This is for those people who sell their own jewelry. Do you truly make a
living wage for yourself this way ?
My sole supprt and income since I was 22 has come from jewelry making. It
has taken time and patiece to learn the skills to make a good living and
gold is the material of (my)choice, but many people do make a living as
jewelers or metalsmiths. You do have to believe that you can do it,
My work sells at the shows I attend. People seem to like what I make. I
will never totally understand pricing. I’ve seen “craft” items sell at
any price you can name. Same thing for styles of work. I’ve seen people
buy jewelry from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Do other sole proprietors need a second source of income ? I would love
to make my living off my handwork, but now is not the time.
There is no accounting for taste.
Last night I attended a fund raising auction where a moonstone and
sapphire ring that I donated sold for $600 and a birdhouse got bid up to
$10,500. Go figure. I put a reserve price of $400 on my ring, so someone
got “a deal” and I was fairly happy.
Keep working at your designs, techniques and pricing. Three years is just
the beginning of a career. If you are selling now and people like your
work, you must be doing more than a few things right. $5-20 is a difficult
price range to make a living from- the youngest member of our studio has a
price range from $40-$350 and is starting to do well with his work. He
uses cabs, sterling, niobium, copper, and gold alloy accents- so his
material costs are pretty reasonable per piece. He does often ask the rest
of us for pricing help, but then again so do I. Make some rings, pins, and
earrings that sell for more (say $40-125) and see how they go. Never
appologise for your prices, only you really know what it takes to make
Richard D. Hamilton
A goldsmith on Martha’s Vineyard
Fabricated 14k, 18k, 22k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography,
and sailing whenever I can…