Shirley will never try to convince you that her R92 000 Valentino Evening Bag was a sensible purchase. But she wasn’t looking for sensible when she casually strolled into Valentino now was she? Some people find the thrill of a luxury purchase to be nothing short of intoxicating. Visit cities like New York and Rome and you’ll find miles of expensive boutiques fueling shopper’s addictions to all things luxurious.
The luxury goods market is an odd one. A well established and renowned luxury brand, can charge pretty much whatever they want for a product. Sometimes the exorbitant pricing might actually be driving sales due to the implicit exclusivity. In the realm of luxury pricing is indicative of exclusivity rather than quality. Top notch quality is rightfully assumed.
When it comes to jewellery, the large debate originates regarding the element of exclusivity - or rather the lack thereof. With very few jewellery designs being truly unique and copyrighted, every jeweller in town is probably manufacturing the same designs this season. Unlike other luxury items such as handbags and shoes there are no limited production runs of any particular design. The metals used are all standard, and unless you are in the ultra high end market; the diamonds on offer might not be as “one-of-a-kind”(ish) as you would imagine. We are not talking about a bespoke pair Stefano Bemer shoes where after a twenty pair production-run the Japanese shark leather is finto for 2014. In jewellery, its never finite, it’s never finito.
Being in the jewellery trade myself I simply can’t withstand the temptation to call around every few weeks and ask for a few quotations from other jewellers. It makes business sense to know where my competitors are pitching their prices. Certain quotes come in at over 300% higher than others. There are absolutely no magic ingredients you can use in jewellery, it’s all metal and diamonds (or other gems if you wish). How do you justify a 300% premium?
No matter what any salesperson tells you; your engagement ring or any other jewellery item is worth the scrap-value of the metal and the wholesale price of the diamond the moment you walk out the fancy front door. Not a cent more, regardless of the brand name stamped inside the ring. Unless the jewellery item has solid historical significance there is no price you can fetch on the second hand jewellery market that will come close to what you paid.
When a jeweller commands three times the price that his neighbor quoted you for the exact same product (remember, apples to apples as far as possible) - maybe its time to ask the “why?”
When trying to decipher the quotes from different jewellery brands, pour yourself a cup of your favorite coffee and consider the following;
- Am I investing in a piece of art or history? (probably not)
- How exclusive is this jewellery item? (not as exclusive as you might think)
- Does this brand deserve the premium its demanding? (that’s up to you)
- Can I recoup the premium I paid when I resell the item? (not in this lifetime, rockstar)
I hate being rude, but I can’t stay for a cuddle today. I have loads of quotes to finalize and mail out. I’ll gladly get one over to you too! Send your ideas over to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll see my name pop up in your inbox before the day runs out.
‘Till next time.