Being nosy

I would not personally wear, or recommend that anyone wear, the
bitter fruit of sweatshop labor. It's just not pretty. 

Lee, my friend, I am totally with you on this. I want to ask a
question: people, how are the sales? If there is something in which I
do not believe, then it is certainly macro-economical data. The GNP
in the US is growing, but this doesn’t mean a thing. The real issues

  • for those who are not super rich anyway - are jobs and job
    security. In 3 years time, 2.7 million jobs got lost in the USA. It
    would be interesting to know how this effects the sale of jewelry. Do
    you sell less than, say, 3 years ago? How much less? Do you think
    that people substitute, for example, do they buy Sterling jewelry
    instead of gold these days? 10K instead of 14 or 18K? Do people buy
    more earrings instead of rings? Do they go back to traditional
    designs instead of more daring things? Basically, what is the
    behavior of the consumers towards jewelry these days? Best, Will
Basically, what is the behavior of the consumers towards jewelry
these days? 

Well, Will, I see a lot of difference. First, I was selling things
from $35 to $500 (silver or silver and titanium, mostly). Then, I
was selling only low-end things, under $100, with the most notable
exception often my fellow-artists. This year, even my perrenial
best-selling earrings (which I had stopped making out of boredom,
and brought back due to popular demand) didn’t move. They cost $48.
People would come into my booth and rave over them, say, “Oh, I just
LOVE these, oh they’re so great”, then not part with even $48. This
in affluent suburbs of Chicago.

Everyone I talk to says the same thing. A very well-known jeweler
(not on this forum, as far as I know) who is really an industry unto
himself, told me he used to do 9-10 shows a year, plus all his other
stuff, and now he does 19 to make the same money. So, if he and his
ilk are doubling their shows, the competition to even get in is
really fierce, and once you get there, you go home empty-handed.

But I’m not bitter. Just broke. Well, gotta go work,


I have several friends , Doctors, that have very fine jewelry,
excellent diamonds, gold, Rollex. But , because he and his wife lost
a lot of it through a hold up in Chicago, he now wears knock offs and
CZ’s , replicas of their real stuff, when they travel through out the
US and other places. Its easier to loose that kind of jewelry than
the real thing. What they had made is hard to tell from the real
thing. Even the gold bracelets are plated. He even has knock off
Rollex that he wears away from home.

All, Wearing knock-offs of fine jewelry is a form of self-delusion.
When you are traveling abroad, or in any major city for that matter,
ostentation of any kind is a magnet for dopers and other criminal
types. They loudly exclaim “mug me”. Assuming that thieves can tell
the real from the faux at a distance is an exercise in folly. And,
after all, the old world values of conspicuously displaying social
rank are superficial and pompous. Unfortunately, those of us who deal
in fine jewelry will have to consider the aforementioned realities
when we project our future business
possibilities…Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, Ca.

     Basically, what is the behavior of the consumers towards
jewelry these days? 

Hi Orchidians;

I’m a wholesale trade shop owner/operator, so I have limited
perspective on the retail end, but I’m absolutely buried in work.
Here’s what I’m busy with:

Retailers who can’t afford to go to the big trade shows and pick up
lines are going to gem shows, picking out good deals on loose stones,
and I’m making up inventory for them using these stones for cost of
labor plus any materials I add to the project.

Retailers who can’t afford competent in-house jewelers are having me
design and make their custom work for customers who have something
they are looking for specifically that they can’t find anywhere, or
they have an idea and I flesh it out for them and make it happen in
the form of a personalized article of jeweler.

Two Estate dealers are going through the scrap bins of retailers
picking up basket cases. And they are buying this stuff from other
dealers, everyone in the hopes of finding someone who can fix the
flaws in an otherwise valuable antique. I study these for the
feasibility of “resurrection” and refurbish them when possible and
cost effective. They, in turn, sell them at estate jewelry shows for
huge markups. I have one entire safe full of this stuff.

Endless repairs of sentimentally valued but fairly inexpensive
jewelry, or jewelry that is worn every day and is part of somebody’s
habit of getting dressed every morning, including worn bridal

Occasional custom and setting jobs from distant retailers, most of
whom are bench people themselves, usually stuff that’s dicey,
difficult, or just generally requiring very high skill level and
experience, and cases where their customers expect exceptional

I’ve made some very, very attractive production pieces, at price
points of $75-$300, and tried to move these at craft fairs. The
one-of-a-kind pieces sell occasionally, the production stuff sits and
gathers dust or one or two pieces sell over a weekend. I mean, I
thought this stuff was irresistible, especially at the price. Used
to be, I could never keep my own work in the cases, so I’m wondering
if I’m slipping.

I’m busy as hell, and just barely hanging on since I’m trying to
sustain a couple of jobs for some very capable and deserving
employees at wholesale prices. I’ve also been told, repeatedly, that
my prices are way too low, and this is probably right, but I’m in a
very depressed economy here in Central NY and I need my accounts to
stay in business.

David L. Huffman