GINGER MEEK ALLEN …
… is a master metalsmith and custom studio jeweler.
She creates jewelry that is powerful, narrative and exquisitely well made.
CUSTOM JEWELRY PIECES TO DATE
YEARS IN JEWELRY MAKING
CUPS OF TEA IN THE STUDIO
As a child I had one of those Golden storybooks (anybody remember those?) with the story of the Princess and the Pea. I love that story! I remember the imagery of that storybook… The ...
Hanging from the leather strap around my anvil stump is a simple planishing hammer. It’s one of many, many hammers in my studio. But, this one is in my top five. It would be difficult for me to ...
Sparks often fly as ideas arrive and solutions begin to follow. This first phase is where ideas develop for your custom piece. It’s where Ginger learns what you are looking for in a custom jewelry piece and why. Your narrative is the core around which the jewelry design develops.
Using your narrative and all the parameters you’ve provided, Ginger retreats to design something just for you. Sketches, materials and processes are evaluated and planned as Ginger also prepares an estimate for you. This phase culminates with a Custom Jewelry Design Plan just for you.
With the design and all other plans in place, Ginger goes to her bench to create your special piece. This is typically the longest phase of the four, but the most magical. Ginger provides you with a virtual studio page where she will often post process photos and other updates for you so you always know how things are going.
With the piece completed, it will be photographed, packaged and prepared for presentation. This is the shortest of the four phases, but the most fun as you and Ginger celebrate the realization of your shared vision. Ta-daa!
No, I will help you figure that out if you’re unsure of exactly what you’d like made.
Absolutely! When I am creating bespoke pieces, the narrative that is the source of the design does not belong to me. It belongs to you. I respect that. The process of creating a custom jewelry piece is a collaboration. I am the expert on jewelry and technical parameters. You are the expert on the story.
All of my custom jewelry clients get to share a virtual studio with me. This is a private page on my website where we track milestones in the process, and we also share process photos of the making of the piece.
You can always visit any jewelry store and ask to have your ring size determined. Additionally, I have created a document that provides two do-it-yourself methods to determine your ring size. Click the Ring Sizing Guide link below to download the file. Also, in the event that you commission a ring style that is not easily resizable, I can add a sizing-via-prototype step to the process in which I would ship several sample prototypes to you to try on and ship back.
Yes. It varies from season to season, but custom work has been keeping me busy for years now.
Custom jewelry is completely personal. Because each piece is handmade, no two are alike. If you value uniqueness, then handmade is for you. If you are seeking to honor a narrative in a specific way, then custom jewelry is for you.
Not necessarily. It’s a specific process, and a creative process, but it doesn’t have to be an exorbitantly expensive process. I am more comfortable when my clients and I discuss budget early in the conversation so that the expenditure that is comfortable for the client is a factor in the design process.
There are variables that affect the time frame. Among them are how many other projects I have on my bench at the time, the technical processes required to achieve your piece, etc. Time frame will be discussed during your initial free consultation but, typically the turnaround time can be anywhere from two weeks to three months.
I am comfortable working in silver, gold, palladium white gold, palladium, platinum, copper, steel, enamel, gemstones, pearls, and found materials.
In my studio I use forging, fabrication, enameling, piercing, soldering, stone setting, wax carving, etching, foldforming, and many other metalsmithing processes. When CAD or casting are required, I outsource those steps in the project, but I do all the preliminary and finishing steps before and after that in my own studio.
The initial consultation is free.
If we agree during the initial consultation that we’d like to pursue the project further, there is design fee that covers the development of the detailed design and project estimate. That fee is applied to the deposit required for any custom piece. When I create an estimate for higher end projects, I will provide a breakdown of costs, including metal stock (based on the current metal markets), other supply costs, and benchwork (labor) fees. This method allows you to tweak the project to fit your budget, such as using less gold to cut metal costs or further embellishing the design to increase bench fees.
Other pieces are more straightforward, so I’m able to quote those prices with a flat rate. Adjustments up or down are always an option.
Any custom jewelry estimate I provide for you is valid for 30 days. However, in the event that a change in the precious metal markets affects the cost by more than $100 either way, the estimate must be revised.
The deposit required is half of the estimated cost.
Client satisfaction is important to me. I work toward clear communication with my clients during all phases of the process so that we both understand what’s developing. I am open to client input throughout the entire process. Custom pieces are final sales because of the specific, highly personal nature of each piece. But rest assured that I make clarity and satisfaction a priority.
I welcome projects that use heirloom pieces. There are a number of ways to approach this process. Sometimes we can use the actual metal from a piece or pieces that you already have to make a new piece. (For example, I have used one ring that belonged to a loved one to make several pieces for all the members of the family.) Other times we may choose to use only the stone or stones from an heirloom piece, make an entirely new piece , and give you credit for the “scrap metal” toward the cost of the new piece. There are technical considerations, of course, so I will evaluate each project and each piece on a case-by-case basis.
In her work Ginger combines artisan skill with aesthetic finesse in making jewelry and small vessels in her downtown metals studio. Her skills at the bench, including forging, fabricating, etching, hollowform construction, creative stonesetting and texturing – when linked with her eye for contemporary but organic design – generate a unique and expressive body of work that conveys the mark of the human hand.
Whether commissioned by a custom client or generated by Ginger’s personal artistic vision, each piece is a meaningful celebration of the power of both art and fine craft to inspire, commemorate and preserve.