Melanie here! When I set out on this journey, I knew I wanted to create jewelry that is made with care, by hand, in the old way. It just made sense to me: like the aging of a fine wine, the creation of fine jewelry cannot be rushed if the goal is the highest quality and detailed perfection.
Unfortunately, this handmade process is a slow one, and not just because of the time it takes to physically make the piece. Our client liaisons are often asked about our production times - an understandable inquiry in the age of overnight delivery and instant gratification! So, I wanted to take a moment to explain our process in more detail than I have before.
First, I’ll speak to our before-COVID process, which I hope will be our “normal” again very soon! The pandemic has, of course, changed how we do things around here, so I’ll explain about that further down.
Our made-to-order model means that we do not keep a steady stock of each design. Instead, when we receive your order, our inventory team gets to work on sourcing the materials needed for the piece(s). Some pieces require materials that are either harder to find or more particular (for example, a very specific size of diamond). In the case of engagement rings, I source the diamonds myself, which sometimes takes time in order to find the best possible stone.
When the materials are received in the studio, they are gathered together for the assigned jeweler. (Our jewelers are all expert goldsmiths, and we spend a lot of time and energy on training. Some prefer or are better at certain pieces, so our production team takes care to assign orders to the best jeweler for the job.)
From there, the jeweler gets to work on sizing, setting stones, polishing, and perfecting each piece. Some pieces are more finicky than others, which means they take a bit longer to create. (This is why you’ll see varied production times on each product listing on our website, and it’s why our client liaisons need to check with the production team before they can tell you how much longer your piece will be!) Once the piece is finished, it comes to my bench for a thorough quality check. This important step in the process can sometimes take several days if the piece needs a stone tightened or polish touched up. When it looks absolutely perfect to me, it heads over to our shipping department.
The shipping team gathers the paperwork (shipping label, Certificate of Authenticity, GIA certificate when applicable, etc.) and makes sure everything matches up. The piece is then carefully packed in the box you selected, and made ready for shipment. This careful process takes a couple of days to ensure the proper piece gets to the right place. From here, the piece is picked up by UPS and shipped out to you!
It’s a lot of steps, I know. And each one is vital; we have tried to look into speeding up the production time we need, but it just won’t work. Perfection takes time.
So, with our unique made-to-order production model, things are already slow. Add in a global pandemic, and you get additional delays that are, frankly, frustrating. All of our materials are slower to arrive from our suppliers. Diamond sourcing takes a bit more finesse. Our team began working from home - even the jewelers and our shipping team! We set people up with home jewelry benches so we could continue to work through the pandemic. This means that instead of walking a piece from one bench to another in the studio, we ship them to one another or have a courier pick them up. All of this adds, ultimately, weeks to our normal production timelines.
We’ve had to pivot a lot these past months, but I am very proud that we did not have to make any COVID layoffs. Now that we can do so safely, some of our team is back in the studio, working distantly but more closely than before. And, thanks to our team and to you, our clients, Melanie Casey is still a thriving, growing company. We just have to be a bit more patient with our process these days, which is hard because we want to get your pieces to you as quickly as possible! Thanks for your patience, too. I hope this extra-long explanation brings some insight into the inner workings of MC!