What is the true cost of jewellery?
A client asked me the other day why an 8ct diamond tennis bracelet from my website cost £14,000 and a comparable one at a high end boutique cost £40,000. Why was the Gemma de Chamarel one much more affordable than a well known high end brand and which one was better? Do you get a better tennis bracelet if you pay more? The answer is not necessarily!
To make a fair comparison, the diamond quality, carat size and number of stones and setting metal has to be the same.
I will address it starting with the most tangible of variables.
1) The Diamond - quality, carat weight and number of stones
The diamond market is very regulated with far stricter grading parameters than the sapphire market, for example.
A diamond that is G colour, VS quality and has excellent cut, symmetry and polish will give you the same quality of diamond regardless of where you buy it.
The carat weight - this is a unit of measurement for the physical weight of the diamond. 1ct equals 0.200g
2) Diamond Price
If the quality of the diamond is the same, is the price the same? Arguably the multi national companies have a greater buying power, so the price of the diamond could be lower.
A wonderful, skilled goldsmith is worth their weight in gold (no pun intended!), so this is probably a similar cost.
Now that we have discussed the costs for the actual jewellery piece, we come to the other factors which influence the price tag. There are a number of parameters that influence the price making one more affordable than the other.
4) In store experience
The real estate, shop fitting and personnel costs of the beautiful high end stores is phenomenal. The big houses will have to factor these into the price of the bracelet.
5) Marketing and Advertising
This is also a substantial cost to the high end brands. For example, a smallish advertising campaign in the UK alone could easily be in the £1m region. Again, these behind the scene costs have to be factored in.
Now comes the more intangible aspects.
To some people, the desire to own a piece of jewellery from a particular brand is paramount. It is hard to put a value on this (apart from the marketing and advertising budget). Aspirational Brand ambassadors play a vital role in stoking that fire with glamorous photos on the red carpet. How much you are prepared to pay for this is such a personal choice. For some people the desire to own something from that brand is as important, if not more important, than the actual piece of jewellery. For other people, it is about the piece of jewellery and the personal touch of the jeweller.
A small atelier, like mine, doesn’t have to factor in the substantial costs of stores, personel, advertising, marketing etc, so the majority of the cost of the bracelet comes from the actual diamonds and goldsmithing and does not have to include these considerable costs into the price of the tennis bracelet. Whilst I do not have an in store presence and a marketing budget, I do have several years of GIA training and the personal touch to ensure that you buy your perfect piece of jewellery, whether it be a ready to wear piece or a bespoke piece. Working together on the design of a bespoke and special piece of jewellery is a truly memorable experience. It will result in a wonderfully personal piece of jewellery.
So in conclusion, although the piece of jewellery may be comparable, the difference in price comes from the brand experience.