Hi! My name is Sam. my wife has made jewelry her whole life. I plan on working locally with a silver smith to make (hopefully) an anniversary present for my wife next year. I hope to be able to ask the occasional question or pickup some tips.
On a different note and I'm not sure if it is appropriate to ask-
I bought a pair of earring from my wife online after shopping around locally- 14KW white gold .95CT TW diamond earrings. The local stores (we only have 2) wanted at least $3,000 for 1CT and at least $2k for .75 so I went online and lucked out with a beautiful pair for $1,400. Really nice stones, great quality, etc. I took them to the jeweler after I bought them to get them checked out. He asked me what I paid and when I told him he was shocked at the deal I got.
Flash forward six months and we decided to get our jewelry re-appraised since it had been 5 years. The nickel from the white gold was also irritating my wife's ears. We had them reset in platinum- well actually we asked for a price to have them reset in platinum and the jeweler went ahead and set them in platinum then charged us $250 (they are studs).
We got the appraisals and my wife's platinum engagement ring appraisal went up $3k over the past 6 years, her diamond and sapphire platinum eternity wedding band dropped $500 over 5 years, and the earrings appraised for $1,100. I could have literally walked over to the jewelers display case, found a similar pair of earrings in stone quality and size, and the price would be $2,500.
Is this a dishonest jeweler or normal? Should I negotiate appraisal value?
A good friend of mine is a professional jeweler, had a shop for years and is now retired and sold his shop. He still does repair work and custom fabrication in a small one person studio all by himself. Sometimes I buy gold or silver chain, cut stones and the such from him. If I were to go to his former store and buy the same, say, gold chain it would cost me six hundred percent more than what it costs me to buy through him from his small studio. So what the big difference? Well for one it's a matter of overhead. In his small studio he orders just one chain, just for me and doubles his wholesale price and I pay him right away, it doesn't sit there and wait for someone to walk in and buy it. For the retail shop the store owner/jeweler may buy a dozen gold chains and sit on the for a year before he sells them. He has to pay for rent, employees, insurance, utilities, advertisements, lots of other stuff too. Now my friend only has on hand what he needs to make his custom jewelry that the customer is willing to pay 50% of the cost up front. He is making jewelry now and not tending shop with most of his time or fixing watch batteries. Jewelry stores need to have a lot of mark up to stay in business, that is why the prices are so high. I can buy cut stones cheaper from my friend that I can from a jewelry and have him set them in a finding of my choice far cheaper than I can from a jewelry store. Also places like department store chains sometimes are making even larger profit margins on jewelry than the small shop because they buy in such huge quantities that they can have a sale and say they are cutting the price by 50% and still make more money than a small shop selling for the same price. The appraisal price of a piece of jewelry is only what the appraiser feels it is worth in the current market, I have never been all that satisfied with any appraisal I have received on any jewelry, gun or antique, ever. It is solely based on one persons opinion.