I was talking to someone at a company that owns factories overseas.
This company is able to charge very small amounts of money for
earrings made in precious metals. This was not costume jewelry,
folks, it was fine jewelry in precious metals. When I asked about how
much it would cost someone to start a jewelry business, I was qouted
a colossal sum – I am talking seven figures, people (I’d love to
hear a figure from some of my fellow Orchidians, this sounds like
quite a high sum). Absolutely NONE of their products were purchased
or made in their home country, but in a Third World country. I am
sure that the company is selling wholesale to many of the same
companies that a lot of smaller jewelers would like to sell to, if
the smaller jewelers could get a reasonable price for their items.
I have a question: How does a small jeweler stay alive under these
situations – especially a jeweler that may not have the means or
desire to make their products overseas? Especially a jeweler who is
making efforts to learn as much as possible, buy books and tools and
pay for classes and buy materials in their home country. Customers
are used to paying very little for precious metal items, such as
silver, and even relatively small amounts of money for gold.
Please note that I have no grudge with people in the Third World and
wish them all the best, so I don’t want people to think that I feel
this way from my post.
I would just like for us to have a thoughtful conversation about this
and hope that people won’t just say that money is irrelevant, etc,
you should go into this business solely because you want to make art,
etc! I would really like for us to have a conversation about positive
strategies an independent jeweler can use to survive in today’s
marketplace. I love making jewelry and art as much as the next person,
but I would also like to eat, pay my bills and have a roof over my