Sonkai Jewellers. Hand-Crafted Jewellery, Norwich, Norfolk

The Process

Initial Appointment:

The first step is to have an appointment so we can find out what you are after, why and when for; how much you are looking to spend; whether you have any design preferences in mind; whether you have any existing metal or gemstones to use and so on. 

Design appointment:

After your initial appointment our designer Susan will then draw up a selection of design options for you to view, based on your individual needs, style, taste and preferences. These may be hand-drawn, CAD drawn or a combination of the two and are generally ready within a week to 10 days of your first appointment.

Final Design and Quote:

Following the design appointment, a final CAD rendered version of your chosen design will be sent to you with a quote for the work. If you are happy with the design and have no further changes to make, we then ask for a 50% deposit as confirmation of your order so we may proceed to the manufacturing stage. 

Manufacture:

We can produce jewellery by hand using either new metal (left hand image) or by melting down existing, sentimental jewellery (right).

 

The designs are made by Craig at the bench in-store, including setting of stones if applicable (left hand image). All pieces are then cleaned and polished by hand in our workshop on the first floor (right). 

We also use our CAD jewellery computer program to print 3D wax models of our designs, which are then cast in the metal of choice. The piece is then hand finished, set and polished in store by Craig. The images below L-R show the original ring; a copy of the wax print from our CAD program along with the 18ct cast version; Craig in the process of setting the new design with the customer's stones and the final finished piece. 

From the date that you agree a design and leave your deposit to the date of completion is generally about 4-8 weeks, depending on the complexity of the design, process of manufacture and how busy we are when you place your order. 

Why do we cast some designs and make other by hand?

Whether we choose to cast or work by hand from scratch is generally down to the design. Whilst we like to do as much as possible by hand there can be many benefits to using the casting method. Casting the base parts can save on labour costs and will often work out to be less pricey when we come to quote on a more complex design - even though the metal and processing costs are be higher with casting. Also, some designs are simply not possible by hand for technical and aesthetic reasons. Sometimes it is also dependent on the material we are working in - old gold can often be brittle and difficult to work with by hand and so in these cases, casting is often the only way to get an effective result.