Wednesday, August 03, 2011

GS: It's Worth Whhhaaatttt?

This morning I was up at 4AM with an itchy pup (poor Jupiter got attacked by mosquitoes on a hike the other day) and I thought I would just flip through a few of my favorite sites and see if there was anything new. As I clicked on Etsy, I spotted a giant green stone ring for $50 in the 'Handpicked Items" on the front page...

So, I clicked on the listing to see the materials/information:

The size of the cabochon is 0.7 inches (18 mm).
This ring is adjustable.

► It´s made with great quality materials, I only buy from official suppliers of Swarovski components for my work."

I have a few questions/concerns.

First off, that's not a cabochon... it's an emerald/octagon cut faceted crystal.
Second, if this is made out of sterling silver & Swarovski crystal, how is it only $50?

Since I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't really get work done at 4AM because I would have woken up Sal, why not research the materials and pricing.

So, I started with the setting, and I found a similar sterling silver setting on one of my vendor's sites for $22.00, with a bulk price of $18 for a dozen or more. The one I found is probably a bit heavier, so I will guess this Etsyer got theirs for around $15 each.

Next I moved onto the HUGE Swarovski crystal. I checked out the site of one of the largest jewelry supplier in the country. The largest emerald/octagon cut Swarovski was an 8x10 mm and was $32! Wait! What? Now even if they bought 144+, the bulk price is still $25.25 each, and this is still way too small! I can't even find 18mm Swarovski emerald crystals, so let's just toss out a ballpark price of $30 each for bulk pricing of these.

So, that's $15 for the silver setting and $30 for the stone. And don't forget, there's packaging, so add another $1.00. So we're totaling $46. And they are charging $50. A $4 profit? Really? Oh, and don't forget that while these are made from 2 pieces to assemble, so there is some minor labor, I'm still shocked that there is only a $4 profit to be made.

If we want to take this one step further, the average salary for a bench jeweler is about $20-40k/year (depending on if it's a mom & pop shop or a larger named jeweler), so it would take selling 5,000 of these to these to just barely make a living. Which leads me to believe this is a side business and makes them on the couch while watching tv after work.

But this is the kind of jewelry that is forcing me close my shop. How can I compete with that pricing? This is a full time career for me, and I cannot make $4 profit on pieces (even thought there have been plenty of times I have lost money on jobs.) But this is what people are looking for... bargains.

So, for my final thought, if she's being honest about all of her materials, it's an incredible deal, go grab one. It's just too bad that she has to under price by so much that it reflects poorly on jewelers that are fighting to make a living. And... if this person is anything like me... they will probably burn out really quickly by saying their time is only worth $4.


Laura P said...

Isn't it much more likely that this etsy seller bought these in bulk from a foreign seller pre-fabricated? That's what I see when I look at it.

tracey said...

Possibly... but I was trying to give this person the benefit of the doubt.

Simplyme :) said...

Hi.. I like the ring. Can this be a wedding engagement ring? I'm thinking..

Wedding Bands Melbourne

chicklet said...

This really upsets me about Etsy, so many supposedly handmade items on the site are obviously bought in bulk from Chinese wholesalers/ factories. How do I know? My day job is admin for a company that supply various UK high street chains with cheap Chinese made fast fashion jewellery. In many cases I even recognise items from factories I have visited listed on Etsy as handmade! As high street retailers are happy to flood their stores with underpriced, bad quality, souless trash it is even more important that etsy should be a place where buyers can be confident that they are buying something unique and made with passion for originality of design. Etsy need to wise up and start policing their site! Please don't get disheartened Tracey, you have a unique talent for jewellery design and creating beautiful, one of a kind pieces and there will always be a market for that.

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