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I am curious as to what others are charging for custom work. For
comparison we charge $35.00 a dwt. for 14k yellow, plus setting
and findings. Thats wholesale to retail jewelers. So for a 5 dwt.
14k ladies ring with 6 channel set melee and a 1/2 ct. 6 prong
head, we would charge $275.00 (that does not include the cost of
the stones). The retailer would then turn around and sell it for
from $400.00 to $700.00 depending on mark-up. What are you people
charging? We sure don’t want to be too cheap!

Mark P.

I’m very new to this retail pricing business and I may be
totally out to lunch on my pricing, but when I am doing it the
way I should, I charge $25/hr for bench work and $50/hr for
design and wax. This covers hourly rate plus overhead. I then
add my material cost and keystone (double) the total. I only use
the design rate for one of a kind special order. If I’m just
throwing some Stuller findings together, I consider it bench
work. If I’m making a piece on spec in my ‘spare’ time, I
usually just mark up 4x the material cost. That seems to put
prices in the right ballpark. Hope this helps and doesn’t just
confuse the issue. (The truth is I have almost never charged
what I should yet. I still find it difficult to think of my
time as worth charging for.)

Sharon Ziemek
GoldStones, Inc.

Sharon, although I havent seen your work, I think goldsmiths
undervalueing their work is all to widespread. My customers are
retail jewelers, about 25 of them, and they have no problem
charging what seems excessive prices, and people pay! I charge by
weght rather than time because the jewelers are able to
calculate their rough cost more easily, We then have a price list
for findings and setting etc… Your pricing seems about right to
me, and your worth it.

In a message dated 97-03-23 04:28:07 EST, you write:

<< I then add my material cost and keystone (double) the total. >>

Double just the material cost, or your hourly rate too?


Gayle Morris

When I am doing a custom piece, I try to keystone the hourly
rate also. Since I won’t be drawing a salary at this fun job for
2 or 3 years, I have some leeway in that part of my pricing, but
my goal is to be at a point where I always take a profit on my
time. The pricing policy I use was based on a book that JCK puts
out called “Jewelers’ Guide to Creative Pricing”. It costs $19.95
plus $2.50 for S&H and can be ordered by phone (610)964-4490 or
FAX (610)964-4481. For a new business, it was very helpful and
some of the points discussed are generally interesting. A lot of
it is just plain common sense.

Hope this helps.

Sharon Ziemek

I’m confused! If keystone is double, is triple keystone six times
the cost. Please explain. Thanks, Steve Dodge

Absolutely! Include your hourly raate if you want to get paid
for your services.

Keystone is the your cost of the item times two. Triple
keystone is your cost of the item times three. Any labor that
you supply would be added to the original cost of the item, and
then multiplied as needed.

Allan Freilich

keystone is cost times two triple keystone is cost times three

Regarding the issue of your confusion on the terms “keystone” It
is as follows. Keystone is double your overhead cost. Triple
keystone is triple your overhead cost. I know it sounds like
triple should be 6 times cost but it is not. Why I’m not sure.
There is some obscure answer out there and it is most likely
rooted in an outdated tradition , but that is the way the
industry is currently run. Regards RED

I'm confused! If keystone is double, is triple keystone six times
the cost. Please explain. Thanks, Steve Dodge

Keystone is double the cost, triple keystone is triple the
wholesale or dealers cost. A common markup among some stores is
Keystone plus 10, meaning the retailer’s cost is doubled plus an
addition 10%. Most of the catalogues are triple keystone, which I
gladly show the customer and tell them I can sell to them at a
50% discount, sounds good to them and I make a reasonable markup
for just ordering and not having to stock something.

Jeffrey Everett

I was wondering whether there was someone out there who would be
kind enough to help me and provide me with insightful advice or
refer me to sources that could supply the following information
pertinent to my current business situation.

I have a precious metals client who will be ordering from me
anywhere from 10,000 - 100,000 pieces of the item I sell. Now,
originally, this client ordered what he wished in half ounce silver
and the markup on the items to him per piece was roughly 60% (my
cost + 60% markup for a wholesale price to him of about $22.50 an
item). Now, this same client is looking to order the same items as
before only in one-half ounce gold, which presents a whole
different pricing matter. My question is this: Do I base my markup
on the gold pieces on a “dollars-and-cents” amount similar to the
markup I had on the silver ($8.50 an item) or do I base my markup
on a determined percentage based on the price of a gold piece
(assume one-half ounce 18 karat gold pieces). I could really use
some expert advice on this because I want to do what’s fair and
right all the way around. Thanks for any help.


my rule of thumb is retail should be 5x the cost of the gold in a
item. Vernon

my rule of thumb is retail should be 5x the cost of the gold in a
item. Vernon 

Vernon - I’m just starting to work with gold by incorporating it
in my silver work. I have a pretty good pricing structure if all
silver, but I’ve been wondering if my silver pricing guidelines
will work when combining gold and silver. Do you have a rule of
thumb here or any thoughts? Thanks

Bacliff, Gulf Coast of Texas, USA

Hi to all! I am a new user of thith forum. My work I am from Kiev, Ukraine. Whether
there are among you jewellers wich speak russian? And who can help
with definition of the prices on those Operations, which I put on my
site? As hou the price for operation is in general determined In
civilized countries? Answer, please, if can On mine mail. Thank you!

Hallo Kimel,

I have looked at your side, Your work starts of a bit classic Russian
with a bit Celtic influence. Nice, About your prices . It depends on
what you see as your marked. If you want so sell in Europe you can
price in Euro’s. everybody can easy recalculate to there own currency.
And in 1 year everything will be priced in Euro’s. In the Netherlands
everything is now already double priced in Guilders and Euro’s. For
America you should price your work in dollars. Also it is wise to
find out about the shipping costs to several countries. and the way
they will pay you. Europeans do most payment by banking, and the
Americans by credit card.


Martin Niemeijer