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Design Fee

Hi Nanz

In my 20 odd years of experience 9 out of 10 repairs estimated to
be over $750 were refused or a second opinion was sought. Most of
my custom design averaged between $3,500 and $10,000. and
customers often need time to make those kind of purchases. 

That was not the original post your gave. This is what you posted:

In my experience the time any jeweler/jewelry maker spends with
potential customers can never be completely compensated. Marketing
statistic have shown that only one in ten individuals will commit
to a purchase over 750 dollars at any given time. Making
pre-qualifying a useful tool." 

You didn’t say repairs in your last post and the post was a DESIGN
fees, custom designing, not a repair.

Jewelers of America has no such numbers on closing ratios for
custom, just people who walk into a jewelry store and look at

As far as where I get my numbers?

a. I had a jewelry store from 1974 until 2000.

b. The last year I owned it we did 1.8 million, 3/4 of it came from
shop sales - 1.2 million

c. We did over 8,800 job envelopes a year. That’s over 8000 shop
jobs, not counting sales from the case. A mix of repair and a lot of
custom design.

d. From this experience FIRST I know that we had a 6-70% closing
ratio on custom, without material (using customers material) average
job was $750. Without material. If we sold all of the material,
average sale was $1500-$2500.

e. I have sold over 5000 American Jewelers a copy of my repair and
design price book and have spoken to the majority of them about this
one subject.

f. I speak to Jewelers of America state associations (so far 3/4 of
them), IJO, RJO, AGS and poll those people when I speak,

g. Over the last 12 years I do 2-3 workshops a year where jewelers
pay to come and learn for a day how to price and sell both repairs
and custom work.

h. I have easily polled 3000-5000 jewelry store owners and over 75%
of them say they close: 90% of all Repairs when they quote a price
60-80% of all Custom Work when they quote a price. 30% of jewelry
showcase purchases (this is the largest number-close to what JA

I have a far amount of knowledge in this field.

Typical repair average price in the USA is no where near $750 for a
repair as you stated. Over 70% of jewelers report a repair sale to be
$20-$50. Some at $125. Repair sales above $200 are just plain rare.

David Geller
510 Sutters Point
Sandy Springs, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565


Repair sales above $200 are just plain rare. 

I don’t normally take issue with most of what you say as I think
your general contention about the fact that jewelers need to charge
more is right on. However the above statement isn’t true. I regularly
work on repairs that run in the $2-500 range. Sometimes they involve
stone replacements, which certainly boost the cost, but that is still
part of the repair job. Sometimes it’s because I can charge more than
most people. But more often than not it’s because people have strong
sentimental attachments to old pieces that are simply falling apart
entirely and need huge amounts of work. Also, right now with platinum
prices where they are, sizing up a wide band a couple of sizes should
be a $200 job. If jewelers aren’t seeing more jobs in this price
range than they aren’t charging enough.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Dear Mr. Geller,

quoting myself:

I am not claiming to have an all encompassing comprehensive view of
the jewelry retail market, nor do I wish to be in contention with
you over these issues. This forum is for sharing of experience and
if my experience is different than yours, that does not make it
less valid. 

quoting your post:

I have sold over 5000 American Jewelers a copy of my repair and
design price book and have spoken to the majority of them about
this one subject. 

I understand you have a product to sell to the members of this forum
and you feel the need to defend your authority surrounding this

I don’t personally profit from sharing my experience on this topic,
but if a posting of my resume is what you need to tolerate that I
have knowledge in this area I will oblige.

1975 to 1979: jewelry apprenticeship & retail sales.

1979 to 1983: N.I.U. BFA Jewelry design and metals.

1983 to 1988: Bench jeweler/designer and custom wax modeler for
high-end jewelry manufactures.

Started own business to produce an art jewelry line that showed in
Seattle, London, Berlin, San Fransisco, and New York. Took workshops
at the Revere Academe and the Small Business Administration.

1986: Moved to Germany to study jewelry making for the year.

1988 to 1999: In-house Fine Jewelry Designer for Nordstrom at their
corporate headquarters.

Designed and managed Production of two fine jewelry lines. Bought by
15 stores in 8 states. Was responsible to corporate buyers for
producing: marketing material, sales associate training, inventory
identification and tracking systems, all custom design orders.
Responsible to lead-corporate buyer for maintaining profitablity of
all jewelry produced under the Nordstrom lable as dictated by
corporate standards.

I am not at liberty to share the finacial from my work
with Nordstrom, to do so would be a breach of business ethics.

But I can say that in each of the 15 stores that carried my lines,
the lines and my custom work remained on the top 10 vendor list for
sales throughout a decade. I competed for that listing with each
store’s inventory of other vendors such as Paul Klecka, Micheal Good,
William Ritchie, Scott Kay, Micheal Bondanza, David Yurman, Mikimoto,

I averaged 250 pieces of new jewelry manufactured per month (60%
custom to 40% line, estimated by dollar amount) with the assistance
of sub-contracting casting and stone setting to outside jewelry
manufacturing shops. I was not responsible for repair unless it was
for one of my own pieces.

1992 to 1999: Contributing Author to JQ Magazine, 16 articles

1995 and 1996: Recipient of the DeBeers Diamonds Today Awards.

1997: Gave birth to a 10lb. 1oz. baby boy. Recipient of two Platinum
Guild International Awards. Intensive CAD/CAM training at McNeel &
Assoc. developers of Rhino 3-D software.

1998 to 2003: Established Nanz Designz an independant freelance
jewelry design firm.

Clients included: Tiffany&Co., Albert Asher Pearl, Rudolph Erdel/
O.E. Designs, N.Y., New York; Egana Pearl,Tokyo,Japan; Kazto
Platinum, Neiman Marcus Precious Jewelry Division, Dallas, TX;
DiaTrends, Mumbui, India.

Used Rhino 3-D software to render finished jewelry designs,
technical drawings, and deposition wax models.

2000 to 2005: Instructor of Metals, Industrial Design Department,
Art Institute of Seattle. Responsible for the developement of
cirriculum that addressed the use of metals in mass maufacturing
processes and their economic viability including: Fabrication,
casting, electroforming, laser applications, etching, sintering, and
rapid prototyping.

2001: AGTA Spectrum Award recipient. Completed Diamond Grading
Certification, GIA.

2002 to 2004: Masters Degree in Metals, University of Washington.

2003 to 2005: Adjunct Professor, Metals UW.

2005: Washington State Certified Rapid Prototyping technician.

I am loathed to post this since it is that is available
elsewhere, but I hope it establishes my credentials with you, so,
there will be no need to continue with these off-topic posts that
are misrepresentitive of what is actually being said.

I did not quote “closing ratios” in any of my previous post, nor did
I quote “average repair prices” that is your misrepresentation of
what I actually said. I have no problem with your claims of having a
"far amount of knowledge in this field" nor am I contesting that.

What I find objectionable is your need to twist the content of my
(and others) posts so you can tout the superiority of your book. Buy
banner advertisements on professional jewelry websites if you need to
sell your book, but Please, Go bully someone else.

Nanz Aalund

FYI - When you capitalize every letter in a word or phrase it is
considered the internet equivalent of screaming at someone.


A. Very impressive resume.

B. I just went back to your original post, copied and pasted what
you typed. I guess pasting is twisting.

Again, nice resume.
David Geller

I regularly work on repairs that run in the $2-500 range If jewelers
aren't seeing more jobs in this price range than they aren't
charging enough.

I don’t like to be a ‘me too’-er but that is my typical range also.
I might look at it slightly differently though. Yes I charge a nice
sum but it’s not just a matter of charging more for the same work.
Its being capable of intricate, important repairs and alterations
that some of the area jewelers just do not handle all that well,
imho. (God, some of the abortions I have seen!) And conveying the
trust thing that Mr Geller points out. And living up to it.

In this business you get the reputation you deserve. And you deserve
to capitalize on it.