My fiancé does not come from the jewelry industry, so she always asks me questions that I seem to have forgotten over the years.
When I posted my last blog, she asked me “ How should or could a layperson resist or understand the value differences? What if all they can afford is $300, etc?” I’ve always said I believe there are several kinds of jewelry. There’s fashion jewelry for the latest trends.
Then there are several qualities of “Fine Jewelry”, there is nothing wrong with any of them as long you understand some will last much longer than others.
First, I think there is jewelry that will last 2 to 5 years. It’s what you see in department store discount cases, online at websites offering extremely low pricing and in chain stores offering 50%, 75% a and ridiculous discounts. The jewelry is mass produced overseas using lightweight, hollow mountings made from 10k gold or alloys created specifically to sell at low prices. Some of it can not even legally be stamped gold or platinum. Not to mention stores selling sterling silver engagement rings set with very low-quality diamonds. Folks, that stuff is not going to last. Don’t bother thinking it will, It will not
Jewelry that will last 5 to 10 years. In this level of jewelry, you can find some 14k gold, a little better diamonds but still fairly lightweight mountings. They use setting styles that are fast, efficient and done very cheaply overseas. These styles of setting will not hold up. If it’s easy to set a diamond, then it’s going to be easy for it to come out. Simple.
Jewelry for a lifetime. This jewelry will be well designed out of 14k, 18k gold, platinum, palladium etc. It has nice diamonds and gemstones, set with good-heavy prongs and beads or channels. I believe you don’t really see this type of jewelry discounted very much unless the retailer is truly trying to get rid of it because they have had it too long.
That brings up another thought,
something a lot of jewelers don’t like reference to but it’s true. All of the
parts of a piece of jewelry other than labor is basically commodities. We all
buy gold and diamonds from the same places, Just Google it. There is a little
discount for really large amounts but not that much. There are few core
suppliers. So how is some jewelry made so cheap?
Well, less gold(lightweight), crap diamonds and gemstones and cheap labor overseas. A manufacture may get a diamond set in some third world country or China for a few cents. Please don’t get caught in the invisible set diamond trap. There are a couple high quality manufacturers out there of this type of setting but most of it is just plain crap. The diamonds will fall out. Period. They really can’t be sized or repaired except by the original manufacturer. Most of the manufactures don’t stay around either so…forget them. The chain stores love them because they look big without a lot of dollars.
So, yeah, if $300 is what you can afford, that’s great get something that means a lot to you but do so with the knowledge it probably won’t last forever.
So why does custom cost so dang much? Well, I make one piece at a time just for you. I design it, make a 3d printed wax, cast it, set the stones, polish it, all just for you. One piece for one person. It’s not one of a thousand made by a sweatshop somewhere you can’t pronounce. It is going to be a solid ring, not hollow, diamonds as nice as you want. I’ll make here in my studio in Downingtown, PA.
Today, I offer complete custom jewelry design, diamonds, lab created diamonds, Moissanite, Colored gemstones. You name it.
I work online and locally here in Downingtown, PA. by appointment.