polishing cloth.
- Soft Gemstones (such as opal, pearls, turquoise): These types of gemstones absorb the elements around them. Never put these in liquid cleaners. Instead, dip your soft toothbrush in a the mixture of soap and water and gently scrub around them to get the dirt off of the sides of the gem, and the metal, without allowing the liquid to soak into the stone.
Can you do custom work for me, even if I don’t live in Charlotte, NC?Yes! Our process is actually ideal for long-distance orders. We work mainly in a CAD program, and will be able to provide you lifelike images of your piece before we ever move into casting. Additionally, we can 3D print your files, and send you a resin prototype of your ring so you can see the size and proportion of your piece before we ever move into casting.
What are your shipping costs?We use USPS 3-day shipping as our standard option, at no cost to you. All packages are shipped fully insured. If you prefer another shipping option, just let us know. They are available via an additional charge.
Do you ship internationally?Yes, we are happy to ship to most other countries. International shipping charges do apply, and will be based on the daily rate of shipping insured to your country. Additionally, we cannot guarantee shipping timelines, and do not recommend international shipping for items that need to arrive by a certain date.
Do you ship jewelry fully insured?Yes. All packages are shipped fully insured.
Do you offer financing or layaway?We do not offer financing or layaway at this time. For Custom Work, we do split your project into two payments: 50% deposit at the start of the project. 50% payment within 90 days of completion of your project. If you would like to discuss a different payment plan on Custom work, feel free to reach out and inquire. We have been known to make exceptions to this standard process, due to extenuating circumstances.
What if I can’t pay the balance within 90 days of my Custom project’s completion?We understand unforeseen circumstances can arise. As long as you remain in communication with us about your circumstances we will try our best to work with you. If we do not hear from you, and we have received no payment within the first 90 days, we will add a 5% surcharge to your remaining balance for each additional month we do not receive payment (up to 3 months). Additionally, after 6 months from project completion date, we reserve the right to resell your custom piece, in order to recoup the costs we have invested in the project.
I love my Custom piece! But how do I insure it?Most pieces of jewelry can be insured via your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Exceptionally expensive pieces may need to be insured separately — check with your policy. Most insurance companies will require an appraisal and bill of sale to insure your piece, however this varies per policy and company.
Do you do appraisals?We do not appraise jewelry. We will provide you with a Jewelry Report that outlines the sizes and weights of the materials used in your piece, as well as the scope of work that was done for your Custom piece. You can provide this document to your appraiser of choice, and he or she can use it to create your formal appraisal.
Who we are
- We are Custom.
- We are lovers, designers, and creators of unorthodox and exceptional, fine jewelry.
- We run a bitchin’, little, family jewelry lab, located in Charlotte, NC.
- We are happy.
- We are passionate.
- We believe in kindness.
- We believe in equality.
- We strive to preserve the dwindling art of heirloom creation.
- We are jewelry badasses.
- We are writing Our Story.
- Let us help write yours.
Lee Lally, Co-owner, Master JewelerA master jeweler with over 20 years experience, Lee’s bold aesthetic and jeweler’s intuition help him create pieces that are as beautiful as they are timeless. Educated by the Holland School of Jewelry and the Revere Academy, Lee has been a JA Certified Jeweler for 15 years. After many years in the industry, he and his wife, Kate, opened Custom as a place for makers to have a voice of their own. When not metal-slinging at the shop, you can find Lee hanging with his family, trying not to get speeding tickets on his motorcycle, and supporting other local artists in the NODA neighborhood. See Lee’s work
Kate McFadden, Co-owner, DesignerA maker with a penchant for fashion, Kate spent years as an entrepreneur honing her vision and voice. After meeting her husband, Lee, her worldly view and business know-how married with his longtime knowledge of the jewelry industry to create Custom. The den-mother and visionary of the organization, her designs are always fashion-forward, beautiful, and on the pulse of what women want to wear. When not in the studio designing, you can find Kate nurturing her beautiful family, practicing yoga at the local studio, and throwing clay on her pottery wheel. See Katie’s work
Vanessa Ross, SalesPart geek-chic, part rainbow sparkles, 100% creative tour-de-force, Vanessa comes to Custom with 10 years’ experience in the jewelry biz. A pop culture junkie and vintage fashionista, Vanessa is not only Custom’s sales person extraordinaire, but our resident beading expert. When she’s not helping customers find the perfect present, you can probably find her putting together an amazing outfit at local thrift shops, or creating wearable fan art via her passion project cutenotkawaii.com. See Vanessa’s work
What people are saying
Kate McFadden Explains Her Intentional Irreverence”Read the article
Charlottes Best Of 2014Best Place For a Non-Traditional Engagement Ring Read the article
Charlottes Best Of 2016Charlottes best of 2016, Best Jewelry Store Read the article
Where to find us
We are located in the heart of NoDa.
Come visit us at:3206 North Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28205
Hours:Tuesday – Saturday 10-6 Mondays by appointment
If you have any questions email us at [email protected], or give us a call at 704-980-9840.