A Casual Place To Talk About Our Favorite Shiny and Sparkly Objects

Archive for March, 2008

This is for all you artistic folks in the audience…

My last post on energy/healing jewelry got me wondering how these people/companies come up with the prices for which they sell their jewelry.  I wondered about this, because at first glance, a lot of them seem rather, well, expensive.  We aren’t talking about an emerald pendant surrounded by diamonds, an object whose value could be verified fairly objectively; this is in reference to the beaded semi-precious stone bracelets and necklaces with pendants of quartz, chinese coins, or other minerals.  I have been wondering how one decides how much these adornments are worth. 

So if you are of an artistic sort, and you make jewelry, how do you determine a piece’s value?  How do you know how much to charge for your creations?

Interestingly, I came upon this website while looking for something completely unrelated, and there it was:  a  simple jewelry pricing formula!  It can be found at Home Jewelry Business Sucess Tips: Jewelry Pricing Formula.
I suppose this formula could be used to apply to anything, really.  For you professionals, is this realistic?  When you do your pricing, do you follow a similar formula?  If not, how do you make your pricing determinations?  Finally, if you do use a formula like this, does it work?  Are you able to sell your wares using this setup and make enough profit to live on? 

I’d love to hear any comments from anyone reading this regarding how you have set up your pricing structures, what you’ve found works, and what absolutely does NOT work.  Who knows?  Maybe someone who’s trying to get in to the jewelry business is looking for exactly this kind of information.  You never know…

This is a topic I have a hard time with. I don’t know, it may be that I’m oblivious to the subtleties of changes going on around me. I might be too jaded and cynical and not open enough to feel healing powers. Can healing or energy or prosperity jewelry really promote what they say they do? Do they ‘work’?

You can find jewelry to heal your chakras, attract health, wealth, the perfect person, the perfect job, and anything else you feel like ‘manifesting.’ (That word seems to be used a lot). You can buy a necklace to bring you luck AND bring good fortune to all who glimpse at the necklace. It seems that the right piece of jewelry can do just about anything. Sort of.

Some sites claim that their jewelry is special by the way they make it. Maybe they’re able to channel the energy of the cosmos when they’re creating it. Each piece lists the mineral beads used for it which serves as the center from which the powers of the piece of jewelry eminate. Now, I could go off on a HUGE tangent here and talk about crystals and the healing powers certain ones are supposed to have and my opinion on whether THEY work, but I’ll leave that to the pros (ie Melody, who’s book Love Is In The Earth is basically the bible of all things mineral).

But the question remains: Do they work at what they claim to do? Does the amethyst ring I wear make me calmer, as some of the properties of amethyst are to promote tranquility and calm the mind? Is that 5th chakra necklace helping clear the issues you may have there? Physically, 5th chakra problems are associated with things like neck and shoulder problems. Did putting on a necklace designed for that chakra get rid of that pain? Is my moonstone pendant connecting my emotional side with my creative side? I don’t know. Could it all be a placebo effect? Possibly.

I have jewelry of semi-precious stones that are associated with healing properties. I have an even bigger collection of raw minerals-everything from rose quartz, labradorite, apophylite, and celestite to just name a few-and every one of these is associated with some area of healing or promoting health, vigor, or creativity. All of these raw minerals are a LOT bigger than what you’d find in a piece of jewelry. Do they help me? Do they work in the background, and even though I’m not sensitive enough to actually feel them, they ARE working? Again, I don’t know. But each piece is important to me.

One site, Energy Muse (http://www.energymuse.com/) says that they not only use the right minerals to heal what needs healing, but they’re created with INTENT, and it’s that which is most important. When you receive one of their pieces, you are supposed to infuse the piece with YOUR intent as well, and that’s essential to promote the piece’s properties. I have several pieces from this company. I have followed their directions to the letter. Did they ‘work’? Again, I don’t know if I’m just not sensitive enough or too cynical or who knows what, but I couldn’t tell.

There are a lot of stores out there. Carolyne Myss’ website sells ‘alchemy gemstones‘. Another site is all about chakras (http://www.mandarava.com/Retail/chakraenergy.htm). Enter ‘Energy Jewelry’ or ‘Chakra Jewelry’ on any search engine, and you’ll find many, many sites. These I just found to give you an example.

Regardless, I don’t regret owning the ‘healing’ pieces of jewelry that I’ve purchased. They very well might be working in the background. Maybe making these claims is just a gimmick. However, what I know is that I find exquisite beauty in the pieces I own, and whether or not my chakras are going to be balanced isn’t the point to me. It’s the piece of jewelry or the raw mineral that matters to me; it’s a beautiful thing that the Earth created. That in itself, the beauty and diversity of what this planet has created, is a mind blowing concept.

As always, if you have had any experience with this kind of jewelry or raw minerals, whether good, bad, or indifferent, or if any other thoughts cross your mind, please let us know. Until next time…

Oh la dee dah, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’…BLAH BLAH BLAH

‘If you really love your fiance’, 2-3 months’ salary for a ring is a must’…OUCH

‘We have everything under control now…these aren’t blood diamonds’…you sure about that?

People have been trying for centuries to come up with a man-made gem that mimicked the diamond.  Cubic zirconia first comes to mind which yes, is bright and shiny, but for some reason has never up to par.  And then there’s Moissanite, a silicon carbide found in meteorites originally.  Today, it’s usually made in labs.  It is cheaper than a diamond, but it’s still a large purchase.  One problem with them is that they can’t make one that’s pure white , and their ‘dispersive power’ is 2 1/2 times greater than a diamond.  That’s how it dispurses light.  When it’s that much higher, the effect is sort of like a disco ball.  Some people think that’s great and even better than a diamond, and others thinks it makes it look cheap. 

Then you have synthetic diamonds.  When in 1797 it was discovered that a diamond was made solely of carbon, people have been trying to precisely replicate it.  The idea of creating a synthetic diamond, therefore, is far from a new one.  Many people have tried to do so with mixed results.  The first real successes came in the 1950’s, and the technological processes used today draw largely from the discoveries made then.

Diamond, mined or synthetic, is a mineral which has a myriad of uses because of its hardness, but since we’re talking about jewelry here, we’ll keep it at that.  There are numerous reasons why I like them synthetic diamonds, and I hope they continue to make inroads into the jewelry market.

First, they are REAL diamonds.  According to an article from www.news.com,  “consumers shouldn’t see any difference. Both mined and synthetic diamonds are chemically identical. Neither the naked eye, nor an ordinary microscope can detect the difference. Jewelers can tell with a loupe by reading a laser inscription required by the Federal Trade Commission. Otherwise, it takes high-tech equipment that analyzes the crystal structure of diamonds (like a proprietary machine De Beers has) to distinguish the difference.” 

Second, and this should matter if you have a conscience, the mining of diamonds is not exactly a pretty process.  I won’t go into the whole history, but long story short, environments have been ruined, countless lives have been lost (they’re not called ‘blood diamonds’ for nothing), people have been enslaved, countries ravaged by wars, and all for that bright shiny object.  Granted, steps have been taken to reduce these problems, but we’re not there, so we are at the mercy of what’s being reported, and who knows whether or not it’s accurate?  Mining in northern Canada has become the new big thing (and has come with even bigger prices) and made for a great show on the History Channel called “Ice Road Truckers,” but even though it’s like a tree falling in the forest with no one around, it’s still trashing the environment.

Finally, synthetic diamonds cost a fraction of what a mined diamond costs.  Two-three months’ salary?  Did you know that DeBeers came up with that as a marketing concept?  If it’s an engagement ring, use the savings for the wedding itself (which in today’s world averages $20,000), for a down payment on a house, a car, or all of the other things you’re going to need after you say “I Do.”

That’s why I’m a supporter of synthetic diamonds.  Today, there are a lot of companies out there, each with their own ‘angle.’  Because a diamond is pure carbon, they can be made from different sources, even including the ashes of a loved one or pet.  I can’t decide whether that’s an amazing way to remember them or if the whole thing is kind of creepy.  Various companies are creating diamonds of different colors and sizes previously unknown to nature.

I’ve been following this concept for about a year now, and one company, Diamond Nexus Labs (www.diamondnexuslabs.com), has really stood out to me.  They carry something for everyone, from under $150 to custom creations where the sky is the limit in cost.  You can design the jewelry piece of your dreams, and they will work closely with you to make sure it’s perfect.  They have an extensive presentation of rings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, you name it, they can make it,and they can do it 14 carat gold to 950 grade platinum and everything in between.  It’s been great to see how their offerings have increased over a year.  Their print catalog is something to drool over, and you really do get a lot more bang for your buck.  Would you rather have a one carat mined diamond or a 2-3 carat synthetic?  Or a ring AND a matching necklace?  In a world that loves their bling bling, synthetic diamonds are there to satisfy that seemingly insatiable demand.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against mined diamonds, the people and companies who buy and sell them, or anything like that.  I received a mined diamond ring for my birthday last year; it is absolutely beautiful, and I love wearing it.  However, I think synthetic diamonds gives many people a chance to purchase what they couldn’t previously afford, I like the fact that you know 100% FOR SURE that no one died and no trees fell.  Still, the idea does make some people uncomfortable, and even though chemically they’re exactly the same.  I hope companies like Nexus Diamond Labs continue to work to eliminate that stigma, that celebrities who preach their love for the environment put their money where their mouths are, and that this can be integrated into jewelry fashion as a viable alternative.  There is room for everyone, and I hope synthetic diamond’s place continues to grow.