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What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design ....

Circe

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When you buy a piece of jewelry, what are you really buying?

Are you buying the materials in and of themselves, knowing they'll appreciate, in what's known as the "investment" model?

Are you buying the experience, even at triple keystone markup - the pleasure of walking into a luxury shop, being fawned over by the assistants, and walking out with a Name bag?

Are you paying for a subset of that even if you get your piece secondhand, every time you find the opportunity to say "Oh, this? It's Cartier." Is it the prestige, or the way a brand can help define a personality?

Are you paying for the design, even if the materials are worthless - a sterling item for the price of platinum, paying for itself via its sheer cleverness?

Are you buying a little piece of history if you shell out for a piece that's survived a hundred years? Or less, to preserve a teeny bit of the legacy of something that belonged to Elizabeth I, Jackie O, Marilyn?

I'm fascinated by the different motivations that make up the different forms of shopping and the different types of shoppers: the bargain-hunters, the investors, the collectors, the addicts. What kind are you?
 

tyty333

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I just had 3 SS stacking rings made and I think what I was paying for was the design to be able to get the color stone with the
bezel I wanted on the band design I wanted (even though they werent expensive).

In general I have different reasons for buying each piece of jewelry. It seems to make it more interesting if you buy for
different reasons...like if you want a name brand or if you wanted something old/antique/previously loved or if you want
something designed for a particular event (anniversary, birth of a child). Not sure what I'll buy for next. I have a big
birthday that I could design something around but I am craving something old/antiquish because I like the idea that someone
loved a piece of jewelry/stone in a previous life.
 

jewelerman

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

All the above mentioned.Since the beginning of time people have had the desire to ornament themselves for the sake of beauty,vanity,status, attention, romance,and a way to show off/ carry/invest your wealth in bad times.People by nature are collectors or gathers and in modern day we are not only sold the actual item but the experience as well by smooth advertizing and branding.Buying branded costume jewelry at a retail price that we can buy precious metals and gemstones is the branding machine at its best or worst depending on which side of the counter you are on.I know people who are experience driven and don't care about the quality of anything they own as long as they get the retail high of buying something someone else wants.I have been in retail so long that im resistant to branding, don't need the experience, and wont pay retail for anything.The factors i look for in a piece whether it be at Cartier,a pawnshop, or garage sale is overall quality in design first, the use of materials second,and if its worth the price- the deciding factor if im bringing it home.Even though im not experience driven i do expect politeness and professionalism by the employees im talking with when im shopping at a store or event.
 

MonkeyPie

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I've never bought anything just so I can say, "Oh, this old thing? it's CARTIER." Or whatever name brand. I buy stuff because it looks pretty.
 

AmeliaG

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

Circe|1305822706|2925733 said:
Are you paying for the design, even if the materials are worthless - a sterling item for the price of platinum, paying for itself via its sheer cleverness?

I do enjoy good design but I beg to differ that sterling silver is worthless. Its just another metal with different properties than gold or platinum. Good for some things and not for others. Some of my favorite jewelry is sterling silver because its all handmade and of really high workmanship - and beautiful to boot. Yeah, it needs cleaning and its problematic in rings but I'm wearing pieces I've had for 10 years or more and still love them.

So I guess for me its a combination of interesting design and good workmanship. I appreciate good metalwork.
 

suchende

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

Prongs! If I'm paying for something that isn't dirt-cheap secondhand, I'm paying for the prongs to be how I want them.

When I do buy secondhand signed pieces, I'm paying for prestige... but also resale value.
 

Circe

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

AmeliaG|1305827648|2925794 said:
Circe|1305822706|2925733 said:
Are you paying for the design, even if the materials are worthless - a sterling item for the price of platinum, paying for itself via its sheer cleverness?

I do enjoy good design but I beg to differ that sterling silver is worthless. Its just another metal with different properties than gold or platinum. Good for some things and not for others. Some of my favorite jewelry is sterling silver because its all handmade and of really high workmanship - and beautiful to boot. Yeah, it needs cleaning and its problematic in rings but I'm wearing pieces I've had for 10 years or more and still love them.

So I guess for me its a combination of interesting design and good workmanship. I appreciate good metalwork.

Apologies - poor phrasing on my part, as I work with silver and love the metal. And these days, with rising metal prices, it's certainly not as cheap as it used to be!
 

Kismet

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

If it's something new, then I'm paying for the design... something that's not totally mainstream. If it's an antique, I'm buying it because it's beautiful and because it's survived for so long and not because it once belonged to someone special.
 

AmeliaG

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

Circe|1305828155|2925804 said:
AmeliaG|1305827648|2925794 said:
Circe|1305822706|2925733 said:
Are you paying for the design, even if the materials are worthless - a sterling item for the price of platinum, paying for itself via its sheer cleverness?

I do enjoy good design but I beg to differ that sterling silver is worthless. Its just another metal with different properties than gold or platinum. Good for some things and not for others. Some of my favorite jewelry is sterling silver because its all handmade and of really high workmanship - and beautiful to boot. Yeah, it needs cleaning and its problematic in rings but I'm wearing pieces I've had for 10 years or more and still love them.

So I guess for me its a combination of interesting design and good workmanship. I appreciate good metalwork.

Apologies - poor phrasing on my part, as I work with silver and love the metal. And these days, with rising metal prices, it's certainly not as cheap as it used to be!

No offense taken! And since you work with it, you're probably one of the few to understand how I love the feel of it. Oh, its caused me to buy some rings that didn't really hold up well but I loved wearing them while they lasted. I haven't bought new sterling silver jewelry for awhile though; I got my mother's sterling flatware set which I use everyday so I get to feel my sterling without fear of it being damaged.
 

princesss

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

A bit of almost all of them.

My studs, for example. I love that I hunted around to find OECs in a size I liked with facet patterns I liked. I used my favourite local jeweler to set them because they were the cheapest and because I prefer to give them my business over any other jeweler in the area. But I love wearing them because they sparkle and because it gives me a certain "look". The combination of them and some of the other things I wear (my sunglasses, my jeans, etc) give me a specific look that appeals to a certain demographic. While it's not something I've consciously cultivated, it's definitely something I've noticed.

There are certain things I like for the style (Tiffs style graduated silver ball necklaces) but wouldn't spend the money on the original, and times when nothing but the original will do (Cartier trinity ring - I won't get one until I can get the real one) because I like the feel of it, I like the way they look, and, yeah...because it's kind of fun to see peoples reactions when they notice the brand. There are very few brands that I feel that way about, but when I love them, I *love* them.

Antique pieces that I lust after and dream of buying are simply because I think they're beautiful and love that they have a history that comes with them. I like to imagine previous owners, and imagine myself taking care of, like the gorgeous Hamilton watches in the case at my local estate jeweler.
 

dragonfly411

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7,378
Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I suppose I buy for the design and the materials. I buy things that appeal to me in beauty, and that includes design elements, and the stones...
 

iheartscience

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12,111
Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

When it comes to jewelry (and really anything I buy), I buy for the design and quality. I would never buy something just because it's made by a well-known designer. I'm not anti-brand name at all-I own plenty of designer clothing and even a few jewelry items (2 Cartier rings and a Rolex watch), but that's definitely not a motivating factor for me.

I'm extremely picky when it comes to clothing, jewelry, bags, etc. I'm very detail-oriented and if there's something I dislike about a design (for example, cheap-looking buttons-HATE THOSE) I won't buy it.
 

Haven

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I buy pieces because I think they are beautiful.

I surround myself with beautiful things because of the way they make me feel. Some beautiful things inspire me to create. Some inspire me to daydream. Some help me relax and enjoy the moment. Some simply make me smile. They all enhance my *experience* of life in some way, big or small.

Investments? Nah, not my thing.
Experience? That drives me to shop local and to interact with artists, but mostly because it infuses the pieces that I already believe to be beautiful with even more soul. I also like having a local jeweler who shares the details of his big projects with me, a sneak peek behind the scenes if you will.
Prestige? No. I've never cared about earning some sort of recognition by others for the objects that I own.
History? Legacy? I don't think so. I'm not very sentimental about things, so I can't decide if I would care to own something that my idol Audrey Hepburn once owned. Maybe. But nothing I already own fits that bill.

I've always surrounded myself with beautiful things, ever since childhood and I really think that's what I do with my jewelry as an adult. I used to collect rocks as a child, now I collect rocks as a woman. Their composition has changed a bit, but the idea is the same. I still line up my beauties and gaze at them when I'm in need of inspiration.
 

Hera

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

It varies. Sometimes I focus on the design, sometimes I'm all about the gem, sometimes I love the craftsmanship. There's many elements of design. I also don't mind paying an extra designers fee. Many of them went to school or have that special eye regarding the little details. Those little details add up and are the difference between a pretty piece and an exquisite piece.
 

AmeliaG

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

Just wanted to comment on the name brand thing. I don't pay for the cachet of a brand but sometimes the branding does offer some advantages. By no means do I like all of Tiffany's designs but there are certain designs Tiffany's carries that I like better than I have seen anywhere else. Particularly the Bezet setting for small stones which I thought would be easy to copy but it wasn't. The Tiffany designs that I really like have a combination of delicacy and substantialness that hits my sweet spot. Similar designs err too much on the delicacy or the substantialness.

Where the branding comes in handy. I was familiar with the name and the type of designs there that I like. Plus the store is quite convenient to me. In addition, Tiffany's has an easy to remember website address, and their website is probably the easiest and best site to navigate. So in general I always start with the Tiffany's website if I'm looking for something and then pop into the store. They have a brand recognition with me in that I know what I'm looking for when I go in and I know I will usually find it.

Do I then try to find a less expensive alternative? Sure. But sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. Another advantage that Tiffany's has is that with my living in New York, their advertisements are almost everywhere all the time so without even trying, I'm up to date with their latest. Sure, occasionally I like the informed shopping experience, taking the time to get the best materials and the best design at the best price but sometimes I just want what I want and I want it now. Tiffany's branding presence makes it easy to decide quickly whether they have what I want right now. So yeah, in those circumstances, I'm paying for the branding but its not for the prestige or cachet but the other advantages that their world class brand offers - mainly convenience.
 

LGK

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I tend to bargain-shop pretty hard; and I almost always go for things that yeah, I actually can resell for, at bare minimum, what I paid for them if I absolutely have to. I don't think it's a bad place to put a bit of $$, if you have the ability to weed out the real deals from the mountains of crap.

I do *love* the history you get with antiques, but I'm not really that into provenance to be honest- for one thing, it's incredibly rare to have any clue as to the provenance of any object, jewelry or otherwise. People just don't tend to pass that info on, unless it's super important to the value of the piece (i.e., Marilyn Monroe's used lipstick). Which is kinda too bad, as it would at least be interesting to know the history of, say, the OEC I wear on my right hand.

Secondarily, if I'm buying new, I tend to go for things that are unique and which you cannot get elsewhere, like a GOG AVC, or a custom setting. I am super picky about workmanship in terms of settings etc, so I am willing to pay for someone who is able to do exquisite workmanship. FWIW, I very, very rarely buy new.

Brand names don't really excite me at all. I don't mind finding brand names secondhand, but it's hardly something I aim for, y'know? I don't really think I'm the target consumer for the high end brands!

What are your shopping habits Circe? I'm curious! :bigsmile:
 

Amys Bling

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I buy jewelry pieces because I like them.
 

Bliss

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

I like things for different reasons... If I were just in the market for studs, I'd go for best cut and price. The design wouldn't mean much to me and I'm more into the materials over experience. But I also love luxury items that I know aren't worth the price. I wouldn't buy diamonds at Tiffany today, but I do love that DH went there and bought me one early in our relationship. It just seems romantic and I love that he did that! Now, he knows better and would know I'd send him back to the store with a lecture if he ever did it again. (He has Yekutiel & ID Jewelry on speed dial now, HA!) But it's nice to have as a memory and wearing it makes me feel pampered and special because of the Tiffany experience. When I see romantic Tiffany ads, they make me smile because I imagine DH going there and picking out a diamond to surprise me. So it all depends.

Hahaha. I pointed to a Cartier ad recently and sweetly asked DH if he'd get me the diamond pave rolling ring for an anniversary and he said, "Not Yekutiel?" Then I said, "Oh right. Nevermind!" He looked shocked at my blasphemy! Hahahaha. So I've definitely strayed from the experience/brand for some time now and I could probably get an even more awesome blingier pave rolling ring from Yekutiel for the price DH would pay for Cartier. Heck, I could get the pave rolling ring plus huggies!

When it comes to shoes, clothing and other items...well, that's a totally different story! Experience and design, baby!
 

maplefemme

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

For me I appreciate craftsmanship, both design and execution, quality is important to me.
My family are dealers in fine arts, they taught me a lot, though I wasn't always so enthusiastic about antiques or the arts. Growing up I passionately hated spending countless hours at Bonhams, Christie's and Sotheby's...it was painful to be sat, for what seemed like hours, during bidding, not able to touch anything, speak, or play. Just sit with adults, surrouded by "old junk" as I saw it.
Now I'm very different and find auctions to be thrilling, I can peruse auction catalogs for hours and there's no greater high than finding that special piece.
Brand names, for the sake of it, don't appeal to me at all. Many are typically mass produced and usually outsourced to the lowest possible bidder.
A good example, a friend of mine builds luxury homes and I'm in awe of his craftsmanship, no detail is insignificant. He's a humble, old school Croatian and his tradespeople are like one big family, equally dedicated to quality and tradition. I spent last weekend with him at a build and we went to pick up lumber, but instead of hitting the hardware suppliers we trek out to the country and meet up with an elderly husband and wife packing a team of heavy draughts horses, hauling my friend's lumber that he's hand cut himself...
There's something to be said for that kind of attention to detail, in a society where instant gratification is favoured and so much of what we buy is disposable.
 

ksinger

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

maplefemme|1305937780|2926964 said:
For me I appreciate craftsmanship, both design and execution, quality is important to me.
My family are dealers in fine arts, they taught me a lot, though I wasn't always so enthusiastic about antiques or the arts. Growing up I passionately hated spending countless hours at Bonhams, Christie's and Sotheby's...it was painful to be sat, for what seemed like hours, during bidding, not able to touch anything, speak, or play. Just sit with adults, surrouded by "old junk" as I saw it.
Now I'm very different and find auctions to be thrilling, I can peruse auction catalogs for hours and there's no greater high than finding that special piece.
Brand names, for the sake of it, don't appeal to me at all. Many are typically mass produced and usually outsourced to the lowest possible bidder.
A good example, a friend of mine builds luxury homes and I'm in awe of his craftsmanship, no detail is insignificant. He's a humble, old school Croatian and his tradespeople are like one big family, equally dedicated to quality and tradition. I spent last weekend with him at a build and we went to pick up lumber, but instead of hitting the hardware suppliers we trek out to the country and meet up with an elderly husband and wife packing a team of heavy draughts horses, hauling my friend's lumber that he's hand cut himself...
There's something to be said for that kind of attention to detail, in a society where instant gratification is favoured and so much of what we buy is disposable.

Bravo! Well said. It seems like torture when you're little but it can be very gratifying later on, to have all the specialized knowledge you absorbed for free, that and the knowledge of the difference.

I am currently making ancient chains, from wire to finished product, one individually wrapped, butted, fused, shaped, woven, and re-shaped link at a time. The response I get is either, "That's nice, but...meh.", or "Well, yeah...but it takes so long and you can just buy one for a fraction of what you'd have to pay to make/buy it yourself. With this chain that isn't really true, because it cannot be machine made, but it also shows the attitude of most people to things that require patience and long focused attention to detail. Since most people don't MAKE things anymore, in the US at least, many, maybe even most, have no real appreciation for the skills that make possible, the objects they say they love.
 

Black Jade

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

l won't pay for designer anything.
I look for things to be well made.
I like simple and timeless and basic and functional.
I like my jewelry to be solid, not hollow or plated or so on (unless it is a fun, costume piece). I want as much precious metal as possible, as pure as possible. I prefer high karat gold, I like 980 and 960 silver way better than 925 (which my mother always used to say is for tableware, not jewelry--though I do have 925, so I don''t completely follow her), I like platinum. If there is a jewel in it, I want it to be a nice quality--to look pretty. I don't like dull stones or faded colors or obvious flaws or things like that. I would rather get something smaller that looks pretty than something 'impressive' with flaws that get on my nerves when I look at them. I also don't want workmanship that is going to annoy me.
I look up the value of metals (I do that on Kitco) and the current prices for things and I pay as little for markup as possible. I rarely make impulse purchases. I will shop around a lot time to get a good deal. I never want something because it is in style. In fact, a lot of the time, I look for things that aren't in style, and are good value because they are (usually temporarily) out of fashion.
I want the piece to suit me, to look good on me.
I value my pieces most that are sentimental in some way though--I love the things I inherited and gifts I was given. On rare occasions, I will overpay for something if I am trying to replace something sentimental. I bought a ring one time that looked exactly like a ring my grandmother had, lost to the family and I knew I paid too much, but I really wanted it.
And I paid for it for my credit card that had cashback and bargained it down as low as I could. By waiting, I saved about a 1/3 off it to begin with --it was an estate piece on consignment, and it was at a high end jeweller, which was why it was overpriced--but it was a unique piece. there are lots of filigree art deco rings but this one is in a bit of an unusual style and I hadn't seen another in 30 years, so I knew I had to get it.
 

maplefemme

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Re: What are YOU paying for? Materials, experience, design

ksinger, I particularly appreciate handmade chains, so that's a sweet-spot for me!
Actually just today I was checking out antique pocket watch chains, what beauties.
Would love to check out your work sometime...
 
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