Your love is unlike any other. Which is why Eklektic Jewelry Studio creates wedding jewelry unlike anything else you’ll see. In this exclusive Houston Wedding Blog Q&A, we chat with Eklektic founder Marco Gutierrez Jr., who grew up “running around and getting in trouble” in his grandparents’ jewelry workshop—and who now works side by side with to-be-weds to create the jewelry of their dreams, in his very own studio. If you’re thinking of going custom with your wedding jewelry, you’ll want to read every word.
Photos: Courtesy of Eklektic Jewelry Studio
Houston Wedding Blog: What is your jewelry design background?
Marco Gutierrez Jr.: I grew up in the jewelry industry, and started Eklektic Jewelry Studio in 1999 in Rice Village. Just out of architecture school, I wanted to establish my own business that would combine my passion for jewelry and my love of architecture. Every design I ever made in architecture school had a “jewel-like” element.
Everything we do stems from our passion for making jewelry. All of our jewelers have been personally trained by my father and myself in the art of making jewelry. Unlike most other jewelers, we are actively involved in the process of making jewelry and we passionately invest in learning new techniques.
HWB: Take us through the process of designing a custom engagement ring or wedding band. What are the steps, and how long does it typically take?
MGJ: We believe in making jewelry for a lifetime. We truly believe an engagement ring is the most important part of a couple’s history and legacy.
We approach design in a very personal way. We talk to our clients in a casual conversation about things that are not related to jewelry. I feel this helps me get a feel for what our clients like and dislike, as well as a direction on their style. After our initial conversation, we start determining things like colors, materials and budget.
This is when I start brainstorming and creating three completely different computer renderings of what I think the design could be. Usually most clients tend to lean toward a particular style out of the three, or in some cases a combination of two of them. Once the style is chosen, we start detailing the design by adding or removing elements such as the center stone.
Once we are happy with the design, we use one of our 3D printers to print out the model. This takes anywhere from four to eight hours depending on the complexity of the design. This 3D-printed model allows us to see the scale and proportions as they will be in the final piece. It is probably the most important part before finalizing the process prior to starting the work in metal.
Then we prepare the final 3D model for casting. Once the piece is cast in the metal of choice, the bench work starts: filing, detailing, laser correction, polishing, setting of stones, and polishing. All of which is done right here in our studio. The entire process from start to finish can take up to six weeks.
HWB: What is your advice to couples for selecting the perfect engagement diamond?
MGJ: We encourage them to learn as much as possible about diamonds, especially the 4 C’s (carat, color, clarity and cut), and sometimes the origin of the diamond. For inspiration, we always recommend that our clients look at luxury jewelry houses. Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Tiffany are some of the most common.
Lastly, the money spent on a ring should feel comfortable. Engagement jewelry marks a point in your personal history and it has to be able to reflect that part of your life. We don’t believe it is about a certain dollar amount, but instead it is about a certain feeling in the creation of your ring.
HWB: What would you tell a potential customer who is intrigued by the idea of a custom engagement ring…but concerned about veering away from tradition?
MGJ: Custom is not for everyone. Having your jewelry custom-made means you will have an amazing one-of-a-kind piece that tells your unique story. It’s a conversation-starter in many cases. We provide a lifetime of complimentary maintenance and polishing for your ring, because we love the piece we made for you and want to make sure it’s properly maintained. Every visit is a grand celebration and every client makes a big difference in our lives.
Photos: Courtesy of Eklektic Jewelery Studio