The discussion about this chrysoprase ring recalled a feeling I’ve
been having lately about jewelry purchasing and how we in the trade
are doing ourselves a disservice. I sell some jewelry at a local
crafts center. The manager there has been pointing out to me that
my prices on various jewelry is in her estimation too high and
showing me how gold should be more than silver and what stones have
greater value. The typical stuff. But it occurred to me that there
really are not too many other crafts or productions in which the
cost of raw materials enters into the final price of the finished
product. Maybe houses and cars. Since I used to carve wood, I
remember that no one ever thought to wonder what I’d paid for my
logs. How many people consider the cost of the clay and glazes in
pottery? Does a purchaser of Van Gogh consider the value of the
paint and canvas?
For that matter, does anyone decide a computer purchase based on the
value of the materials that go into it, denser plastic? What is the
relative resale value of a plum tomato versus a cherry tomato?
On this Independence Day, I’d like us to consider declaring
independence from the yoke we jewery-folks and lapidary artists wear
and that we’ve taken on willing . Let’s look at the artistry equally
as much or more than the perceived intrinsic value of the materials.
Let’s treat what we do more like other arts or commodities. The
value of a piece of jewelry is how it makes the wearer feel while
wearing it. The resale value should be secondary. If it’s beautiful
and there is excellent workmanship in it, it’s worth the price. I
ask you all to hold your fists in the air and denounce the tyranny or
Unless of course you do appraisals for a living. Ah well.