I had a very interesting conversation the other day with a prospective client through Instagram. She was interested in a ring I have available that is one-of-a-kind. The ring she liked can only be sized down or up, in quarters, one whole size. The reason being is due to the intricate design. Sizing it any more or less would cause the ring to no longer be structurally sound. With the price point, I gave the option of rebuilding the ring for her in her size. Since our conversation I have added this option to some of the pieces on my website that have more intricacy.
A designer can always recreate a piece, or a similar one, over and over...it doesn't have to do with talent. A supplier of mine can have a sapphire stone, for example, in the same exact size and shape that I can purchase over and over again. However, it is my choice whether or not I want to create a design that gets replicated, like in an everyday collection. At times a low supply on a particular type of stone might lead me to decide to make one piece and leave it as such. There are some gemstones I had my eyes on over the years, thinking they would always be available, only to see them get discontinued. It would make me look unprofessional if I received an order and then came back saying I can't make it. A stone that is only available once, or has a shape and/or size I can only get once, would be one-of-a-kind. I just ordered three pairs of salt and pepper diamonds to make simple stud earrings out of. Yes, the stones matched each other, but I will never be able to order them in the same size and shape ever again. Each pair of earrings will end up being one-of-a-kind because of the stones being unique in this way.
That word..."unique"...many people consider this word to be synonymous with "one-of-a-kind". As I explained above, it all depends on the circumstances as to why a piece is placed under the category of one-of-a-kind. A design can be unique, as it has never been created by anyone else before, but that doesn't make it one-of-a-kind. I can design a custom piece of jewelry for a client. In that piece there may not be anything one-of-a-kind about the stones that I use, however, what makes the piece one-of-a-kind is the design is unique to them and is all their own...it will not be replicated.