Pricing Formula for Jewelry Pieces

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Editor's Note: Pricing jewelry pieces is one of the most challenging things jewelry designers must do. Price a piece too low and you may not cover your costs. Price it too high and no one may ever buy it. In this new occasional series, we ask jewelers to identify a piece they made and break down how they arrived at the final price.

Jeweler Jo Haemer breaks down her Pricing Formula for Jewelry Pieces

This month, Jo Haemer of Timothy W. Green in Portland, Oregon, reviews her pricing formula for an 18k white gold necklace with carved chalcedony flowers, fancy colored sapphires, and diamonds.

Pricing Formula for Jewelry Pieces

The necklace was commissioned by a private collector of our work. She had seen the chalcedony flowers laid out on Tim's bench with a rough sketch a year or so ago and had admired them. When she recently stopped in to pick up a repair and order earrings for her stepdaughter, she asked if we had done anything with them. Tim took the hint, finishing the layout and sourcing the additional stones needed to complete the piece.


Tim purchased the carved chalcedony flowers about two years ago. They cost $260 in all. For this piece, he marked them up 2.5 to $650. We normally double our costs, but we added another half percent because we knew that we got them for a bargain. We try to factor in replacement costs of materials regardless of what they initially cost us.

We've had some of the sapphires for so long that we couldn't replace them for what we paid for them, so we charged current prices. The sapphires are 2 ctw, and, after consulting with a local colored stone supplier on current prices, we charged $550 per carat.

The diamonds are 0.57 ctw, and we charged $1,300 per carat, which is keystone our cost.


The 18k white gold for the flowers and the chalcedony settings weighed 18 dwts. For metals, we charge keystone of our cost at that day's price. For this piece, we charged $120 per dwt.

In addition to the 18k, we purchased an 18k white gold wheat chain for $425, and charged $850.


The labor charge was $2,950, which included all of the labor. We did not charge a design fee because we had cart blanche on the design, so Tim made up the design as he went. Normally we charge $75 per hour for both design and bench labor for gold. For platinum, we charge $100 per hour because it is more labor intensive.

Total Price: $8,450

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The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. “More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry,” says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.

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