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Price tags?

I am wondering how most of you display your prices on your jewelry
when you do a show? Do you put those little tags with the string on
them with the price showing in your display or do you place the
little sticky tags on the back of the piece so the customer does not
see the price and then asks you about the piece and price? I was
going to use the string tags but then though that I would like to
have my customers talk to me and give me the opportunity to tell them
about the piece and then tell them the price. If they saw the prices
they might just look and walk on. Your thoughts?

Hi Elle,

I was going to use the string tags but then though that I would
like to have my customers talk to me and give me the opportunity to
tell them about the piece and then tell them the price. If they saw
the prices they might just look and walk on.

You can still use the string tags. Just turn the tag over so the
price is on the bottom.


Greetings Elle,

I was going to use the string tags but then though that I would
like to have my customers talk to me and give me the opportunity to
tell them about the piece and then tell them the price. If they saw
the prices they might just look and walk on.

I am using the “GOLDEN SHIP” encoding system for prices. Each letter
stands for a number



According to this system, 120.80 $ will be “GOP.H” thats what you
can write on the price tags, and your customer wont have a clue about
your price.


well, about which style of price tag to use…what can you see
yourself doing? there is an apprehension towards the sticky-back
tags…so don’t use them! the discomfort will show (no pun intended)
i am sort of disorganized when it comes to paperwork…so i just group
types or similarly priced items, and pin a single price for that
group nearby. potential customers will likely ask you for prices no
matter how obvious your tagging. At the two gift galleries which
present some of my pieces, the tagging system is hand-written
string-attached tags with inventory numbers on the opposite side of
the tag.
hope this helps, erhard. ----

Hi Elle, Personally, from the seller’s perspective, I always price my
work. I think it’s the fairest thing to the customer. Many people
become embarrassed or flustered if they ask to see something that’s
out of their price range. If they like the piece and the price,
they’ll buy it. From the buyer’s perspective: when shopping for
jewelry at other stores or shows for myself or for the store, I like
knowing the price without having to ask. Sometimes if there’s a line
of people ahead of me asking questions, I don’t have the inclination
to stand and wait to ask a price, so I walk away and MAYBE I come
back later. I also just plain like to know what the price of
something is without having to ask! Take care – Arts

As for the issue of displaying prices on jewelry. The trade has
always been recalcitrant about that, preffering to involve the
customer in a sale encounter. Perhaps the time for that has passed.
Personally, I like the way galleries handle it. You have the pieces
on display, and a perspectus is at the door. Guests pick it up, read
the blurb about the artists aesthetics, read the perticulars about
each piece, and see the price, hopefully with a red dot next to it
(sold!). Well, not really practical at a fair. There is an
interesting article in the June, 2000 issue of Jewelers Circular
Keystone by the editor about that very topic. Sounds like a good
topic for a thread, and timely too.

David L. Huffman

Speaking as a general consumer and a browser at craft shows:

I have an extreme dislike of being “sold to,” and if I feel like this
is what’s happening, I walk away pronto. Being forced to ask for a
price sometimes leads to “being sold to.” If I have a question about
materials or process or whatever, I’m not shy about asking, although I
like it when this info is provided in written form, perhaps on cards
or small posters displayed around the booth.

If I’m not in the mood for chatting, I may just walk away from
something I like if I am required to ask about a price. It doesn’t
matter how much I like a thing – if I can’t afford it, I can’t afford
it – and not knowing the price is just one tiny aggravation that can
add up at a large craft fair.

Given the way that I feel, when I’m selling, I always make sure my
prices are easily seen by the prospective buyer, without any
intervention from me. I just smile and say hello to my browsers and
make myself available.

Christine, who may sound grouchy and may even feel slightly grouchy
today, but who is really a very friendly person. It’s a beautifully
cool morning with puffy white clouds in a brilliant blue sky, here in
Littleton, Massachusetts, USA.

I am wondering how most of you display your prices on your jewelry
when you do a show? 


My work averages about $2,166.00 and I only have about 38 pieces to
worry about so it isn’t so much a problem for me not to have every
piece individually marked. I have the corresponding price tag taped
on the back of my case, directly behind the piece it goes to. The
customers can’t see the tag, yet is readily accessible to me and the
showcase looks very clean and artsy. I do have a few of those
plastic number displays that I put near a few select items so the
shoppers have at least an idea about what the cost of my work is. On
my larger pieces, collars, pins, bracelets and large pendants I use a
photographic, waterproof marker and write in an unobtrusive place, on
the piece, the price and stock number. I clean it off with rubbing
alcohol when it is purchased.

By the way, it is good to keep some rubbing alcohol and cotton around
so you can clean the earring posts after or before they are tried on.
By way of the amazed remarks I have received from women, I guess it
isn’t a standard practice at shows. It is really appreciated though.

Larry Seiger

The discussion of to tag or not to tag is a very interesting one.
Those of you with higher-end pieces and classy displays who choose to
have your prices visible–what form of price tag do you favor as
effective but not obtrusive? If it is a purchased one (like those
little black plastic “tents” with white numbers), is there a
particular brand or source you favor? Thanks!! --Noel

We have found a good solution to the problem of pricing and labeling
jewelry. When we make a new piece we scan it and print the image.
This is attached to an inventory sheet that has the price, inventory
number, weight and quality of stones, type of metal, and so on. These
inventory sheets are put into plastic folders and then into a ring
binder. We leave the binder out for potential customers to leaf
through, and all pertinent is easily available without
clumsy tags. We are always amazed that people coming into the store
will often spend as much time going through the binder as they will
looking at the jewelry. It is a good sales tool and does help keep us
orgnized. — John <@johnjuan>

You’re already buried under responses to this deceptively simple
querie–however, let me add one more bit to the heap: my favourite
pricing system for this sort of setup involves giving every piece on
display a discrete but clearly visible letter or number, and then
posting off to the side (one on each side is ideal) the corresponding
prices to each. While it may sound pointless, I find it hits a very
nice middle ground. That is, there is no ugly price tag or 'vulgar’
numerical value to spoil the ‘aura’ of your pieces–yet, the
is readliy available without mandatory interaction. [I have seen this system used with a unique letter assigned to each piece, as well as with a letter assigned to a particular price–ie, several pieces might be labelled ‘e’, which is, say $390.00 on your price list. I somehow prefer the more individual feel of the former.]

Hope the show is/was a success for you.


–With regard to price tags–I’ve used a number of types of tags to
display prices because, when I’m a customer, I don’t really like to
have to ask. The most successful was writing the prices in silver pen
on some of those littls glass blobs that are sold for using in vases
(mine were dark red irridescent.) People occasionally thought I was
selling the glass blobs (for $50 to $650!) and it took a lot of time
to match them up with the pieces, but people seemed to like them.
Ultimately (meaning, actually, at the moment), I decided that visible
tags detract from the aesthetic impact of my display, which is rather
spare and (I hope) classy, so now I use gummed labels on the back. I
like the removable ones. You’re right, it does give you the
opportunity to engage in conversation, and show the features of a
piece before telling the price. Good luck–and by the way, in addition
to sun screen , water, etc., I always have insect repellant. I also now
take a marine battery, a power inverter, and a fan!

Dear Elle,

After doing shows for about ten years now, I’ll share with you some
thoughts and processes I have gone through. At first I used avery
labels on the back of each piece, so the customer would have to ask
and that would open up dialogue and I would pull the piece out of the
case and tell them about the piece, stones, metals and process if
they are interested. Then I started having the prices showing with
avery labels (handwritten) and many customers thanked me for having
the prices out so they could determine whether something was even in
their price range before they asked to see it. But I did not like
the looks of the tags showing, I thought the white was tacky against
the $50 a yard ultra suede in my cases. So I purchased a label maker
from Staples ( or any office supply) and print the prices in black
ink on clear labels and am very happy with the result. I don’t have
all the prices showing but on the less expensive pieces I do so that
people can get an idea of what price range your work is. I hope this
helps with your decision. I am a new member on this site and am
enjoying the dialogue and networking it provides.

Linda Lewis

Hi again - Great string of ideas here. I’ve been looking for a
solution for pricing larger items for a long time! Thank you Larry -
what a great idea to write with a marker and wipe off with alcohol -
I’ll try it - especially for the cuff bracelets. Much better than
sticky tags that fall off and leave a mark - or manuevering a string
tag onto the piece that falls off on the first move.

You know, there are individually wrapped alcohol wipes that come in a
box - sell for under $2 at a drug store. Very quick and neat and I
just let the customer do the cleaning of the earring post before
trying them on - and I’ll double clean it myself before returning it
to the case.

Have to agree with most about the showing of prices. I also like to
be able to have a ballpark idea and not have to ask (as a shopper).
Sometimes, the tags make the display look tacky or busy though, in my
opinion. Larry’s idea of showing a price here and there is a good
one. As long as the pieces are marked, even if I can’t read them by
standing - at least I feel confident that the price doesn’t change -
depending on who walks into the booth. For simplicity of pricing and
selling in these quick situations - I’ll do generic pricing by
grouping designs of similar time and cost of materials. This is only
for the bread and butter lines - $25 + types. The more difficult
pieces and one of a kinders are on their own.

btw - I am finally making a small folded - care for the jewelry
instructions. It is never too late to provide better service! I have
always made gift boxes available and sometimes will give a portion of
a polish cloth with the purchase. We create our own environment at
these events - just as personalized as walking into a shop.

This is cross over to the inventory string - however, in my
experience, there are always last minute pieces that I’ll bring
along. My regular customers now know to expect that last tray of
jewelry! I don’t recommend it - but these things very often sell.
Can’t bring the polishing motor to the event - but can still price the
last items after arriving. :slight_smile: Cynthia

Ethically, and in some states, legally, it is always best to price
your work openly in a retail environment. This does not mean that you
have to have huge screaming tags on everything, simply that everything
must be clearly labeled with price, total gem weight and metal
quality. The customers have the right to know that the price shown is
a real and legitimate price. In the wholesale world, this doesn’t
seem to apply as much because often legitimate wholesale dealers don’t
want someone “pretending” to be a wholesale customer know the actual
price. You can always strike up a conversation with someone while you
pull the piece out to show them and to check the price on.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

style of price tag to use… I also like having priced items, but do
not like the look of white string tags. Have found frosted (matte
clear) ring tags to be the answer. you can write on them with permanent
marker so the price shows but having no color it does not stand out
like on the white ones. They come from Arch Crown at They also have string tags in 14 colors and the
stand alone plastic price cubes, and much more hope this helps, david

The few times that I’ve had a booth I had only a few different prices
on what I was selling. To make pricing easy I used the little white
string tags and colored them with marker letting the color stand for
the price (yellow = $29.99, green = $19.99, etc).

Both sides of the tag are quickly and easily marked with a swipe of
the marker(I dreaded the thought of writing bunches of tiny prices on
the little tags in my not too neat hand). With both sides marked
there was no problem of making sure that the price was visible.

A few computer generated signs showing the prices with a drawing of
the tag colored with the same marker completed the setup. I put a few
small signs in the displays and a couple larger ones posted in the
back of the booth.

Any work that was not priced at one of the group prices had the price
written on a plain white tag.

I think this can work for a small number of group prices (3 - 5), but
could get confusing with too many different prices.

Only a couple people were confused by this marking system, one of
whom had a color vision problem.

Chunk Kiesling

Hello all,

Re: Larry Seiger's excellent note:
    By the way, it is good to keep some rubbing alcohol and cotton
around so you can clean the earring posts after or before they are
tried on. 

I use the alcohol wipes in a foil pouch - like health depts. use to
clean your skin before giving immunizations. They are small and look
very professional, plus that’s one less bulky item to pack. I keep
them in my cash box and stick a few in my apron pocket.

Clean the earring posts BEFORE and after the customer tries them on -
you can use the same pad if it’s still moist. As Larry says, the
customer will be impressed that you make the effort to protect them.
Opening the little foil packet says, “You’re important” to me.

Along the same lines, a small package of baby wipes is really nice to
have handy. Many folks don’t know that the wipes are effective
against bacteria and viruses. Plus they smell nice and the packaging
keeps them moist for a long time. I always have some in my car.

Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681

 (I dreaded the thought of writing bunches of tiny prices on the
little tags in my not too neat hand) 

The little labels sold for labeling 35 mm slides are just right for
jewelry. You can print out a whole page of each price and affix them
to the little string tags or your hang tags. Very neat and

Northern Illinois, USA

Can you stand just one more thought on the to visibly price or not to
visibly price question?

Several people have stated that they like to conceal the prices so
that interested customers become involved in a conversation with them,
but I wonder if this is really effective. If I’m in the market for a
$50 to $100 piece, and your work starts at $500 and goes up from
there, will forcing me to ask the price make a sale more likely? On
the other hand, if the piece is in my price range and I know that, I
am twice as likely to ask to look at it – and that much more likely
to buy it. (This is obviously most applicable to a retail show, and
perhaps less so at a wholesale show.)

As a customer, I’m in agreement with those who have said they hate to
ask a price, and will often walk away from a display rather than
inquire. (Especially if it’s an impulse buy: If I’m shopping for a
particular thing, I’ll ask. If it just struck me as being pretty,
having to ask the price serves as an excellent excuse not to spend the
money.) So I guess a question I would ask regarding visible pricing
(at least at retail events) is, Are you losing more potential
customers because they don’t want to ask than you are gaining by
starting the sales conversation with concealed prices?

Anyway, just my two cents worth.