Everyone knows what their perfect piece of geeky jewelry would look like. Maybe yours would feature your favorite character, or combine two or more of your favorite fandoms. Maybe it’d be a subtle but stylish piece you could wear even on formal occasions.
If you’re the kind of person who knows exactly how you’d like to wear your fandom, Takayas Custom Jewelry might be able to help you make that geek fashion statement. Takayas turned heads last fall when it released a stunning line of lightsaber-inspired rings. That’s not a unique move for the designer; their beautiful high-end rings, necklaces, and other items frequently come with a geeky twist. And if you can think of a design, Takayas can most likely make it.
The master jeweler behind these creations is Takayas Mizuno, who has been making jewelry for more than 20 years. Mizuno worked his way through the field from factory worker to designer. But unlike many designers, Mizuno’s dream was to do be able to handle the entire process by himself. He enjoyed every step involved in making jewelry. Eventually, he was able to make that wish come true: He started his own custom jewelry business.
Mizuno told the Daily Dot his desire to handcraft every piece of jewelry from start to finish was probably the main reason he wanted to start his business. And the opportunity to create high-level custom work had its own appeal.
“A lot of people can’t find something that they really like on the showcase and then they are always having questions or requests,” he said. “‘I wish this ring could be a little more bigger or a little bit more twisted.'”
Mizuno said he understands the mentality behind the custom requests because he’s also a picky shopper who likes things to be perfect. “I think that might be another reason why [I started the business]. I wanted to help those people and let them have something they absolutely love.”
Many custom jewelry designers will work from templates they ask customers to choose from, which can sometimes reduce the individuality of the ‘custom’ pieces. Mizuno told us that every piece he creates is from scratch. Each custom work undergoes a systematic design process that starts with reaching out to Mizuno.
That kind of personal service, as you might expect, comes at a premium. The price of each piece differs based on the design and materials, but the average full custom project starts between $2,500 and $5,000.
Mizuno starts by asking a lot of questions about what you want. If you have an idea already in mind, the preliminary consultation (which can also happen through email) is the time to mention it.
“We asked, ‘OK, what part of the game do you like? Or do you have any favorite characters? Do you have any favorite item?’ This time it was a Keyblade. ‘Do you have a favorite Keyblade?'”
Many of Mizuno’s customers know exactly what they want, but many others trust his judgment about what parts of the fandom or story should go into the design. Mizuno advises undecided customers not to think about logistical factors in this early stage of the process. Questions about whether a certain design idea will “fit into the jewelry” or “be kind of funny looking on the engagement ring” will work themselves out later on. In the beginning, Mizuno advises, “Don’t worry about those things, just tell me what you like.”
Mizuno also gathers important information about the person the jewelry is for. He’s had customers send him photos of the recipient’s tattoos and the clothes or accessories they wear to help him get an idea of the person’s character. Armed with that information, he’ll start brainstorming.
“I start to think about those ideas and the design even while I’m doing or making other projects,” Mizuno said. “Then when I get some ideas I start to use my CAD software to start making draft images and after that we just give the customer the images and then they can give us any comments.”
Mizuno stressed that ring designs especially have to be vetted for comfort and long-lasting durability. If a ring has a stone, it “has to stay there forever.”
“If it’s a ring it has to be comfortable and feel good when people wear it,” he said. “I don’t want to make something a little bit too fragile. So basically I will keep changing the design until they say this is it.” Once the customer has signed off on the design, Mizuno will do the casting and complete the item. Usually a piece takes four to eight weeks to complete.
The company often shares photos of its work and the stories behind the pieces on its blog. Custom engagement or wedding rings usually have a deeper meaning and inspiration for the lucky couple. For example, a recent post about a set of Final Fantasy XIV rings revealed the video game was special because it was the first one the couple had ever played together. They chose a bride’s engagement ring inspired by Queen Nanamo and a groom’s wedding band inspired by the Paladin class.
In the case of a Diablo 3 engagement ring, the happy couple responded in the comments section of the blog to give readers a better idea what working with Takayas was like. ” I am in awe how every single line and curve of its most intricate design has significant meaning to us,” wrote the bride.
Certainly for geeks in love, a custom piece of jewelry can be a great idea. But even if you’re not getting married, a custom piece can be a meaningful way to commemorate an important moment in your life, share a special geeky love with a friend, or even just make yourself really happy.
Mizuno told the Daily Dot that he’s also a huge fan of anime, video games, and other fandoms. Since he started running his own business, he doesn’t have as much time to enjoy these other interests as he used to, but he still loves geek culture.
So when customers bring all their geekiest dreams to his door, it’s a win-win.
You can find out more about Takayas Custom Jewelry on their website.
Photo via Takayas Custom Jewelry/takayascustomjewelry.com/ (C) Used with permission | Remix by Jason Reed