Putting A Price On Jewellery | Part One
Why is some fashion jewellery so expensive?
Why is our jewellery more expensive than others?
What’s the difference even though it looks the same?
After writing our last journal post Let’s Talk Metals and touching on the details and vagueness surrounding some terms (such as ‘gold plate’) in the fashion jewellery landscape, it’s inspired me to think big and try to answer what’s on many customers' minds when buying jewellery….
So, how do you put a price on jewellery?
I’m going to try and break down these components & what impacts our prices; while trying to shine some light on what you should look for when buying jewellery.
Firstly... Our jewellery.
All Flash is hand-made in small batches by our amazing skilled artisans in India. What this means is every single piece is made/finished by hand by one of our jewellers so each piece is unique.
It's made from ethically sourced 14k Vermeil. ‘Vermeil’ is a bit of a buzz word, but is something to become familiar with when shopping for jewellery… It's basically a benchmark for quality; in order to label a piece of jewellery 'Vermeil', you have to comply with certain US standards and it's these standards which differentiate the quality of Vermeil from just ‘gold plated’ jewellery.
These standards are:
It has to have a silver/sterling silver base, the Gold plate/overlay has to be thick - a minimum of 2.5 Micron and the gold used has to be 10k or higher.
We use a sterling silver base and a 14k gold overlay at a thickness of 2.5 - 4 Microns depending on the piece. We like to think of Vermeil as the next best thing to solid gold at an accessible price, as it ensures longevity and will last years and beyond.
An obvious starting point due to the value of precious metals ~ If the item is ‘plated’ it will have a base metal which makes up the majority of the piece.
Each metal has its own advantages and cons. They are sold on weight & precious metal costs more and have more value than, for example, stainless steel (a non-precious metal), so this will impact the price of the piece.
Also, something that impacts the prices is how these metals are sourced...
For example, we use only gold & silver which has been ethically sourced, mined and processed eg. correctly, safely, without harm and without taking advantage of the people doing so. Using only ethically sourced metals costs more and that, in turn, reflects in the final price. Also using recycled metals can impact the price. Ooo the variables!
When shopping for jewellery look for precious metals being used in the piece:
Common Precious metals:
Common Non-Precious metals
This week, I had a really great conversation with our sales agent, Ellen, about why some pieces in our new collection weigh more (so have more precious metal content) But are the same price as a lighter hollow style.. As we have just discussed metals, shouldn't the lighter one be cheaper? You would think so, but not necessarily... Here’s a great example of how design can impact the manufacturing process and in turn the price.
The Goldie Tube Bangle is the same price as a new style which is a Solid Bangle. They are the same size and shape. Even though the Goldie Bangle is lighter in weight, it’s technically harder to make than the solid version. So it costs more
Let’s roughly break down both manufacturing processes:
The Solid Bangle is created via a wax carving, this carving creates the mould. Molten sterling silver is poured into this mould to create a ‘cast’ of this complete piece. It’s tidied up by hand buffed, polished and plated. This is a reasonably fast and easy process to create exact multiples of a style.
The Goldie Bangle, on the other hand, is made from a lightweight hollow tube. This tube starters as a straight piece of pipe which is bent by hand into shape by one of our jewellers. This tube is more delicate to work with, it’s easier to dent, mark and create the incorrect shape, it also has to be soldered (joining end to end) and because of this process it takes more time, craftsmanship and potential waste (which we recycle) to produce, so this style costs more....
So when out shopping next, here's a few easy things to look out for….
Original Design! Supporting independent designers is best.
The weight of the item, how heavy is it? Keeping in mind silver is lighter than brass or stainless steel.
Look to see if there are any stamps imprinted in the style like 925 (Sterling silver) or 375 (9 karat gold) it’s a good sign that the piece is made from precious metals.
And lastly, look to see if the jump-rings and chains links are soldered, it is a great sign of good craftsmanship.
And that's Part One of Putting a Price on jewellery! I hope this has given you some helpful insight into the world of jewellery design ~ stay tuned for Part Two...
Just a side note: I have drawn on my years of experience in the metalwork & jewellery industries to provide the above information & opinions. These views/opinions are my own personal insight into this topic & are provided as only a tool to guide and assist and provide value to others.