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What Goes Into The Cost Of Fine Jewellery

I've had quite a few people ask me this question and ask me why some things are cheaper than others when they appear to be the same.

I thought this would be the best way to answer it. I wanted to go through what makes up the price for fine Jewellery and also explain the cost a little. I wanted to be brutally honest because people are usually left in the dark regarding this point. When people are comparing Jewellery and especially Engagement Rings there are quite a few things to consider...

I recently had someone ask me for a quote on a custom made item. I try to always ask people if they have a budget or a price range in mind. (Most Jewellers ask this in order to get a place to start - it's not so we can charge you the max.) I often tell people that I would rather give you an option in your budget than come in $5,000 more than what you expected. This is so easy to do if we only have a little information to work from.

They told me to just give them a price and that they didn't really have a budget.

So I got some prices and options together and provided a price. They came back to me and said they could get it a second hand site cheaper...

Well...of course you can. You are just paying for raw materials. Not all the polishing,setting and labour that goes with it. To add to this the item was pre-made and pre-worn. Not brand new and custom made. It was upon later inspection that it was noticed the stones were smaller than what I was quoting. It makes a huge difference to the price what size, colour and clarity are used. If there is 1ct in side stones and one quote is 5 x 0.25cts compared with 100 x 0.01cts, the 0.25ct Diamonds will cost a great deal more although there will be more work involved setting 100 stones. 

There was also no Valuation, so there was really no way of knowing if the item really was what was being advertised. 

Behind buying a house and a car usually Jewellery is the next biggest purchase. Yes the materials are expensive but it also takes a long time to come together, as it does with a house and car...anything of value does take time. 

Jewellers need to set by hand. Anything that is done by hand will take time. So after making lets use a ring in this scenario... the diamonds need to be set. To set a diamond it can take anywhere from 15 minutes up to a few hours depending on how complicated the setting is. The more stones, the more time. Then comes the polishing and keep in mind these skills need to be learned and perfected. Most apprentices will only be watching and polishing their first year. Becoming a master setter takes years and years. They earn this title because they can set things quicker and easier and in settings that make other setters nervous.  

Its hard to think about what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to make one Engagement Ring come together, especially looking at something ready made and looking gorgeous in a window. Its a huge amount of work. When I look at a diamond necklace that has hundreds of diamonds of all shapes and sizes, I often think about the guy at the bench setting each and every one of those stones and how he must feel after setting the last one. 

This is why it is so important to remember that Jewellery is expensive because of the time and materials involved. Unfortunately once they become a second hand item the costs for labour are just wiped off the price. Often the prices for raw material are discounted because the reseller never had to purchase them and pay the appropriate taxes that were involved initially. 

Which ever way you decide to go with your very important purchase you should be able to ask your Jeweller all these questions and be assured with what you're buying. Buying an Engagement Ring especially is such a special occasion, it should be a fun and exciting time so enjoy it and make sure you have covered all your bases.

- Is the price right for me?

- Is it something I can look at again in 10 years and still be in love with?

If you can say yes to both those questions you're on the right track!!!

- Gabrielle