This isn’t an easy question. Jewelry pricing is often a mystery even to those of us who have been in the trade for years. It’s easy to see why. While some components of pricing, e.g., the materials used in the jewelry, are usually a straightforward mark-up, some components aren’t quite as straightforward.
As a good example, many jewelry designers tack on a “design” fee. What that fee is and how they arrive at it is anybody’s guess.
In another example, sometimes popular gemstones, for example, turquoise, are marked up to an educated guess on what the market will bear.
The best advice is to develop your own formula and then stick to it. Here are some guidelines that will help you begin to think through pricing.
Basic Pricing Information
- Raw materials – Raw materials, that is, unfinished jewelry components such as beads and pearls are usually marked up between 3 and 5 times, sometimes more, the price the manufacturer paid for them.
- Finished elements – Necklace clasps and other findings are finished components used to manufacture jewelry. These are marked up between two and three times.
- Labor – A labor fee – the time it takes to complete the piece by a professional — is added to the final price.
- Overhead – A fee for overhead is often included in the final price.
When I ran the gallery, only two or three clients ever complained about my prices. Most considered the prices fair and even on the low side.
This was not deliberate although I admit to being horrified at some of the prices charged by high end department stores for mediocre gemstones and jewelry. (But perhaps I’m a little naive.)
When I started making jewelry for sale, I developed my own pricing formula and then I stuck to it. I ignored popularity spurts, as for example, when amber became briefly very popular and again when the turquoise craze came along. In other words, I didn’t use current interest in one material or another to raise prices.
Perhaps I left a little money on the table, but the approach worked for me. You’ll need to develop your own approach.