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How to price a casting


Hello everyone,

With your help I am hoping to start pricing my casting and work

If it takes me 12hrs to make my master, what creative % do I add to
every casting produced?

I would imagine it’s pretty simple to calculate the price of the
completed piece after that.

  • Casting charge
  • Metal
  • Clean up and Polish time
    = Finished Product

Is there a general creative % mark-up used in the trade for
castings? I would also love to know what mark-up is used when pricing
diamonds and Precious metals.( I am selling my work to Galleries and

I have been making jewellery with Precious metals for the past year
but I really need guidance and direction. Thanks so much for your

Most Sincerely
Dublin, Ireland
Where strangely enough, we are enjoying a summer this year ! Yay!


I always charge a carving fee, if I’m making it for a customer,
Casting fee, if I use customer’s gold, finishing of raw casting,
setting fee, and shipping.

Is there a general creative % mark-up used in the trade for

Probably not, because you would need to know the total number of
pieces sold in advance. That would be the only way to recover the
cost of your creative work.

And here you have the itch “cost of creative work”. Actually,
creativity is not a cost factor, it’s probably the reason people buy
your stuff. If you want to recover the 12 hours to make the master,
then I would probably split the costs over the first 50 or 100
pieces sold. After that, this cost share is becoming extra profit.

Still, I am having a hard moment to understand creativity as a cost
component. I have an artist friend who once explained how he sets
his prices: It is the amount of money that relieves enough pain to
separate him and the object; a kind of separation allowance, if you

price = cost + markup is only giving the lowest baseline possible,
sort of security belt to avoid you losing money. After that, lift
your prices as much as you can. You will eventually find that you
sell less, but at the same or better profit while working less.


A great deal depends on the nature of your business. Basically
though you need to recover your development costs in the unit
quantity you actually sell.

To take your example, it took 12 hrs to make the master. Assume an
hourly charge of I dunno, say $100. So the master is worth $1200.
Sell one unit and you need to tack on $1200 over and above materials
and other labor. Sell 12 units and the tack on becomes $100 per. Sell
120 units and the tack on is $10 per. This is just the charge for the
master development, it is not the cost of further work, actual
casting, finishing etc

You need to make a real world assessment of the number of units you
can actually sell. This may or may not be what you decide as your
quantity to produce. At some point in units sold you will hit your
break even point. Meaning you have covered your cost for the master.
If all goes well after that its gravy because you can still charge
the same unit price but your net profit per piece just went up. And
they pooh pooh volume production!

If it were me, I would aim to get back investment plus a reasonable
profit on the first run. The reason I say that is you may never
produce that item again, for whatever reason. Make the money, move
on. But be realistic.