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Pricing those custom waxes

Top of the Morning! Would anyone out there care to share their
formula for pricing their wax carving? I have been carving for years
but I was always under the employ of other companies and was
compensated hourly.Now, I work out of the house doing custom work
for several local stores. I may be slower than some, I don’t really
know, but I’m good. I just finished a wax for a emerald cut, 15x10,
chrome tourmaline, that is held in place by two rows of channel set
dia.'s,one row on either side. Since the tourmaline has to be channel
set first and then the dia.'s, I spent a lot of time getting the
seat just right.All typical stuff. I probably spent about 18 to 20
hours on it, I guess i need some feedback on what others are
charging because I have this mental block about charging more than
200 to 250 for a complex wax. Havent read Mr. Gellers book yet so I
dont know if he covers things like wax. To those store owners out
there who pay outside carvers for their waxes, Whats the most youve
paid, and what is the average. I sometimes spend 40 or 50 hours on
one, more time I’m sure than if I were ‘on the clock’ working for
someone else. So, how does one balance out ones possible slowness
with a fair price that I dont lose money on? 20 degrees this mornin
with some snow for the skiers moving in.

Hi, Kevin.

I was reluctant to reply to this at first, because I’m a little
flabbergasted, I admit. I’m not sure where to start, but the good
thing about Orchid is that you’ll likely get a variety of replies. I
carve waxes, at times, and I know a really excellent carver where
that’s all he does. This is in San Francisco, Ca. If I sell a wax
(more often it’s my own work), for a fairly simple ring I might get
$40-$60. Maybe $125 if it’s complicated. The wax carver I mentioned
I know got something like $200 for what was basically a school ring,
with carved lettering and stuff. What flabbergasts me is what you
are doing for 18-20 hrs on a ring (I’m not dumping on you…) I made a
wax yesterday with an oval center and a round diamond on either side,
all 1/2 bezels, and it took me about 1 1/2 hrs. from wax tube to
ring, at a normal pace. That’s a basic job, yes. I would say that
there are two possibilities here: Either you are even better than you
admit, your work is truly superb, and that wax IS worth $600. That’s
a perfectly plausible thought - I haven’t seen your work. The other
possibility is that, if you expect to get paid, you need to speed up.
If the going rate is $50, and it takes you 2 hrs., and me 1 hr.,
that’s how I make more money for my experience. Meaning that working
faster isn’t working FASTER, it’s being confident and efficient. It’s
not rushing. I’ve known several jewelers like you - we call them
"watchmakers" - methodical, precise, unhurried. One in particular was
the finest craftsman I’ve ever known, which is a lot, and worth his
weight in gold. If that’s you, and your work is so superb, don’t
worry about prices, just give them a bill. If, instead, you are
taking 20 hours to make something another can do in 2 or 3, then you
both get $100, and he makes $50/hr. and you make $2/hr. The industry
pays for results, not time - if a lot of time shows in the work, yes.
If it just took you a long time to do it, no.

Hi Kevin;

I carve waxes wholesale for retailers and designers. I charge $50
U.S. per hour. But after 3 decades of wax carving, I’m wicked fast at
it. It’s not because I’m so great, it’s just that after doing it so
long, I don’t have to think much about it, I pretty much know where
the form is in the wax and the steps I’m going to go through to get
it. Here are some examples.

A simple, half round band takes me about 20 minutes. It will be
completely smooth and finished, the correct size, and ready to cast.

A cathedral style engagement ring with some channels on either side
for stones, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Most waxes are medium complex, and usually run 1 to 1 &1/2 hours.

Last week day I carved a wax with a square bezel for a princess cut
surrounded by cluster style set melee which took around 2 &1/2

I did a copy of an antique filligree ring with 3 bead/plate set
stones top and center, but if was for someone who doesn’t bright cut,
so it wax “pre-bright cut” ready to just clean up and push beads. It
was alover pierced and engraved, in the wax. It won’t look as crisp
as one that is properly bright cut and engraved, but it’ll be pretty
good. That one took me nearly 4 hours.

For me to spend more than 5 hours on a wax, it would have to be
either very large or very elaborate. By the way, I work under pretty
strong magnification, at least a 7 optivisor and sometimes a 10.

David L. Huffman

I charge by the hour for my model making services. You really have to
look at your overhead, even though you are working at home. This
includes the depreciation of your studio space including start up
costs for tools, furnishings, lighting, and the monthly expenses as
well- utilities, insurance, delivery costs etc. Then add on your
hourly pay rate based on the hours you work. $250 probably doesn’t
make sense for 18-20 hours of work, on the other hand, fabricating a
metal model or using rapid prototyping may be a more cost effective
use of time. It has to make economic sense to you, your client
stores, and the customer. If your quality is there, people will pay
a premium for your effort.

Rick Hamilton

Hi Kevin

I have this mental block about charging more than 200 to 250 for a
complex wax............... I sometimes spend 40 or 50 hours on one,
more time I'm sure than if I were 'on the clock' working for
someone else." 

In essence I think you need to work on your speed. Kate Wolf has
classes on wax carving as does

You need to pick up some speed. I know your “40-50” hours is not
typical but if you work 50 hours and charge $250, you’re making $5.00
an hour. At 40 hours for $250 that’s $6.25 an hour.

All below minimum wage.

You should be charging about $65 for your time and that includes
down time.

If you work on a wax for 4 hours and take a 30 minute break before
the next wax, that 1st wax was 4.50 hours. At $65 an hour that’s
$292.50 for the wax.

Even at $45 an hour that’s still $202.50.

Speed is critical. Yes quality but if making money doing what you
love is important, then you need some speed.

If in your last job you were paid $40,000 a year ($19.00 an hour)
then you were paid $85.50 for the 4.5 hours. The difference of $85 to
the $250 you charge ($168.00) has to pay for your overhead and also
your down time when you can’t charge.

I do consulting to jewelry stores. I charge a lot more per day than
I need to pay my daily expenses because the day before I travel and
make no money traveling and the day after I travel home and make no
money traveling. So my client is being charged 2 days that they don’t
see because to book me for 4 days is 6 days of my valuable time.

You have to charge for the other hours where you don’t have a file
in your hand. $45 to $65 (with today’s costs $65 is better) should be
your hourly rate, and add in 25% to what you thought it took for the
down time.

This is what I found when I did the time study in my store years
ago. It took 25% longer than I figured and cost 25% more per hour
because of matching taxes and benefits.

Let’s look at the $85.50 you MADE at the previous employer.

A. 7.15% came out for fica and such ($6.11)

B. Your employer matched it and NOW you’ll have to do the same

C. So out of your $85.50, you will be left with today $73.27.

D. Out of the $73.27 you’ll have to now pay for

Office Supplies
Health Insurance
Other stuff.

You’ll now have to charge enough money for you to say “Holly cow,
that’s a lot of money”

But you’ll have to charge it and your vendors/overhead will get 3/4
of it.

Geller pricing? Hand carve a wax starts at $530 retail. A little
over double your wholesale price (keystone). Doesn’t mean you can’t
charge more (our top price is about $800 for very, very detailed) but
for you to make the EQUIVILENT of working for someone else, a 40 hour
wax must charge at $19 an hour $760.00!

Go see what you can do to speed up your skills.

By the way, my book is based upon an INEFFICIENT Jeweler. Someone
who is being interrupted a lot. Not necessarily slow, just ONLY puts
out 5.5 hours worth of work a day.

David Geller
510 Sutters Point
Sandy Springs, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565

It is people like you who makes the rest of us struggle with charging
the our customers because you are giving it away and pulling down the
standard. What do deserve to survive and how much is that hourly. Ask
yourself questions of this sort and answer them. What I charge is
irelevant to someone in manhatten or alaska or florida. What do you
need and then how do you get it. That’s the answer you need from your
self. for 18 hours charging 250.00 you are a criminal :slight_smile:

for 18 hours charging 250.00 you are a criminal 

Nice Israel. Real nice. You call someone a criminal who you have
never even met.

what do you need and then how do you get it. 

isnt the way that I look at life my friend. My customers are also my
friends and if I know that I am not as fast as others they could
seek out I cannot in good conscience charge them for 20 hours when
the job, by all rights should take 10. You dont know me sir, for all
you know I could be slower because of a handicap of some sort and
you would tell the world that that makes me a criminal. Lighten up

Thank you everyone for your helpful replies. More speed is
definitely key. I forgot to mention that part of the time on this
last one was design and numerous sketches being sent back and
forth,because I was trying to tease the idea out of the customers
brain(slow going sometimes).then you get "lets take another
millimeter off of this angle here,etc. etc… But I definitely would
like to pick up speed. I’ve been a jeweler for 20 something years,but
I only really started teaching myself wax carving about 10 yrs. ago
and I’m sure that Kate and others could teach me some techniques that
would benefit me.(Kate, by the way, I really love your gold and
silver colored waxes ! I’ve been using it for a month or so now.
Great texture.) I’m thinking ‘instructional videos’ now, might help
me to shave some time off.

Thanx and Happy Holidays Everyone!

classes on wax carving as does 

I’m assuming Mr. Geller means

Long ago someone told me, about designing jewelry, “Imagine if your
plumber had to wait until he was, like, ‘inspired’”. So, let’s put
this whole thing in perspective. The plumber comes, and needs to
change the drain, about a 1 1/2 hour job @ $60 per. That’s $90. But
he has to be inspired, so he chews on it for awhile, etc, etc. you
get my point, and the job runs into 20 hours. That’s $1200 for a $90
job. You may think, “Ok, I’m the plumber, what’s your point?” That’s
what Flate Rate Manuals are for, no matter what the industry -
plumbers, automechanics and even medicine use them. The jewelry
business has a “casual” flat rate manual, meaning that if you say
you need a 3 stone ring of a certain format, we all know about what
that’s going to involve. Meaning that you’re not going to fool
anybody into paying $1200 for a $90 wax - you’ll be the fool. I’m
reading here about $750 waxes and such, and it’s like “Huh?”. How
many of those would you like carved, cast and finished in gold for
$700? I could use a new car…

I started in 1974 as a trade shop, by 3 years later dropped trade
and was full retail. Had a showcase of castings and we reset
customers stones and handed them their old gold back. Gold was at $85
an ounce. $125 to remount a new ring with 5 low base heads was

1978 or so gold went up to $150-$200 an ounce, business dropped off.
We thought the world would come to an end. Who would buy mtgs at $200
gold? :slight_smile:

So we stocked waxes and CAST with the customer’s gold and charged
for heads and setting. In the 70’s we charged $50 to cast a wax,

I thought like most of you “No one would pay higher prices”

You and I were correct. No one would pay. The biggest #1 reason they
wouldn’t pay was because I WOULD NEVER ASK. True. If I didn’t think
they would pay (after all I am the smartest one here in the store) I
would ask-god forbid they’d say NO. But I never gave them a chance to
say yes.

Forward to 1986. $830,000 in sales, 3/4 from the shop. 5 jewelers, a
waxer, shop foreman, 4 sales people, all doing repairs and custom.

Paid the jewelers $9-$11 an hour. Sales people $7-$11 an hour.

Jewelers pay had nothing to do with what we charged. Used a trade
shop repair list and doubled it. Called my competitors and stole
their list (smart! Steal someone’s list that isn’t doing much better
than me. Real Smart)

End of 1986, owed 1/4 million to accounts payables and $80,000 for
payroll taxes I couldn’t afford to pay.

Christmas Eve lay off and fired half of the company -8 people.

Started 1987 with $125 in check book.

Summer of 1987 IRS put a lien on my business and house. Don’t tell
me you had a bad day.

So I went to a lawyer and declared bankruptcy. Don’t tell me you had
a bad month.

August 1987 met an accountant who had been a watchmaker for a while.
He showed me they way to make money from the shop.

Fix my costs.

My current costs had nothing to do with my charges.

Pay a guy $11 an hour and he takes 5 hours ($55) to cut a wax and we
charge $125. Or whatever we charge is just too darn close to our
costs. But we had no one way of knowing.

Ben, the accountant watchmaker makes a deal with IRS to pay off
taxes and we withdraw the bankruptcy proceedings.

We buy the jewelers a time clock and clock on the envelope every
procedure. Ben shows me how to pay commission to the jewelers. With
the time clock data and in 1987 thinking I should pay $35,000 a year
($15 an hour) I make my first price book with in it what we’d pay a
jeweler to do a job, paying them an average of $15 an hour.

I announce on Monday that we will stop paying hourly wages starting
today. No more $9-$11 an hour, only these monies we figured up. I was

I announced that on Monday, I had 5 jewelers.

On Saturday I had 2 left.

Within 6 months the 2 guys who stayed were making 50% more-$13 to
$16 an hour, working 40 hours. Our money drain stopped and we became

We did a 3 time markup on the parts (that cost was always easy to

We marked up the jewelers pay 4 times. After adding in matching
taxes, we ended up with a 3 time markup there too.

Shop costs were now known and we tripled them. With goof ups, redos
and freebies, we ended up with a 2.5 markup after all was said and

Knowing our costs for parts and LABOR we obviously now raised our
retail prices.

A lot

I was scared to speak the words in this book I printed for our

Scared to death, but I wasn’t too scared. When you sit across the
table from an IRS agent who says

“Mr. Geller, we have the power to take your home and business is we
like. We have also charged you the most available penalty and
interest allowed by law.”

In 4 years they had charged us on a $65,000 debt, $60,000 in
interest and penalties.

It was now “Screw charging what I thought was right, I have to
charge enough to pay jewelers and staff well and pay my bills”

My prices went up dramatically,

Whereas we had been charging $50 to cast a wax, it went to $125 in
the 1=late 1980’s. Lots of things went up 50% and more.

I was scared.

But I SPOKE THE WORDS that were in the book I printed, along with
the sales staff, who gave me a hard time for charging “too much.”

Besides being cash flow positive, the thing that happened really
ticked me off was:

DID A $50 WAX.

Man, that was a bummer.

But I was still scared.

We had a showroom of 8 showcases, 3 were filled with waxes. Over
2000-we actually counted.

Typical custom job was $125 cast a wax with some alteration charges
($50-$150) and setting charges.

Very few custom wax jobs. We KNEW no one would pay, we only offered
$125 waxes. Custom waxes were few and far between in sales.

  1. Sales people were being paid $7-$11 an hour plus 1-2%
    commission. I attend a Harry Friedman workshop. How to run a detail
    store as a selling machine. Come back and changed the sales staff to
    100% commission, like the jewelers.

They all said “If you do that our pay will drop and we’ll quit.”

When you get Christmas cards from your IRS agent because they know
you so well, you don’t care. :slight_smile:

They could quit, I wanted the business to thrive. I attended in
March 1991. Come back and started instituting Harry’s suggestions. In
May I brought Harry himself into the store for 3 days. Cost me
$12,000 and I had to put it on 3 credit cards. Best money I ever

June 1st made an announcement like the jewelers

“No more hourly pay. Only commission, you get paid for what you

They baulked. No one quit.

But they were right, for 40 days and 40 nights their pay dropped
because they were all underperforming. But on the 41st day they “got
it”. Sales took off.

It took me 18 years to get to 1.1 million (1990). In that year, 1991
sales went up 45% to $1,450,000.00

Sales staff was making $17,000 to $24,000 a year. Within 3 years
they were making in the $30,000 to $45,000 range, the $17,000 sales
person was now making the most money. The $24,000 sales person, who
had been a manager at a Sterlings store, was making the least.

Funny thing occurred. Remember the 2000 waxes we cast at $125 each?
Sales dropped off dramatically in 2-3 years. The sale staff started
selling NOTHING but custom waxes.

Under $7 an hour and 2% commission they too thought no one would

At 100% commission they only suggestion custom waxes.

They saw no reason to get paid $12.50 to sell a wax when they could
make $32.50 to sell a custom wax where the customer would get what
they truly wanted-a one of a kind design.

I kept doing studies because we needed to continually fine tune
EMPLOYEE PAY first and we just marked it up pay like merchandise.

Every time I raised prices I got butterflies in my stomach. Every
time we never lost business and sales grew.

Did people complain? OF COURSE they did. But they complained at
lower prices too.

I’d much rather hear a customer complain as they PLACE THEIR ORDER
(never had a locked door-they could have walked) than listen to
vendors and IRS agents.

(You don’t want to be in front of 16 employees on Christmas Eve
handing out severance paychecks because you can’t pay your bills
because YOU charge too little. In 2 weeks that will have been 20
years ago)

I ended up having something none of you have:


Yep, they complained. Kept hearing year after year:


True story.

When I sold the store to the top paid sales person in January 2000,
the year before we did 1.8 million with 3/4 of that coming from the

Average repair was $65 (Someone mentioned a $500 repair was
average-this is without any big stones and such. Labor and small
parts only).

Our average custom was $750. This is without material other than a
few heads. I didn’t count larger s as custom as custom is labor
mostly. So if we made a $750 ring with customers gold (we did) and
they bought a $1500 tanzanite, we took the tanzanite out of the mix.

Which means labor mostly, to make a ring, was $750.

If the customer didn’t have gold, only a credit card, it was usually
a $1500 item.

In 1999 we were charging $20 to size a ring, $95 for a half shank,
$175 to cast a wax with your gold and a custom wax started at $400
and there were 4 levels of complexity and a custom wax went up to

We closed the same number of people.

9 out of 10 said "Repair it"
7 or 8 out of 10 said "make it"
3-4 out of 10, after looking in the case said “I’ll buy it”.

The jewelers were making $30,000; $44,000; $49,000 and $61,000 a
year in 1999. Waxer made $45,000 a year. Sales staff made $39,000 to
$61,000. Remember the young girl in 1991 making $17,000? When I sold
the store, Denise was making $44,500 working 4 days a week. 100%
commission selling repairs and custom work 3/4 of her day.

Knowing what my costs were to make ring and marking labor up like
merchandise saved my business and made it profitable. Paying the
staff commission raised their pay easily 50%.

Having a price book to show customers got the prices and got the
customer to say “O.K., go ahead” and not ask for a better price
nearly as often. “Can’t you do better?”

So for most of you who say a $750 wax is ludicrous, learning how to
sell it and opening your mouth with confidence and saying the number,
having a good reputation and your showroom, staff and yourself looks
like this is the kind of place that does quality-you will get it.

I had a reason to raise my prices. Too many people were dependant
upon how well the store did, myself included.

I didn’t make my price book to sell to jewelers, it just happened.

But if I hadn’t gone through what I did, I might just have been
working for one of you folks for the past 20 years.

No thanks, I nor my staff would work for those lower wages.

Maybe you don’t have an IRS agent sitting across from you. I didn’t
from 1974 until 1987. But all of those years was a struggle-self

You don’t have to pay commission to make the right money, just
charge more than you’re charging now. That’s all. (Commission does

Ever had a snow storm that closed the shop/store for a day or 3? Did
you close up? What’s the WORST that could happen if you raised your
prices? Would 100% of customer walk like you had a snow storm?

Nope, you’d find 5-10% would walk in the beginning and many of them
would come back because of your good workmanship.

Car dealers are having a hard time, margins are slim. But the shops
in the back are always profitable.

Like them, you’ll get your money asked because


If you ask for $50 you’ll get it 90% of the time.
If you ask $70 you’ll also get it 90% of the time.

You just choose which number to ask.

Your choice.

20 years ago this month I had the most gut wrenching Christmas.

I hope yours is wonderful, profitable, well paid and your bills are
all paid in January.

Happy Holidays

David Geller
510 Sutters Point
Sandy Springs, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565

I'm reading here about $750 waxes and such, and it's like "Huh?"

You’d be amazed in retail how many folks get it. A $750 wax is an 8
hour day doing one wax.

David Geller

David Geller
510 Sutters Point
Sandy Springs, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565

Meaning that you're not going to fool anybody into paying $1200
for a $90 wax - you'll be the fool. I'm reading here about $750
waxes and such, and it's like "Huh?" 

I don’t do many waxes as I prefer to make up models for customers in
metal but my base charge to make up a custom piece–wax or model (and
by custom I mean anything I don’t already make exactly the same, or
have made in the past and I have a mold or model for) is $850. I get
that price all the time for my work. No one who is buying from me is
a fool. They just know that they want my work. They know that they
won’t get what I offer anywhere else. And frankly, I’m far from the
most expensive for this. Shreve, Crump and Low (at least before their
latest bankruptcy) starts their custom work at $1500. Maybe on the
wholesale end you can’t get these kind of prices but I know a few
carvers who’s work is certainly worth that much.

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

Whats wrong with 18 hours for $250? Thats less than $14/HR. I don’t
know about anyone else, but I think anyone who has the tenacity and
skill to stick to it for 18 hours on a single job, oughta get at
least that. This is something that not just anyone can do.

Ed in Kokomo

Meaning that you're not going to fool anybody into paying $1200 for
a $90 wax - you'll be the fool. I'm reading here about $750 waxes
and such, and it's like "Huh?" 

I’ve carved many waxes that take me anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to
complete and no one has ever balked at my final price. It depends on
the complexity of the model. Most ‘average’ waxes are 2.5 to 4 hours,
but I always love to do the more complicated high ticket custom
jobs… that’s what I love the most !

My work speaks for itself… and I never compromise quality for
speed even though at this point in my career I am a pretty fast
carver. I’m worth every dime I charge.

Margie Mersky

I don't do many waxes as I prefer to make up models for customers
in metal but my base charge to make up a custom piece--wax or model
(and by custom I mean anything I don't already make exactly the
same, or have made in the past and I have a mold or model for) is
$850. I get that price all the time for my work. 

What does the customer get for $850? The model is what metal?

The model is based on a certain number of hours?

The model is $850, then hte labor to fabricate the piece or cast and
finish is what? If you have a mold, the price is what in relationship
to the original that included the making of the original model?

Richard Hart

You'd be amazed in retail how many folks get it. A $750 wax is an
8 hour day doing one wax. 

I don’t do many waxes, I’m not good at it. I have trouble seeing
contours and proportions in dull wax. I do much better directly in

But regarding retail price of a custom job (really, does the
customer care how you arrived at it?), for something ‘from scratch’ I
get 1-2000 usually. Once I was asked to duplicate a Swiss made
baguette ring that historically kept losing diamonds despite the
maker’s attempt to correct it. Price was about 4K including a 15
pointer. Might sound like a lot to charge until one considers that my
version never lost a stone because it was built like a brick house,
no shortcuts or crossed fingers like the original (nice look badly
executed…and no it wasn’t infringement). My point here is that if
you address and cure the client’s needs or wants in a way that cannot
be surpassed…you will get the work and you will get your price.

Ofcourse that does take time.

A $750 wax is an 8 hour day doing one wax. 

Now I see. We had a referral of a lady who wanted an anniversary ring
made for her grandmother. It was to be seven diamonds - her diamonds,
and we settled on a shared prong in white gold. She had been quoted,
in a retail store here in SF, $1500 for this. Keep in mind that this
is with her diamonds, just the ring. I told her, quite truthfull,
that I could sell her the ring WITH diamonds for less than that. I am
loyal to retailers I do business with, buy I AIN’T gonna protect that
kind of retailer. I bought a CNC wax for $85, we’re talking $30 in
gold, you figure it out… Needless to say, I have a customer for
life, and the retailer will never see her or any of her friends

The plumber comes, and needs to change the drain, about a 1 1/2
hour job AT $60 per. That's $90. But he has to be inspired, so he
chews on it for awhile, etc, etc. you get my point, and the job
runs into 20 hours. That's $1200 for a $90 job. You may think, "Ok,
I'm the plumber, what's your point?" That's what Flate Rate Manuals
are for, 

Flat Rate Manual! Aha! That’s what we need here on Albion Ridge. Of
course, the plumber would probably be too stoned to understand it…

When I moved here, a carpenter was engaged to build a washer/dryer
shed on the back of my cottage (no room inside, and outside is de
riguer up here, anyway). It took him a week and a half, for which he
charged (my landlady) by the hour, although I guess she was lucky
that he usually didn’t show up until 3 PM. He kept, saying, " I have
to vibe it out" – then, inspired, he would do a little work, decide
the vibes were wrong, and take it apart. One day, when the job was
finally 2/3 completed, he disappeared. I think he may have headed to
a Rainbow Tribe gathering…

And the roof leaks, right over my washer. If I leave the lid open, I
can have emergency water on hand, in case we have a long power
outage, and the well pump doesn’t work.

Sorry, guys, I know this has nothing to do with the thread, but I
couldn’t resist…

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US

My opinion is that David Geller and Nanz Aalund have completely
different client bases.

Nanz’s customers for custom design through department stores are
more likely higher end clients that most retail jewelry store have as
an average. Nordstrom and Neiman-Marcus customers are going to be
more high end, are prepared to spend more. Prices for designer
jewelry is higher to begin with.

David Geller’s experience is from the trenches of a retail jeweler’s
experience, and by his knowledge of working with many retail jewelers
that have a common mental frame of reference.

Nanz’s experience is from her experience with her retail venues that
most retail jewelry’s can’t compete with, with the exception of
those who cultivate high end custom work.

I believe that if any jeweler tried using David Geller’s system, they
could make some change that would result is an increase in some of
their prices, whether it is 20%, 50% or 100%. Any change That is
successful gives you the support to make more changes. I used to
charge $10 for sizing sterling rings. I tried raising the price to
$20 and $30 to discourage people. I got tired of doing repairs. I
had to stop doing those repairs, almost everyone said okay to the new

If I did a wax pattern, I charged about $125-$150. If I sent out a
difficult one to a wax carver, And I had to charge $250, people paid
the price without hesitation. What prevented me from pricing the
waxes I did at $250? My work was definitely worth the price. I could
not justify valuing my work as worth that much. I do now. I read
others on this forum that seem quite content to make a public
declaration as to how and why they don’t FEEL they are worth
charging more, and some have issues with valuing their work as being
worth the value their customer would gladly pay someone else for
something comparable.

David is right for his experience, and Nanz is right for her
experience. Nanz has incredible credentials and experience for the
arena she has been is. David’s experience is different. He has been
trying to teach people who are subborn to make changes where the
major resistance is not the customer, but the mental condition of the
sales person selling repairs or custom.

It is possible something was taken the wrong way for someone to use
the word bully. Calling someone a bully is being defensive. It might
be a matter of perspective, especially if someone has no experience
with Geller’s price book. And I do not think David’s objective is to
sell his book. He gives a lot of info for free on this forum, and I
believe he has sincere intention to help people understand how to
overcome what seems to be a popular condition us jewelers have. There
are a lot of jewelers who struggle with prices and how to manage
inventory and repairs and how to make more of a profit, especially in
these challenging times of different types of competition we

Richard Hart


Whats wrong with 18 hours for $250? Thats less than $14/HR. 

I pay myself 20 for weaving and 15 for stringing. Stringing beads is
something anyone can do and I still pay myself 15 for it.