FAQ's


Most of our custom pieces can take between 4-6 weeks for completion. We can do pieces in a shorter time frame, although we may have to make fewer and faster decisions between steps. We can take longer as well, depending on the project. Typically, after the initial design consultation, we estimate about two to four wax sessions and then we move on to metal and stone setting.

Our busiest times of the year are June/July/August for wedding season, and then late November and the month of December for the holidays. We recommend giving us as much time as possible during these times to complete your project.

Yes, due in part to Covid safety protocols, an appointment is now required. You are always welcome to drop by the shop and set up an appointment for later that same day if we have an opening or on another date. An appointment also allows us to sit down with you to discuss your project at length with no interruptions. 

There is no charge or design fee to make an appointment and we welcome you to call, text or stop by and set one up if you are curious about how we can help you!

It's a common misconception that custom-designed jewelry is expensive. While it is true that hand crafting a piece of jewelry is more expensive than mass-produced jewelry made in the thousands, you are purchasing directly from the manufacturer when you buy from us so there are no added fees. Many jewelry stores offering custom-designed jewelry send their work out, making the end result more expensive. We do most of our work in house, and do not charge “designer” fees, so the cost can be quite reasonable. There are no surprises here when it comes to costs, and we narrow down the pricing at your first design session. Every project is different and we will give you ballpark estimates and then a more specific price as the process moves forward.

The great thing about designing a piece with us is that we never nickel-and–dime our customers. We encourage our customers to let the design process work, meaning that we don’t charge for changes to the wax model, design time, stone setting fees, etc. Our system rewards the process of letting serendipity and evolution lead us to the perfect design, and we encourage changes in the design and wax model to make each piece truly unique.

We would love to meet with you for a free, no-obligation design appointment to talk about your project, and then help you figure out the costs involved. We think you will be pleasantly surprised!

We have designed jewelry for people all around the country and around the world. Thanks to email and texts, great digital photography, and insured shipping we are able to give you nearly the same custom-design attention as with our Seattle-area clients. We can discuss via email and phone much of the design and then we carve our wax models. We take multi-angled photos or videos of the wax with notes and then text or email those to you. Once you think the wax looks good, we will mail you the wax model for you to see in person. This way, you get to see the item in 3 dimensions and exactly what the piece will look like before we cast it in metal. Then, once approved, we cast the item, polish and set stones. We always ship the piece to you using registered insured shipping. If you do visit the Emerald City, come by and let us give your rings a clean and a polish and a chance for us to visit with you!

Here at Goldmine Design, we care about the planet and all of the people on it. We have used conflict-free gemstones and diamonds as well as recycled precious metals for many years, as it just makes sense. Our precious metals (18k white and yellow gold and platinum) are all 100% recycled from our refiner on the east coast and our platinum caster in Portland. They are committed to the environment and you can read more about that here: 

http://www.unitedpmr.com/environmental_commitment.php
https://www.hooverandstrong.com/harmony-at-hoover-and-strong

Our gemstones and diamonds suppliers also have a strong commitment to the environment and fair labor practices. Because diamonds and gemstones can pass through many hands before they arrive here at Goldmine Design, the industry has adopted some safeguards to make sure the chain of supply remains above board. We purchase our gemstones from small, independent supply houses that procure their rough directly from the miners in the country of origin. We use only suppliers that are highly regarded within the jewelry industry and belong to accredited gem trade associations. We do not purchase gems or diamonds “off the streets” and every gem we have we know who supplied it, and where they procured it. This accountability and chain of ownership is only possible in a small shop like ours, where we have built personal relationships with our suppliers, many of whom go back 30+ years. In fact, many of the new “conflict free” and “ethical gems” jewelry suppliers on the internet purchase from our suppliers, but only after we have first pick!

We absolutely encourage people to bring in old pieces they would like to recycle, re-use, or re-invent. We can reset gemstones, diamonds, and pearls into something new that suits your style and personality.

We can also put your old precious metals towards a new project, however we won’t remelt them into a new piece. Gold and platinum have different alloys, and even in a simple solitaire ring you can have up to three different alloys that make up that ring. If we mixed more than one type of alloy together, the casting quality will suffer. We have used the same 18k white, 18k yellow, and 14k rose gold alloy for the past 25 years because it is functional, casts and polishes well, and has proven to be durable. If we mix many metals together, we sacrifice the quality and potential durability of the item. In addition, when we make a piece of jewelry we use more metal for the pathways for the gold and the “button”, which will get cut off and recycled into the next casting. So instead, we will sell the old metal that you have to our refiner, and use our metal to make your piece. The value is the same either way, and we credit the highest rate in the industry for your old precious metals to put towards your project, and we itemize all items and discuss their value before moving forward.

We have, in some circumstances, used pieces of old jewelry for sentimental purposes in a new piece by adding them as design elements after the main piece is cast. They can form a smaller feature, the edges of a ring, or other creative parts of the design. We have also remodeled a piece of jewelry directly by adding or taking away parts of it to make something special for you.

We are always happy to show you different ways that this can be done at your design appointment and discuss all of the options before proceeding.

Yes! We love helping our customers take their old diamonds and other gemstones and turn them into a piece they will treasure and wear. We are happy to help evaluate any gemstones you may have and decide how they can be best featured in a new piece of jewelry. We do not charge a “setting fee” and feel that diamonds and gemstones should be liberated from old jewelry that is out of date or not your style, and made into something you can wear!

 And yes, we sell all types of gemstones, including diamonds, colored diamonds, sapphires, rubies, birthstones, pearls, drusies, agate, meteorite, tanzanite, coral, amber, fossilized dinosaur bone, and more. You name it, we can find it! We have developed a network of gemstone dealers over many years, all across the country and the world that each offer beautiful and unique gemstones. All of which are just a phone call away. Our industry works on a borrowing system, meaning that we can borrow in just what you are looking for, in a nice variety to choose from. We keep what we like, and return what we don’t. This enables us to basically have unlimited inventory, and we don’t have to try to sell you on what we happen to have in stock at the time. For example, if you are looking for a special sapphire, but aren’t 100% sure about what shape or color, we can borrow in a few stones of each and then you can make an informed decision.

With diamonds, it is especially important to choose these in person. We will borrow in a selection of diamonds and then spend time together looking at them under a high quality microscope so that you can see the inclusions for yourself while we help educate you to make the best choice. Just like a litter of puppies, the diamonds may have the same grade (pedigree) but there is one that is the best match for you!

One of the advantages of this borrowing system is that we purchase our stones one at a time. We pick the very best gemstone every time, rather than purchasing dozens or hundreds of stones at a time and having poor quality stones mixed in that we end up having to use.

We have years of experience working with high quality gemstones and know how to help you pick the right stone for your project, so let us know what you are looking for and we will find it for you!

Yes! In addition to our custom-designed pieces, we also have a lovely selection of stock jewelry for sale. In addition to designs by Cindi, we showcase jewelry made by long-time friends of Goldmine Design: Tina Baker, Barbara Gannis, Mary Elizabeth, Charlie Faddis, Mandy Faddis and the originator of Goldmine, John Winters. We have a wonderful selection of earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and gemstone strands for sale, as well as trays and trays of loose gemstones just ready for a new project, plus we host a gem sale twice a year. Curious about what we might have? Call, text or email us and describe what you are looking for and we will send high quality photos of pieces that fit that description. Or better yet, come down and check them out in person! We are always up to something.

This is one of the most common misconceptions we hear here at Goldmine, as well as one of the most common questions. We do work in titanium, but not tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is a heavy, dense metal that cannot be cut or polished here, and cannot be cut off of a finger in an emergency. The only way to remove a tungsten carbide ring is by breaking it off the finger.

Titanium is a lightweight durable metal that is hypoallergenic and yet soft enough for us to cut and create interesting patterns and designs on. The titanium we use is CP-2, which means Chemically Pure 2 on a scale of 1-5 (1 is softest, 5 hardest). We create many rings in titanium, from simple designs that can be turned on a lathe, to custom patterns that are carved on a milling machine that we built--you have multiple choices of design with titanium. Even though we don’t cast the titanium, we carve the designs directly into the metal and will still carve wax models for you so that you can see how your ideas and designs will look in three dimensions. We can hand engrave, set with small diamonds, and use other colors of metals as well with our custom titanium rings.

18k white gold is very durable, an alloy of 75% pure gold and 25% combination of nickel, copper, silver, and zinc. White gold is long lasting and holds its shine and shape well, and has a beautiful luster. It is wonderful for stone setting and can be easily modified or sized in the future. The distinct disadvantage of white gold lies primarily in its color. Gold comes out of the earth a deep yellow color, and although we can mix the gold with alloys to help it appear more white, it will never be white in color like silver or platinum. It will always have a slight creamy color to it, which some of our customers really love.

Most white gold jewelry that is mass-manufactured is rhodium plated before it leaves the factory. Rhodium plating is a coating that is electro-plated onto the white gold to give it a platinum-­white appearance. It will not chemically come off of the piece of jewelry with normal wear, but you can scratch past it with keys or on door handles, etc. You will likely notice this gradually as the tops of patterns, prongs, and the back of the ring start to “warm up” or look more yellow as the plating wears through. Then it is time for a re-polish and a re-rhodium plating. The downside to rhodium plating is maintenance, and many jewelry stores charge between $30-­60 to re-­plate a ring. Often people will re-­plate their rings every year or so. 

Platinum is a beautiful and durable metal, naturally white in color from the earth. The advantages of platinum lie in its durability and resistance to wear. Instead of scratching or wearing away, platinum just “moves” out of the way, and will hold a stone securely for many years. Prongs made in white gold will likely need to be rebuilt after 10-20 years of wear vs. 20-50 years with platinum. Platinum is also hypoallergenic, which is a great choice for those with nickel or other metal allergies.

Platinum is more expensive, more rare, more dense, and more pure than gold. Typically, platinum is alloyed from 90-95% pure metal, and since it is more dense, will weigh more than an exact same dimensional piece in gold. This is why it has a higher price tag than gold, but the durability of platinum is worth it in the long run for many pieces.

As you can see, there is no perfect metal for any piece; rather there are many factors that will help you decide the right metal for your project. We can discuss all of the options with you, and sometimes wait until the project takes shape before making a final decision.

Even thought we enjoy silver's beauty, we do not do silver work at Goldmine, with the exception of limited silver repairs. Silver is a relatively inexpensive metal and lacks both durability and hardness, making it less than desirable for jewelry that is meant to last a lifetime or more. We put a lot of effort and work in to our pieces, and prefer them to be in a metal that will stand the test of time and hold its value.

We do not offer appraisal services here at Goldmine. We prefer to send people to a third party appraiser who only does appraisals. This is to avoid any conflict of interest and to give you the most accurate valuation of your jewelry. Stores that offer “in store appraisals” are most often using those “appraisals” as a sales technique.You don’t want to over-pay and yet you don’t want to under-insure as well.

Locally we recommend Larry Azose of Gemological Consulting Services here in Seattle. He does appraisals by appointment Monday through Friday. Contact him at 206-624-3798 or visit his website at gemcsi.com.

When you have something appraised it is good to bring in any former appraisals or other documentation on the jewelry that you have. You can expect to pay about $160 for most appraisals.

Before the appraisal make sure your jewelry is clean and in good working order. You are welcome to bring your jewelry here for a cleaning and a check, or if you are not local, most jewelers offer a “clean and check” service. It is best to have the piece in as good of shape as possible for the appraisal.

We prefer to maintain jewelry that we have created for our customers, but if you are out of town a frequent visit to us or a trusted jeweler for a clean and check is also a good way to prevent losses. We recommend every 3-6 months, and it’s a great way to bring that sparkle back! You may not notice those prongs wearing down or a loose setting on your ring, so we will check over the whole piece and make sure it is in tip-top shape.

For more information about jewelry insurance and appraisals, please check out our in-depth article HERE.

Yes, we do some fine jewelry repairs. We can size rings, fix chains, repair earrings and more. The best thing to do is to bring the piece in to us so we can evaluate it.

We do not repair costume jewelry, watches, or larger items such as serving pieces, but can often recommend places that do. Because we are experiencing a backlog, we ask for 1-2 weeks for most of our repair jobs.

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