Custom Process


Jewelry Design and Creation

What to expect on your customized jewelry journey

tiffany talks to a custom jewelry client

Step 1

Talk to a designer

The first step in your new creation is to have a conversation with one of our talented designers who know how to listen and figure out exactly what you want, even if you're not sure!

  • New gemstones: we have a large selection in stock, plus we can contact our trusted sources to send us several for you to choose from with no obligation.
  • Sentimental jewelry: if you’d like to include in your project or jewelry that you just don’t wear anymore, let us know and we can either use it or give you a recycling credit toward your project.
  • Reset your own diamonds or gemstones: we love the extra meaning that repurposing family gems can bring
Contact a designer
drawing of pendant

Step 2

The Custom Design

Either a hand-drawn sketch or a CAD (Computer Aided Design) rendering is created so that you can see the vision start to come to life

collage of goldsmiths working

Step 3

Creating Your Jewelry

Once the ideas are all sketched out and you love what you see, one of our expert goldsmiths will get started on building your new piece! 

You can see the goldsmiths working from our showroom and you can even get a tour and see the our cool tools and meet the team!

happy client collage

Step 4

Enjoy your new jewelry

There's nothing quite like jewelry that's personalized just for you

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you!

How we make your jewelry

3d printed models3d printed models3d cad software

model created in CAD

Creating Wax Models

Our CAD designers have also worked as bench jewelers and truly understand how jewelry needs to be virtually created in order to work in the real world

3D printed wax models

Wax Models

If the item will be cast, a wax model will be created either by hand carving or more often by CAD and 3D printing

supports removed and ready to try on

Wax Models

Once your wax model is finished, you can view it, by coming by the shop, we can send pictures of it to you or if you live out of town we can even mail it to you.

You can try it on and make sure that you love the width, height etc before we move on to the next step

casting molds in kilnmold making for castingmold making for casting


Prepping for Casting

The model is attached with wax to a base and prepared for making the mold

pouring special plaster to create the mold

Prepping for Casting

The mold is created around the wax model by pouring plaster around it

wax burnout in kiln

Prepping For Casting

The wax is melted out of the mold and a cavity is left. It's this cavity that the molten precious metal will be poured into

casting still attached to feeder sprue and buttonbreaking casting molds to remove castingscasting machine

metal just poured into mold


Our casting machine helps us control the variables that ensure the highest quality castings

breaking the mold


The mold is broken to reveal the metal casting inside

a fresh casting


A casting just removed from its mold and still attached to the extra metal or button

jeweler inspecting custom made earringjeweler polishingjeweler setting diamond

setting a diamond

Setting & Finishing

Each diamond and gemstone are expertly set


Setting & Finishing

Each piece of jewelry is carefully finished one at a time

Final inspection

Setting & Finishing

Our jewelry undergoes several levels of quality control to ensure that everything is just right

tracy, gemologist, writing appraisalskristine taking photographs of jewelry

Kristine taking photos of custom jewelry

Records & Appraisals

Our administrative team takes all the information about the metal/labor/gems etc, inputs them into the computer and takes an amazing photograph of your new piece of jewelry so that we will always have a record of everything that went into it!

Certified Gemologist Appraiser, Tracy writing an appraisal

Records & Appraisals

The gemologists write up a detailed appraisal complete with a photo at no charge (for every item over $1000)

What our clients are saying

Joce T


Excellent staff. My partner and I could not be more thrilled about our custom made engagement rings. Mary at Jewelsmith has been with us every step of the way and helped us design rings that reflect our aesthetics, values, and budget. I recommend this “gem” of a local business to everyone.

Marci L


The customer service, attention to detail, fine craftsmanship, and creativity at Jewelsmith make it a unique gem of Durham!
I had my engagement ring designed here (gorgeous!), a custom band made, and have had jewelry appraised here a number of times. In all encounters, the staff was outstanding- always going the extra mile. I wouldn’t go anywhere else, they are amazing.

Jeffrey G


The whole team and experience is top notch! Highly recommend them. Mary helped my fiancé and I create a beautiful engagement ring with family diamonds. We will be returning to purchase a wedding ring I’m sure our children will fight over. Our entire family loves them immensely.



On a whim, I asked Jewelsmith to create new pieces from family rings that did not match my taste. Working with their team each step of the way, the finished jewelry literally took my breath away. I could not believe that they were the same stones. My vintage jewelry is now being enjoyed instead of sitting in the safety deposit box. THANK YOU to everyone at Jewelsmith for your craftsmanship.

Tonya P


I was originally hesitant to make such an important purchase remotely but the virtual presses was easy and Katherine was so knowledgeable and helpful that it felt as if we were.there in person. The team worked hard to custom create my vision while staying within my budget. Thank you Jewelsmith!..I love my wedding ring. It is everything I imaged.

Meg S


A fabulous experience from start to finish. I brought my grandmother’s stick pin in, along with many other pieces no longer worn and living in the back of the drawer and had them taken apart and used the jewels to make two beautiful pairs of earrings for my daughter. Both pieces were designed in-house and look gorgeous. The ‘jewelry designers and makers’ are professional, talented, and will work with you to make what you want. Many thanks to Patrick for the time and talent. Everyone in the store made my multiple visits special. I am so happy that these family pieces will now be passed down and enjoyed and worn in their new, lovely iteration.

Customer service


call/text 919-286-2990

Free shipping

shipping policy

Easy returns

return policy

Recycled metals

ethical practices

Handmade in Durham since 1976

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