If you've been shopping for fine jewelry, you’ve probably noticed there can be quite a difference in jewelry pricing from shop to shop. But why? Is there really that much of a difference? In short, yes.
In addition to the price of the center stone, it is important to consider who is making the jewelry, how it is made, and what materials are used. The more you know about how prices are set, the easier it will be to make an informed decision when comparing ring prices. We want to help you feel informed and educated on some of the ‘whys’ of pricing.
Special Orders and Customization
One of the most important value adds when buying from a custom jeweler like EC Design Jewelry, versus a mass retailer, is the ability to customize your ring to suit your style.
Working directly with an artist who can create and modify jewelry to your specifications means you will get exactly what you want. If you need a little guidance in determining what would work best for you, our skilled artisans will work with you to design what is best for your lifestyle.
Quality and quantity count. Materials are one of the key factors when calculating the cost of jewelry. First up, quality metal. Precious metals can be costly, depending on market prices. To reduce cost some manufacturers may cut precious metals with lesser metals. Alternatively, jewelry may be made of lesser metals and subsequently plated with precious metals. Inexpensive jewelry that contains lesser metals, such as nickel, can cause issues ranging from discoloration of the skin to mild rashes, and on occasion can cause more severe allergic reactions. When in doubt, it is best to buy jewelry made of quality metal. This is especially true when gifting because you may inadvertently cause an allergic reaction for the lucky recipient...who wouldn’t be so lucky at that point.
Quantity also matters. Thin bands and weak settings, while less expensive, tend to be easily damaged and can break down with regular wear. Damaged bands and settings are not only visually unappealing, they will also require repair (thus increasing overall cost) and are more likely to result in loose stones that may become lost over time. And no one wants to lose diamonds!
Pro-tip: If you are purchasing online, make sure you find out what the ring band dimensions are if they are not listed. We do not recommend bands thinner than 1.5mm for everyday rings, like engagement rings, as they may not be durable enough to withstand regular wear and tear.
What about the star of the show? It is often (mistakenly) thought that the cost of a gemstone is determined by color, clarity, and carat size. While those characteristics do matter, sourcing also has a direct impact on stone pricing.
Some gemstones are mined in regions where environmental and worker protection policies are substandard and as a result stones can be sold at lower prices. Ensuring gemstones are responsibly sourced is the ethical thing to do, but it isn't always the cheapest thing to do.
EC Design Jewelry prides itself on working with responsibly sourced stones, conflict-free diamonds and recycled metals.
Read more about stones on our Diamond Guide: Natural vs Lab-grown
Artisan Craftsmanship vs. Mass Production
Another way retailers are able to offer jewelry at a lower price point is through the use of computer-aided design (CAD) and/or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CAD and CAM can reduce costs by automating design and production processes. Casting is also commonly used in mass production. Casting involves filling molds with molten metal, and allows a single manufacturer to produce a high volume of standardized components.
Handmade, hand fabricated jewelry is just that, made by hand. When you purchase a handmade piece of jewelry from EC Design Jewelry, you are reaping the rewards of Emily’s years of experience and her love of metalsmithing. Our jewelry is handcrafted using heat, hand tools, and creativity. Artists like Emily that specialize in handmade, custom jewelry create their works from raw materials, so each piece is unique. Making one-of-a-kind jewelry takes time and expertise, but it's worth it.
A lot goes into determining the cost of a piece of jewelry. While the price of handmade jewelry may be higher than mass produced jewelry, the value is tangible. Don’t get us wrong, there is a place for all types of jewelry and we love fun, funky, cost effective, costume pieces as much as the next jewelry lover! However, if you are looking for a piece that will stand the test of time and look beautiful for years to come, handmade/hand fabricated is the way to go.
If you find what appears to be a comparable piece at a substantially lower price point, you may want to ask the age-old question…’Why?’
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