The Price of Mass Produced Jewelry

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

— Coco Chanel

Not that long ago, there were just a handful of jewelers in Raleigh — today there are well in excess of 100. Jewelry is readily available in malls, shopping centers, online, and many other places. As bright and shiny as every piece is when you view them in a jeweler’s case, the differences in price can be confusing. When you start to evaluate and compare prices, you can see that they range from high to low — why is that, exactly?

The Four Qualities of a Fine Piece of Jewelry

There are four fundamental qualities that affect the cost of a piece of jewelry: the quality of the stone(s), the quality of the mounting, how well the stone(s) have been set in the mounting, and the paperwork that can substantiate the piece of jewelry. The final price is determined by the combination of these four qualities, which means that for two allegedly similar pieces of jewelry to have two different prices, one of these four qualities must be compromised in the lower-priced piece.

For example, stone quality can range from high to low. The quality of the mounting can go from a very fine hand-made setting to a mass-produced setting. The setting quality can be anywhere from the best possible setting made by a double master bench jeweler to a setting done in a mass-production factory by a setter who is paid to set as many stones as possible during a work day.

In other words, somewhere in the production of these two different pieces of jewelry, quality has been sacrificed in order to achieve a lower price point.

What Factors into Jewelry Prices?

When you see two different prices for what seem to be similar pieces, that’s where you begin to see this combination of quality factors come in. In order for the price to be lower, something has been stolen from one of the four factors. Either the stones are low quality, the setting is mass-produced, the stones were set in a factory, there’s no paperwork for the piece, or a combination of two or more of these realities will dramatically bring down the price — and the quality of that piece of jewelry, too.

So, the question you should be asking yourself — and the jeweler — when you see that lower price for a piece of jewelry is: what has been done or not been done in order to achieve this price?

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