MJSA. Professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

Nanz Aalund ring

At What Price?

Custom Jeweler Nanz Aalund breaks down a custom piece, fee by fee

Nanz AalundEditor’s Note:
For their fifth anniversary, a client’s husband purchased a pair of kite-cut diamonds with the intention of creating a shadow band with the kite cuts overhanging the shoulders of his wife’s halo-style engagement ring, which features a salt-and-pepper center stone. However, the client was tired of the style and wanted to explore more creative possibilities for combining the new stones with what she already had. Here’s how Nanz Aalund of Nanz Aalund Art Jewelry in Poulsbo, Washington, arrived at the final price for this special salt-and-pepper ring.


During the initial consultations with the client, I like to present four to five finished pencil sketches that feature slight changes in stone number, setting, or placement, along with an estimated price for each of the projects. In this way, the customer gets to make an educated choice in the design. I don’t charge for these initial consultations.

Total Fee: $0


Once a sketch was selected, the design went into CAD development. This part of a project is charged to the client as labor with a minimum of four hours at $150 per hour. This step produces a CAD illustration and a 3-D printed model for the client’s approval. If modifications are requested, the client is informed that an additional cost may be incurred. Because of the irregular cuts of the kite-cut diamonds, this project’s CAD time was higher than usual.

Total Fee: $1,200


Although it was estimated to run twice as much as the client’s original budget, the design the client wound up selecting featured a substantially stronger under gallery and prongs than her original thinner, high-profile halo setting. The ring was cast in-house using 7.8 grams of 14k white gold. We included a $75 charge to do an individual casting because the client wanted to reuse the gold (about 3 grams) from her original ring.

Total Fee: $1,050


The client supplied all of the diamonds for the project. However, three of the original melee from the halo were slightly off-color and the client opted to have them replaced.

Total fee: $150


Casting and clean up took about two hours. Setting costs were calculated based on Geller’s Blue Book. We also charged $50 to rhodium plate the ring.

Total Fee: $780

Final Price:



MJSA Advantage

MJSA members receive exclusive informational and marketing benefits, from free promotional placements to information research services.