Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Need a ring made and or thoughts

A friend is trying to get the ring (his fathers) reproduced so his son can have one too. Last year, a local shop jeweler said it would be about $1200 for a 2nd ring, but he is no longer in the area and the 2 shops here now say $2500-3000 for a duplicate (there is a LOT of handwork in this piece is their comment). From what I know (and I know I am not a jeweler but I know what Cynthia could do and did, this was NOT a ring that would cost that sort of money, at least from what she did and I helped with over the years) the cost for a mold, shot wax, clean up settings stones, and stones, baskets and gold cost, $1000 or a bit less would seem more in order. I will also say, the 2 shops here have “jewelers” in the stores but they do not make their molds, shoot their waxes or set the stones (just what their “jewelers” do I cannot say, maybe resize rings and fix jump rings??? but this sort of work is all shopped out!). Am I off in my figures? Anyone interested in doing this? Cost? Thoughts……………?

Thanks your any thoughts, ideas or interest.

John Dach

wt. is 13.5 grams (with stones)
6 diamonds totaling about .25 carats
largest is about 1/16 and the rest are somewhat smaller
would it be “better” to channel set the stones or basket set them as in this original ring?
size to be 7.75
there is no marking as to the k. of the gold but 18 or is fine with customer (friend)

Hello John, I don’t see how this ring can be made for under 2500 but I do hope you find someone to do it. tom

13.5 gm is a heavy ring.

18k is 75% pure

This is an expensive ring in 18k. $1000 will not cover the cost of this ring. If you were to provide all the materials and asked for a mold wax and cast that labour alone in my shop would cost you over $500. that will not include the price of the diamonds or setting. If you provided the diamonds as well it might end up costing just over $1000 to produce.

The friend of yours should have taken the $1200 quote at the time.

your friend needs to think about using 10k and lightening up the ring by undercutting the top and removing weight if they are on a budget.

Drop the weight below 10gm finished product.

$100 per gram for 18k yellow is a conservative price. this would not include diamonds or setting labour or making the mold. every little bit adds up.

$2500 for this ring is not a retail price it is discounted.

You are asking for a trades person who is capable of doing the whole job to do this. You can not expect them to work for nothing. This is a learned skill and has value. If you have seen it done on the past and think it looks easy it is only because the person that did it was very good at what they do and has a well developed skill.

It is hard to have a conversation about this sort of thing in writing so please understand that these are my thoughts, do not take offence as they are meant to be informative and respectful.


1 Like

I agree with Tom and Les, $2500 for that ring as described is a bargain, my initial estimate would be well over that too. There are ways to reduce the price, but not enough to get anywhere near the $1200 range without dropping the diamonds.

I’m really only posting as a means of verifying that what Tom and Les said is correct. Les said it best, and I second everything he said. I would only add that there are a lot of costs associated with being able to create jewelry like that that aren’t always apparent, so you have to factor that in too.



3 posts were split to a new topic: Tom Arnold retiring

I have been on orchid for years so not going away. Cynthia Thomas was my wife and she passed away a bit over a year ago. She was a high end jeweler and master model maker before we met and I became her “foundry” after we got together and she started doing bronze masters (sculpture). I was a farmer when we met and learned the foundry trade from mold making to finishing/patination. I did a little jewelry during our near 30 years together. I have her bench, tools a complete casting setup (both centrifugal and vacuum) but I have not really done much high end work (a few pierced silver pieces - one got best of show in a county fair) but doing this sort of thing all on my own is feeling a bit over my head even though I have cast 1000s of pounds of bronze and helped Cynthia with gold castings. I have never really set stones in baskets or channel either. So I thought I would see what folks on this list have today about this friends ring. I way under estimated it (normal!!!) is guess but really does not seem to be that difficult or that much work, especially seeing Cynthia do stuff similar to but much more detailed than this ring.

Live and learn. I have offered to help my friend and “we” could try doing it, I don’t know where that is going to go however. I know there is a lot of learning and a lot of equipment (I have that part) to do something like this and that a knowledgable jeweler would make it look easy, just like my foundry work, but I do sculptures with pretty fine detail, granted not as refined as jewelry but often close to it, and the metals are not near as valuable, but still, $2500 for this ring just seems high to me. If my friend and I decide to give it a sho, I will keep folks abreast as to or success or failure.

Thank you all for your input and thoughts.

John Dach
MLCE.net if you are interested in seeing what Cynthia’s bronzes, mixed media and pastels are like and a bit on the foundry (cooking in the foundry site too!!!).

With regards to your comment seeming to belittle the shop jewellers “(just what their “jewelers” do I cannot say, maybe resize rings and fix jump rings??? but this sort of work is all shopped out!)”, i imagine you are not too far from the truth.

Many shop jewellers or repair workers, including myself are too busy with repair work to take on these custom jobs, so we out source them to other places.
There is no reason to question their abilities, it is just a different area of the trade.
For example:
Who would you prefer to set your Diamonds? Someone who specialises in stone setting and does it for a living all day everyday or someone who only needs to do it occasionally? See, i am more than happy setting stones if the customer needs the item urgently but i know i can never beat the quality of our stone setter.
The same goes for hand engraving, metal casting and many other areas of jewellery making.

I am sorry for your loss, John. I lost my husband just over a year ago.
I hope you enjoy working on the project - I suspect you will pleasantly surprise yourself
Love the woman/owl sculpture!


I found your letter very interesting, and outlines the clear difference between the hobbyist, and the professional. As a business owner, the everyday cost of doing business can be daunting. Buying and maintaining the building, heating and cooling, taxes, insurance, wages, taxes, vacations and other intangible benefits, did I mention taxes(?), etc. all add up to “fixed overhead”, and add a substantial amount to the price of every job we undertake. We hope, after all these expenses are covered, that we even may earn a living along the way.

The hobbyist simply never has to worry about the majority of the above, needs to cover his or her costs, then is happy if they end up with a few bucks left over to buy a nice dinner afterwards. I do envy you in so many ways, and hope to join your ranks in the next year or so.

The professional jeweler is worth the price they charge, and the end product will likely be everything the customer hopes for. They certainly are not getting wealthy in their old age, just doing what is needed to stay in business.

Jon Michael Fuja


design aside, and really materials too to some degree.
A retailer has overhead costs that dig deep into the gross sales of a store.
Some of the best I know get about 14% net at the end of the year. So in simple terms , a 3000.00 ring makes them about 400 /420.00 at the most.
There are two different perspectives to be aware of in this thread,
That of one who has a retail business ,who must see the bottom line and work backwards .
And that of a hobbyist or home based craftsperson who can see cost of material and labor, and labor and profit are sitting in the same nest.
As others have stated, 3000.00 is a very good price for piece that must be made from scratch. Details like setting style and karat weight are not going to make a great deal of difference (18K about $401.00 /14K about 313.00, 87.00 difference).
The rest it a time /labor cost factor and cost of diamonds ( probably 4 to 500. a carat from the picture (at most) 100/125.00 or so.
Through it up on " " and see what kind of bids you get there as reference.
What you “should” have done is irrelevant, that time is past and not even a fair comparison.
I’ll be interested to see what you do now and how it works out for you.
Good luck,


you can get a casting house to do the mold and waxes for you then set up the casting yourself. There are plenty of tutorials online to help set up your centrifugal casting run and this forum has many conversations on the subject. Setting up your flasks and using the kiln are just a matter of following directions.

If you are doing this you can use recycled materials. purchase 18k from an action site in the form of old jewellery or go to Pawn shops. if you look hard enough you will find jewellery that has the stones you need for the job.

I would suggest getting 3 or 4 waxes made and cast one in silver to test your process. If you are not confident setting the diamonds you can higher a setter to do that part for you.

So subcontracting the setting and told making will still cost but doing the casting and providing the materials in the way might get it down to the level you are looking for.

If you take it one step at a time it might talk a bit longer for you to sort it out but you will have a good result.


John, Thank you for the link to Cynthia’s work. She seems so familiar. I relate to owl woman. And I am sorry for your loss. I’ve bookmarked the pages and will spend more time enjoying the combined forms. Her circles are very appealing as well. The circle is perfect. I work in glass and it always wants to form a circle. Continue to work as the mood moves you. I think spring will return here to the NW.

Eileen Schneegas/Snowgoose

Les, Jim, Jon F. , Cameron, Jon H. and any other fine Orchid folks I might have missed,

Thank you all for the thoughts, information, learning up some of my thinking, suggestions etc.!!! Cameron, I am sorry for your loss, it really is difficult loosing one’s partner. Cynthia and i had a terrific relationship and for us it was both working and loving.

I did and can do a mold for the ring, I have a couple of wax injectors (I have spent many hours injecting items for Cynthia and some for myself) and I have done casting for Cynthia and also for myself (mostly Cynthia however!!) and she usually sprued the waxes and I invested them and either one or both of us did the castings. I would often cut the casting off the setups for her but she did 99.9% of the cleanup, stone setting and 98% of the polishing. So I have some experience (very limited but enough to know what is really involves in all the steps) in what will be required to do this piece. I also know that Cynthia was very fast at her professional craft and could get this ring done in short order and she did all steps herself, which is, these days, not often the case. I realize that my “thinking” of what a jeweler or shop could or might be able to offer a customer is based on my life experiences with Cynthia and that what she was able and willing to do was/is rather unique or unusual.

I appreciate the time you folks on this GREAT LIST have taken to help me “see the light” and I too will be interested in seeing what my friend wants to do. I am relatively sure I can do most of the processes but I am totally unsure that I can do them to the quality and level I would expect in an item of fine jewelry. We shall see what happens and I will post the results on this list if they are worth posting, even if it is a failure (casting or some such).

Again, I thank you all for your valuable time and your personal and professional thoughts.

John Dach

Hey John,
Thank for the “Thanks” and it’s great that you put this out therefor everyone to chew on.
Please share the finished piece and what ever path you chose to follow.

John- I am so sorry for your loss. Sending up prayers and healing thoughts for you and your family.
My sweetie and partner in crime Timothy Green and I are both highly skilled but in different tasks. We worked together for over 12 years before we ever became a couple. I can’t imagine making jewelry without him, let alone just getting through the day. He’s the only one who knows where I left my keys and purse:-).
-Jo Haemer

Jo and Jim,

Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Yup it is terribly tough BUT life must go on and I am doing my best. Thank you both and all you other folks for your thoughts, ideas and for taking the time to read my posts and reply as/where needed.


2 options - have a casting house CAD the ring and then they can cast a duplicate. Or they can make a rubber mold and then cast the wax ring in 14kt to lower the gold cost. It will be more accurate that way. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be cheap. Good luck!

I just want to take a quick moment and thank everyone who contributed to this thread. It has been surprisingly enlightening to me. Pricing formulas, hourly rates, and general markup questions have come up on the forum every so often and it can be difficult to get a good feel for what one should be charging for their work. Most of the time the conversations are of a more generic nature as well as subject to the pricing sensitivity of various markets throughout the U.S. and world. Seeing projects such as this with pictures and ballpark estimates for total price really helps those of us that aren’t in the retail area and aren’t routinely exposed to what customers expect in terms of pricing based on materials and quality. I recall the MJSA had several different “Price out this project” articles over the last year or two which helps give an idea of how others are pricing their work, but I think it would be really helpful for Ganoksin to do something similar. What I have learned from the MJSA articles and this thread is that I evidently grossly undercharge for my work. . . .ridiculously so in some cases. After years of working on a second business, I’m intending to get back into the wholesale/consignment side of things with my jewelry. Being able to see this kind of exchange goes a LONG way in determining where I need to be price-wise before I begin approaching stores and galleries again. At the least, it would appear that I need to make some significant adjustments to much of my jewelry pricing. As I mentioned, I think similar style threads would go miles for others that are starting out and trying to determine what they can/should charge for their work.

Thanks again all!