This always gives me pause for thought. I don’t mean the kind of gold and diamond bling I see in Luk Fook every time I wander through Central Hong Kong; no I mean the prices I see whenever I browse through the shops on Etsy and Artfire and other homes for hand-made artisan created one-off stuff. I often take a look through the jewelry shops not just through intrinsic interest, but also because I like to see what kinds of colours and cuts people are using, and I am constantly amazed by the low prices that so many artisans place on their work. Not everyone, of course, but there are an awful lot of people offering hand-made jewelry for insanely low prices. Can someone explain this to me? I can’t understand how these artisans are even covering their costs, let alone their time. I suspect that it is in many ways a function of sites like Etsy (and that it is not just jewelry that is prone to this kind of competitive undercutting); great though they are for establishing yourself and getting known, when you are in the same cyber space as many other people in the same business as you, there is constant downwards pressure on prices. I do know that pressure; I felt it myself at first, until I realised that if your only USP is price, then someone will always undercut you. Pricing is difficult and it is a brave thing, sometimes, to price at something’s true value, but I know that if I am buying jewelry, I buy things I fall in love with. Price is always a consideration of course (I love the Koh-i-noor diamond; it won’t be in my collection anytime soon!) but not the most important one. Anyway, I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, I just think it’s an interesting issue, and I would love to hear some designers’ views.
About Julia Aufenast
I am a Hong Kong based professional gemstone supplier and GIA graduate gemologist. I specialise in rose cut cabochons as well as standard cabochons, and I have a carefully nurtured reputation for high quality. Currently I carry mainly semi-precious stones and I also have a range of pearls in white and natural colours; strings and half-drilled, round and keshi. This blog is attached to my website - www.joopygems.com - and is where you'll find information about new arrivals in my shop, discounts and offers, as well as an opportunity to leave comments and feedback.