Thursday, April 30, 2009

My shopping bag from Tucson

Here is some of the goods we bought in Tucson  last February.

I want to give you a sneak peek of a small jewelry designer's life. Above  is a chunk of almandine garnet strands...around 30 strands of 16 inches average. The beads size is 3-4 mm smooth round and from my design point it calls me to make a fabulous multi strand necklace, knotted and finished with a fabulous can be a single with hidden multi strand rings or a vintage like 3 rings clasp that can be placed off center on the  neck.  Since there are so many strands I will not knotted between every beads but I will do it every 5 beads..something that I 've learned to call it "safety knots" BUT still it will requires you lots of labor time. If the holes are consistent I can use a carded silk # 3 and bead tips at the ends so I will not have to put more time on enlarging holes and drilling 6 beads of each strand to finish on a classic way.
So, safety knots, bead tips and # 3 carded silk..that's all I need. OK! 

But let's imagine that I have this fabulous desire of adding some of the Crystallized™ Swarovski Elements in fuchsia AB(4mm) or purple velvet ... sprinkling beads here and there to catch more light and add lots of possess to it. Once I have my clasp attached to all the individually knotted strands, is time to price it. So, now what do you think should be fair?

The least expensive quote for knotting is U$ 1 an inch...since I am not knotting every bead so I think $ .50 is lets put the numbers together to figure out(poorly) the cost of it:

25 strands of garnet - $ 187.50 ( each strand $ 7.50( wholesale cause the retailed is dbl)    +
Clasp - $ 25.00 ( a nice in gold filled or sterling silver, maybe vintage like glass pressed one) +
Knotting - $  200.00 ( $ 8.00 for each strand)+
Crystallized - $ 15.00 (roughly imaging that I got 20 beads only) +
Other findings - $ 5.00 ( bead tips carded silk and stringing glue (just dabs of it) +
labor, taxes, designing element - Lord have mercy! ( ? )
Total: U$ 432.50 ( without adding the last items)  

Now comes the time to price your fabulous and unique necklace for  selling to a fabulous and confident woman who understands your design quality....huahuahua

Hypothetically I would like to sell this necklace for  U$ 840.00 BUT the reality is

1- It might take me forever to sell it
2- Competition is huge and everybody is making jewelry these days PLUS the Chinese.
3- Who cares for unique and one of a kind piece anymore?!
4- Design quality??? Oh  many people would say:
"Its JUST a bunch of strand of garnets put together. I can buy it and do it just like that and it will not cost me that much.

Well, these days I think if I could sell it for U$ 600.00 it'd be great.
And remember, I bought it in Tucson. I traveled to Tucson and I spent money with food  and hotel  and my time to shop. Those expenses were not considered at all.

So pricing jewelry is something really hard and if you are planning to show to department stores, the first thing they want to know is the price point of your line. Buyers want big  and fabulous and fashionable look for cheap.  Unless you reach the rich ones is very hard to make it in jewelry nowadays. 

No, I wasn't thinking about winter colors when I grab all these... As matter of fact I don't have a jewelry collection based on anything...seasons, style, concept nor theme. No, I don't. I sell my jewelry mostly through private parties and those expose myself to all kinds of personalities. So, I do have a Bazaar of jewelry, an Indian Market, a Brazilian hippie trunk where you can find a little of all. I have my current collection on my website organized  by one season and one style. Besides that, I have not had a reason to show my jewelry in sections, nor themes, nor a concept. I have done that for customers but not for myself. 

So getting back to the above stones, I juts bought it  because W. and  our friend Katie Hacker told me that they would look really good with some stretching bracelets I 've been making for guys. The shape is very wrist friendly and I did like it. It did not cost me too much( 5 bucks each strand) and I don't even remember the name of it. It's sort of a dark blue almost black jasper or granite...serious! I think that many women have been wearing granites against their bodies lately..there is so many agates, jasper's and quartz out there that they look just like some Brazilian granite to me.

The last image is a pair of lemon topaz fat drops. I bought those specifically to make a pair of earrings for a customer. The drops are sold by carat and the quality is higher than the ones sold on strands. Still, you can see that in one side of the tag reads the carat amount and the other is the price by each drop. 
Again, when it comes to finish your product and mark it to sell,  the end user don't understand the value of it... because the customer expect to buy your jewelry at your home or at a somebody else house for a bargain. 

These days I make jewelry more accessible to all. How? Make changes, adding different elements, not using high carat stones, and using base metal. I only use sterling silver and gold filled with specific stones and cuts. Wood, Lucite, resin, base metal, cords, few crystals and lower grade stones make jewelry more saleable. I keep some precious metal and high quality stones for special cases or when a customer ask for only. 

As far as the fabulous almandine garnet necklace, I will post a picture of it once is ready.  And I will make it fabulous and expensive. Maybe Barbara Walters will see it and end up buying my whole trunk.

We can only wish for THE BEST !!! Always!!!


* almandine garnet and dark blue jasper : Wraps, Stones and Things - ( don't bother to spend time at their website - you need to catch them at a Show. None of the gemstones dealers have the best inventory online.. bs : )
But u can call 415 - 863 4953 and talk to Sanjay.. he is wonderful!

* lemon topaz briolettes: 
Divinity Imports - ( u will need a special code to see all) 
very polite people. 

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