I am a studio jeweler, and I’m pretty new to taking in custom orders
(and I have to say that up to this point, I don’t really care for
them or the hassle much at all (I know, I need to get over it if I
I recently finished and mailed out a custom order for a really
gorgeous, very heavy men’s ID bracelet. The person who placed the
order is a family friend.
I initially started the project making a 14gge beveled curb chain
for the band ; however, given the size of the recipient (a really big
guy–beyond the standard men’s 8.5 inch wrist), I thought it looked
like a toy against the bar–and the bar was actually pretty hefty at
12gge. [The bar was a combination of mokume gane and plain sterling.
I had to make a “doublet,” of sorts, out of the mokume portion
because it alone wasn’t thick enough to be soldered to the larger
sterling portion. I’ll post photos on my blog after the holiday is
In my email to the family friend letting her know the bracelet was
on the way, I purposely mentioned that, in the end, the chain was not
made by hand.
If I had done it myself (I love making chain and could have easily
made it–it’s just time-consuming), it would have changed the quoted
price a bit more and I didn’t want to do that. SO, rather than
ordering 10gge sterling, cutting, soldering, forming and shaping it
myself–and yes I DO indeed charge for labor–I ordered a beveled
curb chain from Rio and spliced it in half to fit the bar. I was also
under a time constraint here, keeping in mind that I had already made
a chain out of 14gge sterling.
Also of note is that I’d already undercut the price a little to
begin with because of the “family friend” thing.
So, my issue here is that I “disclosed” to her that I did not
HAND-MAKE this particular chain. I would have felt dishonest if I
hadn’t. In response to that “disclosure,” she sent a comment back to
me that seemed to indicate she’s getting “less-than” her money’s
worth because it’s not completely handmade.
I initially didn’t think anything of the “disclosure”-in fact I
thought I was doing something good by being honest.
Should I have kept my mouth shut? Is the inclusion of non-handmade
parts something that needs to be disclosed or no? How do others of
you handle this type of issue–a combo of handmade and commercial? I
will say that 98% of everything else I make is 100% handmade–down to
the claps and closures. [I even felt weird actually using the non-handmade components, but I’ve learned when to be nostalgic and when to be practical, and this case called for practical.]
Though she likely won’t say it, I know she wants me to give her a
discount because I didn’t make the chain myself…I don’t intend to
do this because regardless, I think my price is fair.
I’d really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance.