Marketing Issue: Difference in Sales

Have you found that there is a significant difference in sales
between items that you make in 14K Gold, White Gold, 18K gold as
opposed to those items that are Gold Filled and Gold Plate? Are
people willing to pay for the 14K/18K/White Gold or are they more
likely to buy the gold filled and gold plate? I make primarily wire
objects – mostly chandeliers with premade findings. (I also make
knotted necklaces, but have decided not to sell knotted necklaces
anymore because people do not know how laborious it is and are less
willing to pay for what it costs to produce them.)

I have thus far been using gold fill, gold plate and sterling
silver. These items are usually mid-priced. I have noticed that
there is a very big jump in prices for many designers when the items
are made in white gold or 14K gold or higher. However, when I looked
at Rio Grande’s catalog, I noticed that 18K wire and some of the
findings were not as high-priced as I thought that they were. Would
it be worth it for me to switch from gold fill and gold plate to
white gold/14K/18K? At this stage, I think that 24 K would not be a
good idea for me, as it requires a lot of outlay (hence it is a more
risky investment) and people may not be willing to pay for the cost
of 24K because my jewelry is more on the trendy side. I will always
keep making silver items in order to reach those customers who might
not like to wear gold for whatever reason.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


When I first started making jewelry 4 years ago, I took it to a
friend I made in the industry. She looked at my pieces and said,“If
you use more expensive materials, you will make more money.” Now I
favor gold filled because it has some intrinsic value, not much, but
some, and people of all income levels can afford it. I don’t sell
widely and my ownly experience is with local shows and shows I do at
my home, so you may want to take what I say with a grain of salt. I
have found that my customers don’t give a flying furniture fixture
what my pieces are made of. They want something pretty to wear that
they can afford. None of my customers have a lot of money, and many
are students like myself. Not too long ago I asked myself, “Why am I
spending so much money using gold-filled for the “value” when the
people I sell to don’t care either way?” My profit margins would
also be much higher if I went back to brass like I was doing when I
first started. It looks gold-ish and shines nicely when polished. I
am going back to it, I decided, especially since the price of gold
has gone up so much. I used to be able to buy gold-filled headpins
for $3.50 and now they have gone skyrocketing to $7.00. As an artist
who designs and sells for her own pleasure (not to make a living
cause it would give me a nervous breakdown) I choose to go with my
market and leave off of the expensive materials. If you sell widely
enough, and to the RIGHT kind of clientele it may be worth it to
upgrade your materials. I do not have the market to support it. If
your market can bear it and will buy it, go for it! Make a few pieces
in the better materials and see if they sell. So much is trial and

Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs


There are differences beside cost and intrinsic value between
materials that may, at first, appear to be visually the same.
Durability, strength, stability and reactivity all come to mind.

All yellow metals, for instance, do not behave the same over time.
Brass tarnishes and may react to certain people’s body chemistry. It
is no where near as strong as gold–certainly 14k.

Brass may, in fact, be the ideal choice for your work, but it is
important to consider all aspects of a material before using it.

Take care,


Let’s just do the math… For instance…hypothetically everyone…

Your cost in materials, which includes everything from your
findings, beads, etc…cost you wholesale…$45.00 in silver,
gold-filled, platted or whatever…to sell it retail you will at
least double your materials cost, so that is $90.00

Now, take those same materials, but put them with 14kt, 18kt. or
22kt. and your price for materials let just say is $200.00. Again,
you double your materials cost, oh boy it is now $400.00.

Subtract $90.00 from $400.00 and you have a $310.00 PROFIT!!

It will take you the SAME amount of time to create the pieces in
either inexpensive materials or expensive ones but the difference in
your profit margin is huge.

BUT, now lets not forget of course the original amount of money you
have to tie up in inventory and if you do not sell the items you
will sit on them until you do or you scrap them…something to think
about. Not everyone has the money to do this but in the end, my
experience it has paid off.

Hope this helps,


Your point is a good one, but your figures need correcting. If your
materials cost $45 and you sell the item for $90, the profit is $45
(minus all your overheads, selling costs etc), not $90!

Elizabeth Gordon-Mills
PO Box 32
Langhorne Creek
South Australia 5255

It will take you the SAME amount of time to create the pieces in
either inexpensive materials or expensive ones but the difference
in your profit margin is huge.

This is why I have been thinking of doing some items in 18K or 14K
gold. I will definitely think about this. I started small and used
silver or goldplated brass, but I might move into gold soon.

Thanks to you, Laurie, and everyone else who has replied. Any more
replies would be most welcomed.

Laurie, your math is a little fuzzy. $45 in silver and inexpensive
findings, etc., doubled is $90. You said take the same (silver)
materials and put them with gold for a total of $200 in materials.
Double that for $400, then subtract the $90 for a profit of $310. I
don’t get the subtracting the $90, but not subtracting the $200.

Just a question.


O.K, sorry I’m not a mathematician but you get the point.

The labor is the same in both cases.

You will make more profit if you use the more expensive materials,
if you have the capitol to purchase them and the customer to buy the
finished product.