I do a lot of custom work, and these pictures illustrate the 'sketch' I show my customers when designing the pieces, and also the finished product.
Most things start out as a raw brass vintage component. They are then soldered, drilled shaped, hammered, trimmed or whatever they need doing to manipulate them into what I need them to be. The pieces are then fully assembled and sent away to be plated as a whole piece, including the beads! I like to do it this way because the finish is beautiful, and the surface perfect. I never use pre assembled pieces or pre-plated pieces and simply assemble together. After the pieces are back from the platers, I set every pearl and rhinestone by hand. Its very intricate work!