The Price of Mass-Produced Jewelry — Part 4

What are You Getting When You Purchase?

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

  • Coco Chanel

Do You Want Quality or The Right Price?

Fine Jewelry in RaleighIt’s the perception of many people that when they find two comparable pieces in a jewelry store — similar designs, materials, and carats — with prices that differ up to hundreds or thousands of dollars, they’re getting a deal when they purchase the lower price piece. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

To be fair, that is how many products retail these days. Many consumers research their products before they make large purchases. It’s not uncommon for a customer to walk into an electronics store to check the prices of a particular tv and either check competitor’s prices on their smartphone or walk out with a comparable item that’s cheaper than their original item. However, to apply this purchasing strategy to jewelry is to misunderstand the jewelry industry altogether.

Suppose that a fine jewelry store produces a mounting for a diamond solitaire engagement ring. The work that the master bench jeweler did to produce just the mounting (plus the cost of materials) is $3,500. A mass-produced version could be a tenth of that price.

Knock-Off or Bespoke: Do You Know What You’re Getting?

You can always go out and get a knock-off version of a very fine couch you saw in a high-end furniture store by going to a bargain box store — the bargain stores count on your frugality. However, because the bargain couch was built to match a low price point, the quality of that piece will start to show itself quickly. The cushions will start to fray, the finish will wear easily, or worst of all, perhaps the frame could bend or break with even light use.

The same issue of quality holds true with fine jewelry: a newly engaged couple might think that they’re getting a great deal when they get a “comparable” engagement ring for thousands less, but which out of the four qualities are they losing out on in order to achieve that price?

The price cut could simply be lower quality stones, but what about the mounting and setting? A poorly made and set ring will cost less money and will potentially still look beautiful but is more likely to fall apart over time due to wear and tear. Whatever was neglected or compromised in the construction of the ring will start to show itself.

The ultimate point is that you, the client, understand what you’re getting when you make a purchase at your jewelry store. There’s nothing wrong with a mass-produced ring if you like it or the price is right.

That being said, you should understand what it is that you’re getting when you make your purchase – you can’t expect to get the fine quality that’s inherent in the more expensive, better-made ring to be there in the less expensive, mass-produced one. Without understanding what goes into the quality and cost of a piece of jewelry, the appearance and availability of the jewelry in the case can be quite misleading.

To read more about what affects the quality of a piece of jewelry, read part five of our series here, or read the first partsecond part, or third part. To learn more about the quality of your jewelry, contact Haydon & Company by calling 919-781-1293 or filling out our form.