What does bespoke actually mean?


Bespoke is a word often bandied around by companies, but what does it actually mean? The word has an interesting history as discussed in this article.

Initially, the word bespoke was “a past participle of the verb ‘to bespeak’ which meant ‘to exclaim or call out’, then it changed to describe ‘to discuss, decide upon’ and lastly became ‘discussed in advance’, hence its use to describe tailor-made garments,” says Cormac McKeown, of Collins dictionary.

bespoke-designThis explains why it was used initially for tailor made suits on Saville Row and is exactly how we understand the word at jodiegearing.com. We will work with you to hand-design a unique, one off, hand made piece of jewellery exactly to your specifications, just like a custom made suit. You want a pendant with your initials pierced out of the metal? You got it. You want a specific font to be used? No problem. You want the letters to overlap in a particular way? Of course. The choice is yours because we design our jewellery from scratch.

So you see? By going bespoke, you can have a design totally tailored to your requirements. The bespoke journey is a collaboration between you and the designer. They will take your ideas, inspire you with numerous variations you had never even considered before and then come up with the perfect design using their knowledge of what will work best for you within your budget.

jewellery-designerThe source of confusion with word bespoke in the jewellery industry comes, once more, from the high street. If you’ve read my articles on white gold, you’ll understand the myths and misconceptions surrounding rhodium plating. The same goes for bespoke design where a lot of jewellers will provide their customers with a list of pre-determined components to assemble into a piece of jewellery. You will sit with a designer at a computer screen and select a style, stone, setting and metal. This is customisation rather than a truly bespoke, one-off piece and multiple other people will choose the exact same combination. You do not have total control as you’ll have a limited choice of cast parts. To us, this does not, as by the definition above, constitute a one-off design. This type of customisable jewellery production has its place but here, at jodiegearing.com, we start from scratch, giving you total control to create a really special piece of one-off jewellery. We can utilise cast settings, which can help keep costs down, but we will produce a piece made entirely out of ready-made components and call it bespoke.

Need more convincing?



True, it takes time to produce a hand made piece of jewellery so it may seem the quicker option to select a ready-made piece off the shelf from a high street jeweller than to go the bespoke route. But consider this – trawling the high street for the right piece within your budget can take an inordinate amount of time. Try searching online and you’ll get a sea of results but can you really trust that when it arrives, it’ll be what you expect? With bespoke, you can make sure the quality is up to your expectations and meet the person making it for you. If you have a tight deadline, we can discuss the options with you to make it happen.



If you’re thinking about a really special investment piece such as an engagement ring or special anniversary or birthday gift, the fact that you’ve designed something totally unique with the recipient in mind is truly a special gesture. If you’re choosing a piece for a really significant occasion or person, wouldn’t you rather have something that sums up their personality, is as unique as they are, and that no-one else will have?

ring profiles - twist

The perfect fit

If you’ve got the engagement ring but now need a wedding band and suddenly discover that a flat band just will not sit nicely next to it then going bespoke means you’ll get the perfect fit.

setting style sketches - halo

Total control

You can customise any part of the design to make it exactly right. How many times have you gone clothes shopping and found the perfect top if only it had the collar from that other one and the fabric of another? Jewellery shopping is just like this. You can mix and match elements of designs you like and combine them into the ultimate design that ticks all the boxes.

carat box

Work to your personal budget

If you’ve found a piece you like but it’s not within your budget, you can tweak the design by changing the stone type, size, quantity or quality or changing the scale of the design and metal type by going bespoke.

shape box

Clarity and decisiveness

You might have decided to go the bespoke route because you just don’t know what you want. You might consider yourself bad at making decisions. A talented designer will be able to whittle down the mind-boggling amount of options for you so that you don’t become overwhelmed and quickly it will all fall into place. Suddenly, you’ll have an opinion on which precious metal will be best and what setting style you like most when it seemed impossible to choose before. No more confusion; you’ve found the design you’ve been searching for!

Beth's ring under the flame

Knowledge and understanding

Collaborating with a designer to create a piece of jewellery rather means you are utilising their experience and knowledge to get the right outcome for you. You will learn so much about precious metals and gemstones and their properties through your design consultation that you will feel confident about the choices you make. Designing a piece of jewellery is more than simply coming up with a pretty design – a good jewellery designer will discuss your life style with you and will inform you of the pros and cons associated with each setting style, band width and metal or stone choice to make sure you’re going to receive an end product that will last a lifetime.

Beth's Ring Design


Working with a designer on a tailor made, totally custom design is fun! A jewellery designer will unpick your creative ideas, even if you find it hard to articulate what you’d like and will bring your design to life through their sketches. Seeing your ideas be revealed on paper can be really rewarding, especially if you’ve gone into the consultation believing that you didn’t really know what you were looking for! If you’re designing a special piece of jewellery with your special someone, the team effort can be really enjoyable. And let’s face it, looking at and discussing beautiful metals and gemstones is not something the average person gets to do on a daily basis; it’s a real treat.

I hope this has convinced you that going bespoke is a wonderful experience and definitely a route to achieve the right piece of jewellery for you. Why not have a look through our previous
bespoke commissions for some case studies or have a look at our Pinterest page for some inspiration? If you’d like to discuss a one-off piece of jewellery, get in touch on the contact page and we’ll give you a rough quote.