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Pricing ring sizings

My employer and I are having a disagreement. He is one of those that
has been in business for 30 years and doesn’t realize that he is
charging too little for repairs. Yesterday I did a diamond ring
sizing by appointment (while you wait). Up one size. He charged $25.
I feel that special treatment putting you in front of others in line
should have at least a $10 charge added to it. He freaked over the
idea. But I sat there thinking of just how little $25 buys today.
Frankly, I can’t think of another service of such importance that
charges so little. Can any of you? This service is done to last a
lifetime. We take on the responsibility of their precious metals and
stones and use flames and hammers on them. All while taking special
care to preserve their beauty and value. Who else does such a
specialized and risky service for $25? That barely buys a half tank
of gas today. I could go on and on about what it does not buy. In the
past couple of years $25 has turned into not much. It use to buy
allot, but not today. It is time we all wake up to that.


Why don’t you do a cost analysis for him. Factor in all the little
costs that aren’t immediately apparent. No doubt he is losing money.
Keep tabs on costs/income for a month.That way they become meaningful

Downside is…he may conclude he’s paying you too much, so be

I wonder if he keeps his inventory priced at $35 gold.

I cant wait to read Mr. Gellers response to this, it will probably
take him a few days to recompose himself. He is most likely beating
his head against the wall thinking nobody listens to him. First of
all $25 for 1 size up is too cheap to begin with, I charge 45 for one
size up. Second was the ring one of yours, if so it is a service to
the customer and I would not charge more. If it was done because they
did not trust leaving it with you I would not have charged them extra
to do it, I would have told them to take a hike to another store.

Bill Wismar

Yesterday I did a diamond ring sizing by appointment (while you
wait). Up one size. He charged $25. 

He could have charged $60. I can and do. If it needed to be rhodium
plated, add at least $30. You could ask you employer to go to and read testimonials. Has your employer/would your
employer read any posts on Orchid? As this economy got worse lately I
took a preemptive measure, as sales slowed, I raised my prices. Less
sales, less repair or less custom and I would have to lay off staff,
and I am committed to not doing that. Just the rise in the price of
gold should logically make labor worth more. Sorry but your employer
is fear based. I assume you are frustrated, and I sympathize.

Richard Hart

Hi LaVerne. You pricing instincts are right on. For example the
current Geller book lists sizing a ring with 1 to 4 stones up one
size as $47 for 14K yellow and $75 in white. The highr white gold
price covers the extra costs of rhodium plating. When this becomes a
rush or “while you wait” job the price increase to $71 and $113,
respectively. These prices are a guideline only, you have
flexibility depending on the customer or difficulty of the job, but
if you are not somewhere in this range you are missing the boat. My
employer was pricing very similarly to yours until I talked him into
investing in the Geller price guides this last Sept. When he read
Geller book he agreed to give it a try. He was afraid he’d lose
customers if he raised prices, but he’s willing to try new things. He
was stunned to see that the same percentage of customers balk and
walk at the new Geller based price as were resistant to his earlier
"give away" prices! He quickly realized that instead of existing just
to service his customers at a loss, the shop is now his most
profitable area of the store, without one good customer even
realizing the pricing has changed! It is only in the mind of the
"experienced" jeweler that the new prices are “high”. It is the
jeweler who is resistant to the pricing, not his customer. When you
experiment with repair pricing you will quickly see that if you do
not present the new price with any apology you will get the same
percentage of balk and walks as you always have, if your work is up
to par. It is you expertise as a craftsperson, not you give away
price they come to you for! The cost of a service is not just
materials and labor, but all of the costs of operating a business,
from taxes, to rent, to insurance, etc, that must be figured into the
price of service AND inventory. Would your employer sell his jewelry
to customers at a loss on each sale just because the price seem too
"high" to him? That is what he is doing with his shop and there is no
earthly reason he needs to do this, especially in the current
economic environment where every dollar is vital, and a profitable
shop could mean the difference between survival or closure.

Good luck. JimNewton

He could have charged $60. I can and do

For example the current Geller book lists sizing a ring with 1 to 4
stones up one size as $47 for 14K yellow and 

Apparently Mr. Geller is a little behind the times on this (although
maybe he has an inflation adjuster in the book that I don’t know
about) as are many of you who don’t understand the true value of your
time and labor. Here’s my way of looking at how to charge for
upsizing rings. Every time I solder something I figure that it’s a
$40 charge. This is based on the following: take in time, pick up
time, overhead (you know, paying for lights, phone, advertising, the
gas your torch uses, insurance, etc.), plus the actual labor involved
in the work. Well when you size something up you have two solder
joints so that’s $80. Then you have to charge for the gold you’re
using. A simple, thin 14k shank, upsized one size, I charge $110
(used to be $100 until gold went up). A wider band is priced based
on how big it is but most of them are running in the $125-150 range.
That’s for one size up. Each additional size is more expensive. And
if there are stones that need protection, I charge more for that too.

When you say “I could never charge that much”, just go outside and
look at what your local gas station is charging you for gas. Look at
how much more your groceries cost today. Look at your electric bills.
Look at your freight bills. It’s all more expensive out there and you
all need to charge more, just to keep up with inflation, no matter
the consistent undervaluing of your labor and materials.

Less than 5% of my repair customers say no to my pricing. And
usually the ones that do are the ones I have quoted completely absurd
prices to because their jewelry isn’t worth repairing and I don’t
want to get into the hassle of trying to resolve some problems
created by some previous bad jewelry work. Actually sometimes I wish
more of them would say no. I always have more repair work in house
then I want to deal with. But at least I get paid properly for
working on it.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140


What you say is correct and it looks as if your employer is stuck in
the past.

I hope you are paid a wage and not receiving a cut of what your
employer charges. If you are paid a wage then your main concern
should be the viability of your employers’ business, which means your
job and getting paid. Persuade your employer to buy David Geller’s
book, or even buy it yourself and let you employer ‘find’ it!

If you are paid a cut then start setting your own prices (and now I
would read between the lines of David Geller’s book) because at this
time you are taking the losses and your ‘employer’ receives the
goodwill. Depending on your circumstances this may be very difficult
to do, but persevere and sooner or later take responsibility for what
you charge.

All the best, Alastair.

Why don’t you do a cost analysis for him. Factor in all the
littlecosts that aren’t immediately apparent. No doubt he is losing

I charge at least $20 just to polish a ring. If you just hammer it
up one size I can see charging $45. To cut and weld adding gold, I
charge more. It is not worth the time it takes to clean polishing
compound off my fingers to charge less.

Richard Hart

This exchange on ring sizing pricing has been very productive. I
have been taking all of them in to him. (Keep em coming) At first He
said “That’s absurd to charge that much for a sizing.” I told him,
“Hey! I get paid the same no matter what I do. It’s you that needs to
give yourself a raise.” He is reading the e-mails and is now agreeing
that he will raise his prices some. I know it’s hard for him to wrap
his head around these higher prices when he has been doing this for
30 years.


Hi Bill

I cant wait to read Mr. Gellers response to this, it will probably
take him a few days to recompose himself 

Yes, I beat my head against the wall a lot. A jeweler buys a chain
for $50, sells it for $100 to $150 every day.

Next year that chain costs $80.00. The jeweler sells it for $160 to
$225 without blinking an eye.

Why? He SEES his cost.

I know the cost for repairs and custom. Paid my jewelers 100%
commission (based upon my own book) for nearly 12-15 years before
selling the store. In 1999, least year I owned the store, jewelers
were paid in my store (rounded up).

$32,000 (real slow guy)

Even ME, making the book, was always scared to raise prices. But it
was either me or the IRS, so we paid the jewelers good wages FIRST
and 4 timed the labor (after matching taxes, we got a 3 time markup
on labor + 3 time markup on parts based upon Stullers book).

Closing ratio BEFORE and AFTER raising prices ALWAYS remained at:

Repairs 90-95%
Custom work: 70-80%

I have found suing my book, like the Stuller book, at the counter,
makes the customer believe the price is a “standard” (That’s why I
called it a BLUE BOOK).

I have found that jewelers who are scared and wimpy, having low
prices, sell 90-95% of people they quote.

I have found that jewelers who have some guts and will try raising
their shop prices and speak without a waver in their voice, sell
90-95% of people they quote.

I don’t mean this to sexist ladies. But if a magician cast a spell
on a male jeweler and the jeweler then goes into a bar.

There are beautiful women on the left side and plain women on the
right side and if you KNEW you’d have a 90% chance of going out with
EITHER WOMEN, which one would you go after? (OK, a women goes into
the same bar…)

Experiment for 1 week. If 100% of customers said “YOU’RE NUTS-I’M
NEVER COMING BACK”, would you close up shop?

All that counts is how much money comes in the door, not how many
customers leave their work.

You should be so anal when it comes to selling from the case, where
you’re closing ratio is more likely to be 30-50%. And here you’ve
invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory and only sell
3out of 10 or 5 out of 10.

The shop has less than $5000 in inventory and 90% say yes.

It really is a no brainer.

And don’t tell me your part of the country is different.

A gold rope chain last year, at keystones, was (example) $150. This
year is EASILY $100 MORE!!! (for some folks that’s two tanks of
GAS more)

Going from $28 smaller to $32 small is a measly four bucks.

Going from $12 to solder a chain to $18 is a measly six bucks.

Come on…

David Geller

The newest Geller book is 5.0, 3 ring binder that updates can be

Here are the UPDATED prices as some of you have been discussed.

14kt 3mm or less

Smaller yellow $32
Smaller White Gold $60

1 size larger yellow 3mm or less $47
1 Size larger white gold 3mm or less $75

Each Additional size larger $16

2mm wide 1/2 shank 14kt yellow $168
3mm wide 1/2 shank yellow $172

The shank has a 3 time markup on the material and then ADDS in
$80.00 to install the shank.

The $80 comes from this:

To install a shank takes cutting and soldering at 9:00 o’clock on
the right. Also cutting and solder at 3:00 o’clock on the left.

Sizing a ring smaller for $32 requires cutting and soldering at 6:00
o’clock at the bottom

So to install a shank requires the same labor as SIZING TWO RINGS
SMALLER (2 x $32 - $65.)

But then you have to SHAPE it and round it up, polish. I figured
this shaping (the metal installed (which does not require a torch) is
HALF THE labor of sizing a ring smaller.

Half of $32 (smaller) is $16

So the labor came from:

        $80 in install labor

Then 3 time markup on the gold.

That’s how I got the current price of $168 for a 1/2 shank, 2mm at
$925 gold.

How’d you come by your price? THINK the customer wouldn’t pay this,
so you charged that?

David Geller

David, Thanks for your reply. Why do you charge so much more for
white gold repairs? This is an argument that I need to make with my
store owner!


White Gold Ring Sizing Surcharge is for…

For rhodium of course, unless you do not do rhodium plating then you
don’t need to charge extra!

Hope that helps.

A 1 pint (1 gram) of rhodium plating solution at Sulller today is
$513. A jeweler friend of mine who is also a college graduate chemist
told me you can get 75 to 100 platings out of a bottle of rhodium
plating solution. if you can get 75 to 100 platings per bottle (1
gram bottle), each plating has a cost of goods of between $5.13 to
$6.84 for the material. If you triple the cost of goods on the
rhodium itself, the rhodium you used would sell for

$15.50 to $20.50.

I had originally figured $10 to $15 in labor to DIP the ring into
the bath.

Therefore if you use a 1 gram bottle of rhodium plating (1 pint)
solution and add $20.50 retail on the rhodium itself and add the $15
to dip, then RETAIL is $35. Many folks charge $45.

If you buy a 2 gram bottle (a whiter color-many folks use this on
their stock and the 1 gram bottle on repairs) then the bottle cost
$1010 today at Stuller. So your cost of goods and retail for rhodium
only is Cost of goods 3 time markup

$10.10 $30.00
#13.45 $40.00

If you add $15 to dip, plus the $40.00 rhodium itself at retail
you’d charge $55.00. This is using a 2 gram bottle of rhodium. Again
many folks charge $45 and up to $75 for this.

You should look and see if you bought a 1 gram bottle or a 2 gram
bottle. Most folks buy a 1 gram bottle and $45 is fine in my book and
this assumes my chemist friend was right, which I’d agree with (75 to
100 platings per bottle). I’ve seen jewelers talk themselves into
telling every customer $9000 an ounce and get bigger bucks. There are
31+ grams to an ounce. If you divide $9000 by 31 grams then a gram of
rhodium is $290.32. The bottle of plating solution cost YOU $513.00
and $290.00 is the cost of the rhodium swimming inside the bottle and
the difference is the markup by the supplier on the rhodium and to
make the bath, the bottle, profit, etc.

So whatever gives your brain justification to sell for more, go with
it. I figure costs, markups and add in labor.

Hope this helps.