Sunday, February 12, 2012

How much would it cost in Gold?

This is a common question, but it has a disappointing answer: too much, for the most part.  14K gold is the most common metal used where I shop, and there are endless choices of rings, settings, even a lot of pendants, available.  But at $60-70 per gram wholesale, your average ring costs between $150 and $200, a setting anywhere between $20 and $100 (for an 8x6 heavy cast bezel for instance).

But if you pay attention to weights and market prices, you can get a sense of how to calculate costs ahead of time. 
Price of Gold: right now, gold is at about $1700 per ounce.  What does that mean?  14K gold, the industry standard, is 58% gold.  The rest is silver, nickel, copper or zinc.  So an ounce of 14K costs 1700 x .58 = $986.  One ounce is 30 grams, so divided by 30, one gram costs $32 in terms of the pure gold cost.
However: you have to add in the other alloys, plus labor fees (casting costs and the making of the setting, ring, etc).  When gold was hovering at $1000 per ounce, I paid a little over $30 per gram for settings and wire.  Now I pay around $60.  If I have a finished object that I can take to the casting service myself, rather than buy it at the wholesaler (i.e. my twig ring), then I pay a little less.
When I make customer quotes, I always round up, too, because you have to add in solder, wastage when clipping wire and such, maybe a sprue from casting, etc.  Plus on rare occasion a small or lightweight setting gets fried, or a jump ring has to be replaced.  Those accidents should spread out over my gold orders as a whole.
How much does jewelery weighIf you want to weigh something at home that’s in silver, add 20% for gold weight, because gold is more dense.  But don’t subtract out the stone, those are very light.  5 carats = gram and a standard 6mm round stone weighs only 1ct.
Here’s a sampling of the weights of some of my itms:
1.      My little twig ring, size 7: about 1.2 grams.
2.      Stacking ring, size 6: 1.5 grams.
3.      Size 8 lightly domed ring, 5mm wide: 5 grams.
4.      My 6mm cushion bezel: 1.4 grams.
5.      A 3mm button setting: .3 grams.
6.      1.5 x 1mm flat wire (for a very thin ring): .44g per inch
7.      3 x 1mm flat wire: 1 gram per inch
8.      3 x 1.5mm domed wire: 1.21 grams per inch
How many inches are there in a ring? A size 3 ring requires 2 inches of wire, a size 8 ½ needs 2 ½, so most rings are in between.  If I solder the setting in between I usually buy 2 inches of metal.  Or a tad more since they don’t always clip it evenly, or smush the edge while clipping, so you have to file it down.  You have to add a little on each end, therefore (btw., one inch is 2.5mm). 
Markup: for a standard wholesale markup you double the material cost (and also double the labor).  For retail you double that again so you can pay for the store and the employees.  The wholesale markup accounts for all the other indirect costs, which, in all honestly do add up to double.  I often calculate lower than wholesale, but most of you who are reading this know that anyway.  J
Happy calculating!

Princess Cut Emerald Ring in Gold, 2x1mm flat band

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