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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here at Neelam Lara Designs, we know that the value of our jewelry to our customers goes beyond the cost.

We have prepared a list of FAQs about our products to help guide you in getting your next treasured jewelry with us.

We are also happy to consult you if you have any specific questions about our designs and services.

Contact NLD

What are the services you offer?

 Neelam Lara Designs, takes pride in Bespoke designing. We primarily work on customisation of jewelry design and manufacturing according to the design requirements and budget of the individual, a retail outlet or a  wholesale organisation. We offer a wide range of customisation, from designing, stringing, re fabrication of your heirloom pieces, as well as designing on the base of some gem material you may have received as inheritance or procured on your travel. We have a small collection designed inhouse, available for online purchase, or purchase from our home studio outlet in Singapore.

What types of gems / semi-precious stones are available for custom design? Are there any certifications available?

A wide range of precious  semiprecious, organic, phenomenal gemstones are available for the customer to choose from. However, if the customer requirement is beyond what is available with us, we will arrange to suit the customers price range and quality. No, the gemstones do not come with certificates, however certification can be done at the request of the Customer, certification charges to be borne by the customer.

How can I order customized jewellery? Can you explain the process?

Custom design is the best way to achieve a personal preference in jewelry. If customization is done on a beloved heirloom piece or an unusual gem material, then the end product is original and unique to You. The designer Neelam Lara, will guide you through the jewelry trends, and various options, including your face structure and personality, to help you choose designs and styles that are perfect for You. Process: For Customization will need to make an appointment, with the designer Neelam Lara. Neelam operates out of Singapore. If you are based in Singapore a face to face meeting is the best way to get started however if you are from any other part of the world you can do a Skype call, Face time or Zoom Call, as suitable to you. After the first initial idea consultation, if you are satisfied with what I have to offer, we can begin the design process, based on your personality, desire, reference, requirement and budget. At this stage a small deposit is required for me to begin the design process. [An equivalent of 250sgd. The design process depends upon the complexity of the jewelry item. Is it a ring, a bracelet or a Parure[a matching set of jewels}.We offer 3 broad design options, based on your reference or requirement. If you like one of the options, then we narrow down our design concept and offer another set of 2 designs, closely following your inputs and advice, till we reach the final stages of design, which may take from 1week to a fortnight. Once the design is confirmed, we will make the final design draft in actual size, and will provide design, measurement and gemstone details and a close approximate budget. From 2 decades of experience I can share I have never exceeded my quotation, however given the current times where the precious metal prices are soaring by the day and the dollar fluctuation is quite significant, the quotation given is only a close approximate. If at this stage you want to walk away with the design only, you pay an additional 250 sgd[ total design charges 500].If we go ahead with the manufacturing, then it does not involve additional design charges. Once the design and quotation is finalized and approved by you, an advance deposit of minimum 30-40% is payable at your end. This primarily helps me to block the precious metal rate, so you do not have to worry about fluctuating metal prices. The production process begins once we have your advance, we keep you informed and involved at a few stages before completion. If the estimated budget is expected to rise, we will inform you and take your written approval or  we  may mutually agree for some mid production  alterations, to keep to the original  budget.

At Neelam Lara Designs, we take pride in customizing heirloom jewelry.  As a designer it gives me immense satisfaction to recreate or re furbish something that is of sentimental value to you. It may be a piece of jewelry that you have inherited, but you are unable to wear it in its current condition. Sometimes, with a little fixing, polish changes and restringing it becomes as good as new. Sometimes, you may be able to use the gemstones or pearls, and redesign them to make something more contemporary or classic to suit your desire. Many a time the inherited piece may be damaged beyond repair, or the metal shine and design is too loud for your taste, in that case we will need to dismantle the piece, carefully remove the gestones and melt the metal. We send the metal for purification and then treat it as advance towards new metal. We never make jewelry with your existing metal as alloying at every stage reduces the purity of the metal.

I have an old piece of jewellery, can you customize it for me?

What if I am not sure of what I want? If I have a reference image, can I get it duplicated?

If you don’t know what you want , we will  help you  come to a conclusion , by understanding what you  have or don’t have, understanding your personality, your budget and by sharing with you design trends, jewelry fashion forecasts, references of jewelry made in the category you desire, ensuring you come to a conclusion and you  are happy with it. As long as you are convinced, by our designs, we will be able to help you make the right decision we will tae the journey with you. It is a simple way to reach to a conclusion, either by your preference or by the process of elimination. In my 2 decades of designing, I have  always succeeded in understanding the  design requirement of the client ,on the basis of  the jewelry  category, size, use of gemstones,  styling  and pricing.If you come with a design reference, we can work around that, [please note we will not be able to replicate someone else’s design].

What are the price range of custom jewellery design?

The price range of custom jewelry depend on the complexity of design and item. A daily wear ring in gold with a small diamond or only colour stone is far less expensive than a solitaire ring, where the solitaire diamond is the most expensive element. Similarly, a pendant or earrings can be a tiny daily wear item requiring minimal gold, while a wedding jewelry is complex and large in size and will come at a heavy price. The price of custom-made jewelry made from heirloom pieces, depends on the amount of changes required.  A small alteration requires minimal spending, however a complete change in look will come at a larger expense. At NLDesigns,I am happy to make jewelry  of your choice[ it may be piece of tiny jewelry  weighing 5gm to heavy jewelry weighing upto 300gm] . Jewelry begins from 500$ onwards.

Is my custom design -one of a kind?

Neelam Lara Designs, owns the rights to all our designs. If your custom design is made specifically for you, and is very distinct, because of gemstone selection, or if it has a gem or jewel part that belongs to you, we will not duplicate it. For more simple designs and daily wear products, we cannot promise that the item will not be recreated. However, as a courtesy to each client we will always try to alter the design slightly when remaking for another client, so your design always remains unique.

I want a simple jewellery that can be used for daily wear, can I buy something from the website?

My ready to purchase collection is very limited at this point, however if you like something from the “IN HOUSE DESIGN COLLECTION”  you can buy it online Payment details are shared below. Currently shipping is restricted to Singapore, India and a few other countries. Please let us know your country of residence and we will see if it’s possible to reach it to you.  If you want a daily wear piece you can browse through the “DAILIES” collection, if you like anything from the library, we can custom make something similar for you, if not, we design to your specifications.

Are all your designs available on the website?

No, my website will not have all my designs. I design my jewelry under various collections to cover all genres of design. The daily wear collection is called Dailies, the fun and gem rich collection is called GEM Eloquence, the classic and precious gem collection is called Timeless & Eternal, the wedding collection is called Magnificent&Grande, the other collections are simply stylish, fanciful filigree & Woven Opulence. There are 8 design collections, under which Jewelry is designed and classified, so as to enable you to make a choice, and enable me to understand what category of jewelry you are looking for customization or pick up. The mini library of designs, from all 8 collections will help you decide the styling you are looking for. However, if you are keen to go ahead, we can do a face to face meeting in person or virtual, so you can see more designs from my design bank, in the design category of your choice.

Can I make an appointment to see the jewellery in person before confirming my purchase?

Yes, if you are in Singapore and  the item you like is available in our  “ In house design collection”, then you can physically see before you make your purchase.

METAL RELATED FAQs

What metal choice do I have for my custom-made jewelry?

At Neelam Lara Designs, Custom made jewelry is primarily made in Gold and its various karatages. According to your preference, jewelry can be made in 22k ,18k,14k and 9k gold. K is an abbreviation for Karat implying the purity of gold. GOLD-22k gold [ Best suited for organic textured jewelry or if jewelry has minimal gemstone setting] 18 k gold [ Most jewelry at NLDesigns, is made in 18k, all uncut diamond jewelry is made in 18k only. 18 k gold is maleable and perfect for setting gemstones, it is a combination of 75% pure gold and 25% alloy] 14k gold [It is an appropriate metal for diamond /gemstone setting. If you want more affordable jewelry, or you want the gold colour to be less flashy, you can reduce the purity of gold to 14k. 9k gold [ Generally preferred over silver, as it does not tarnish like silver does, and it is affordable, as the gold purity is much lower, 37.5% is pure gold, rest 62.5% is alloy} Combination of metals- Sometimes, we offer designs in a combination of metals to suit customer design or requirement. Generally, we use a mix of silver and 14k/18k gold. SILVER – very rarely do we make a piece of jewelry in Silver alone. We will generally do silver with a mix of gold. Silver tarnishes over time, hence its is not an appropriate metal choice for formal or expensive gemstone studded jewelry. At rare occasions we have made exceptions, and made jewelry in silver, to please the regular customer. PLATINUM- It is a heavy metal and very expensive. Generally, Solitaire rings, earrings, and pendant are made in platinum at customer request.

Can you explain the different karatages of gold. What is the difference between karat and carat?

Karat is a unit used to measure the purity of gold. Carat is a unit to measure the weight of diamonds and gemstones. Gold can be made available in various purities or Karatages .  24k gold is 99.95% pure. [Gold is in its purest form] 18 k gold is 75 %pure gold with 25 % alloys, [alloys can be a mixture of silver, copper or zinc] 14k gold is 58.33% pure gold with 41 .67% alloys. 9k gold is 37.5% pure gold with  62.5% alloys.

What is Rhodium plating? How long does it last? Is it safe for my skin?

Rhodium is a precious metal from the Platinum family, it is silver hued, highly reflective and does not corrode or tarnish. Rhodium is plated using an electroplating process.  It means plating, or layering the metal surface [.75-1micron thick] to give a shiny white appearance and to safeguard the surface against scratches. It increases the shine, lustre and and durability of the piece of jewelry. Its most commonly done on white gold to give an even white appearance, or on silver to give a shiny appearance. Sometimes diamond colets on yellow gold jewelry is also rhodium plated, to enhance the brilliance of the diamonds. Since it is plating, or surface treatment, it will wear off over time, revealing the underlying natural yellow or whitegold colour. Depending on how often you wear the piece, and how much wear and tear it undergoes, it may need to be plated every few years. Daily wear jewelry may need plating more often, while occasion wear jewelry retains the rhodium finish for many years. Yes, Rhodium plating is safe, as it is hypoallergenic, Rhodium does not contain any allergens such as nickel, which creates allergic reactions to the skin.

GEMSTONE RELATED FAQs

What are the 4 Cs in a diamond, is it applicable to coloured gemstone?

Diamonds are created by tremendous heat and pressure deep within the Earth. This complete organic process can take millions of years during which a diamond is subjected to different conditions leading to different colours, size, external and internal blemishes and inclusions. Until the middle of the 20th century there was no standard for judging diamond quality. The Gemmological institute of America [GIA], created the first and now universally accepted standard for judging a diamond quality, by categorizing a diamond based on its COLOUR, CLARITY, CUT, CARAT WEIGHT. The creation of the 4 Cs allowed the diamond quality to be communicated in a universal language allowing customers to buy according to their preference of colour vs clarity, cut, carat weight. COLOUR- The GIA,Diamond colour scale starts at letter D and goes all the way to Z. D-devoid of colour [colourless], E-F, extremely slight tint, G-J-slight tint, K-M- noticeable tint ,N-W- obvious tint.          X-Y, faint fancy, Z -fancy colour. The colour less diamond  [D] is most valuable, however most commonly, diamonds occur in slight yellow brown or grey tint. When a diamond has enough intensity of colour to become attractive, or has a distict colour, yellow, brown, pink, red  or blue, it is classified as fancy coloured diamond[Z].The most rare being Red, Blue and Pink. CLARITY- Clarity is also known as purity. Most diamonds contain internal inclusions or surface blemishes.  Each diamond is unique, like a fingerprint, their internal characteristics differ in size, shape and quantity. Diamonds with very few internal characteristics are deemed to be of higher clarity, ranging from Flawless,[F ],Very very slightly Incuded, [VVS1, VVS2,] to [VS1, VS2,] to slightly included [SI1,SI2, ]to being Included [I].The higher the clarity the more expensive the diamond  gets. CUT A diamond’s brilliance is largely determined by its Cut. An ideal cut diamond with perfectly symmetrical and alligned facets will reflect light beautifully, creating maximum,” Life” and “Fire” leading to unparallel brilliance. Cut relates to 2 particular areas- Shape and Make, consisting of dimensions and proptions. The most populare cutting type is the Brilliant cut, which is identified by having, triangular and kite shaped facets, which tend to radiate out from the centre of the gemstone. Less common facetting styles include “Step cut” and “Mixed cut.” CARAT WEIGHT In ancient times, the carob seed was used as reference for weight. This lead to the word Carat, the unit of weight we use today. The metric carat is defined as 200 milligrams, [or 1 gm is equivalent to 5 carat]. All Gemstones are sold “per carat” When documenting the word carat is written as ct.Great precision is involved and weight is noted up to the hundredth unit[.01] at all times, eg. .95cts Due to rarity of larger sizes, it is usual to find that per carat prices does not increase proptionally to size. A 2 ct diamond will cost substantially more than twice the size of one carat. The 4Cs are not applicable to colored gemstones. Colour is the most important aspect in a coloured gem.

What is a synthetic diamond or gemstone? What is difference between synthetic Diamond and Diamond simulant?

A Synthetic Diamond or Gemstone, is that which is reproduced by man, in a laboratory using artificial process. They possess the same optical, chemical and physical properties as naturally occuring diamonds or gemstones. A Diamond Simulant is any colourless, transparent gem material which looks similar in appearance to a diamond. Sometimes the resemblance is very convicing and confuses the end consumer. However, the optical, chemical and physical properties of a diamond simulant are very different from naturally occurring diamonds.