I infer this 'authority' was some sort of museum or similar
organization. If so, the work might correctly be termed restoration,
and if you did a superlative job your work might be termed museum
quality. They chose you for the task, probably because you either
have a trusted relationship with them or by recommendation from a
well satisfied customer. Their expectations are high.
Yeah, maybe someone else with the necessary skill could have
technically done the job, but if the above is correct, I believe you
would be justified in a higher compensation because it was your
reputation that garnered you the job.
Why are we, as jewelers, so concerned with our reputations? In the
end its money, personal sentiment aside. If one's reputation is that
he can bang out a lot of work cheap, he will have a lot of work and
make his money that way. If the rep is for honesty he will make sales
based on that. If your rep is for very fine work, you will get the
fine work. People are willing to pay according to the expectation.
They will return if you exceed their expectations (sorry for the
But I do agree with the poster who suggested an estimate beforehand.
Not only is that a service to your customer it will build your
self-confidence. You will, over time, get a fix on your overall
pricing by judging their reactions to your quoted price. If you get
a lot of people quickly accepting your proposal you know you have
room to up your price next time. If they consistently storm out,
you're too high. If they hesitate but give approval you are just