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Old Atlantis
 
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Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#1 @ 02-10-09 , 07:11 PM


Hello,

I am hoping someone can give me additional information about the cost of custom platinum settings.

My fiance and I are looking to have a 2 ct sapphire (probably 6-7mm in diameter) set in a heavy platinum setting similar to the Solitaire C de Cartier setting.

We have found a seemingly good offer for the stone and setting in a big city jewelry district, but we have started to doubt this offer after finding out that other custom jewelery places in the same neighborhood charge 4x as much for (or more) a similar design.

When we try to guess the amount of platinum required for the ring (estimated weight of finished product x current market price for platinum), we get approximately the total price quoted for the entire setting, which either means that we've calculated incorrectly or the jeweler with the lowest quote is planning on cutting corners.

What is a reasonable estimate of the weight of platinum needed to make a heavy solitaire setting like the one I've described?

Do jewelers generally buy platinum at the commodity price ($900-1000/ounce) or do they often get special deals?

What is a reasonable percentage / amount to add to the raw material cost to cover the design and setting work?

Is there any way we can tell when looking at the ring whether the setter has used less platinum in the alloy or otherwise cut corners? What other corners could he possibly cut?

Thank you!

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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#2 @ 02-10-09 , 09:54 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
We have found a seemingly good offer for the stone and setting in a big city jewelry district, but we have started to doubt this offer after finding out that other custom jewelery places in the same neighborhood charge 4x as much for (or more) a similar design.

When we try to guess the amount of platinum required for the ring (estimated weight of finished product x current market price for platinum), we get approximately the total price quoted for the entire setting, which either means that we've calculated incorrectly or the jeweler with the lowest quote is planning on cutting corners.

You've probably calculated incorrectly. The weight of most platinum rings times the market price for platinum will usually give you about 1/3 to 1/4 of the asking price of the setting...assuming that it's a new custom piece. The low price may also have something to do with the comparative quality of the stone.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
What is a reasonable estimate of the weight of platinum needed to make a heavy solitaire setting like the one I've described?

It depends on the finger size, the actual band dimensions and the extent of hollowing in the top of the ring. The last band which I had cast from a CAD model weighed just over 11 grams.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
Do jewelers generally buy platinum at the commodity price ($900-1000/ounce) or do they often get special deals?

Jewelers always get special deals and they amount some significant percentage ABOVE the spot price of platinum. This pays for the person making the alloy into casting grain and supplying it in smaller quantities than what the spot selling prices are quoted for.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
What is a reasonable percentage / amount to add to the raw material cost to cover the design and setting work?

In addition to the cost of the raw material, there is the cost of design, mold making, casting, cleaning, smoothing, polishing and overhead for the shop expenses, (lights, phones, marketing, etc.). The is also the need to make a profit over those costs in order for the business to be able to re-invest in new tools, training, etc. as well as pay for insurance and retirement plans. Typically you will be paying 3 to 4 times more for the piece than the actual cost of the materials. This could be much higher if the piece is complex and very time consuming. The only way to reduce those costs is to buy a setting which is commercially produced in larger volumes by a casting house, as this amortizes the previously mentioned costs over many pieces, (this may be how the low priced version that you were offered could be offered at such a low price).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
Is there any way we can tell when looking at the ring whether the setter has used less platinum in the alloy or otherwise cut corners? What other corners could he possibly cut?

If you are having a custom ring made for you, then you should only be dealing with someone who you trust not to cut corners. If you don't trust them, don't buy from them. If you are buying a ring off the shelf, then it may be called, "custom" but it can't be since you had no involvement in the design or material specifications of it. In either case you either trust the seller or you don't.

An opinion from a custom jeweler here, (that's me). Everyone wants a "deal" when they're buying jewelry, but very few people will even know a deal if it's gnawing on their leg. Most people will focus on something that's easily understood, like material weight or total cost and feel that anything else is irrelevant. There are other factors that come into play well after the ring is on someone's finger and are even more important. Things like having a design which is comfortable and durable. In the worst cast it could be having a maker who is absolutely unwilling to fix problems, should any arise. If it's not comfortable and durable...if you can't get adequate service with a problem, then it doesn't matter what it weighs or how little it costs.

Your time has got to be worth something and if you spend too much of it trying to find the "best deal" you may actually be paying more for something of lower quality than you would have, had you really had a piece custom made. Do yourself a favor and buy a quality piece from someone who you trust.


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Last edited by Michael_E : 02-10-09 at 09:59 PM.
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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#3 @ 02-11-09 , 12:21 AM


That is the best answer I have heard from any professional jeweler in a long time. Kudos!!!

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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#4 @ 02-11-09 , 10:20 AM


Hi & welcome,


Nearly impossible for a novice to compare apples with apples when purchasing sapphires or other color stones. The sapphire could be worth $200 or it could be worth $3000, which one is it? The $200 sapphire and the $3000 sapphire could ostensibly look the same.

Are the sellers in the venue you mentioned "big city jewelry district" the most likely sellers to disclose the very common treatments to make a $200 sapphire look like a $3000 sapphire? Maybe...maybe not.

As Michael said, you would be better served by finding a jeweler you trust and starting the conversation there.


Brian


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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#5 @ 02-11-09 , 12:15 PM


We can give you a cost to compare. Like this ring for instance in platinum with this .92 ct. Ceylon sapphire in it would be $2080 complete.


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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#6 @ 02-11-09 , 07:14 PM


Dear Michael, Brian and others,

Thank you for replies -- I really appreciate it.

Please note that the prices we are talking about are for the platinum *setting only* and do not include the stone. Therefore it should be possible to compare the offers, as they are all theoretically supplying a similar product and should have similar raw material costs.

We could understand a variation of +-25% or so given the varying overhead of different shops, but having one offer be literally 1/4 of all the others seems strange.

Is the 11 gram estimate above for a setting as heavy as the Solitaire C de Cartier? (I've attached a picture -- while I imagine it is possible to hollow it out slightly, the top of the band is quite large) It would be a size J 1/2 (5.5 or 6?) and I am guessing -- given the 6-7 mm diameter of the stone -- the band would be approximately 5 mm in width. The ring pictured below is not quite as chunky, nor (I am guessing) could one wear a straight wedding band with it.

Other than price, the low quote outfit seems both reasonable and trustworthy, and promise that they would take care of any subsequent problems with the ring without additional charges. If there is some way to explain the massive price difference, then we would probably stick with the lowest quote.

Thanks again.

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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#7 @ 02-11-09 , 10:08 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
We could understand a variation of +-25% or so given the varying overhead of different shops, but having one offer be literally 1/4 of all the others seems strange.


It is strange. The only way to make a comparison is by getting the weights of all the settings you are comparing. Typically the difference between a custom piece and a commercially available one is about 50%.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
Is the 11 gram estimate above for a setting as heavy as the Solitaire C de Cartier?

No, the ring which I commented on, weighing 11 grams, is a totally different design and wouldn't have been nearly as heavy, except that it has a Euro style shank. I couldn't even guess as to the weight of the ring you've shown.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantis
Other than price, the low quote outfit seems both reasonable and trustworthy, and promise that they would take care of any subsequent problems with the ring without additional charges. If there is some way to explain the massive price difference, then we would probably stick with the lowest quote.

Do you know the weight of the Cartier all the rings being compared ? I'd ask the people making the lowest quote why they are so much less expensive than everyone else. If they're upfront, they should have a reasonable answer. They may have also made a mistake or there may have been a misunderstanding, (something like thinking that you meant palladium and not platinum). If it's no mistake and the price is still 1/4 of everyone else, then you may have found your deal. Is it a copy of that Cartier ring ? What is the low price guy asking anyway ?


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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#8 @ 02-12-09 , 11:41 AM


What are the prices they are quoting for the ring in platinum? What is the weight of the piece being offered? BTW our ring without the sapphire was $1490 and is a designer piece by Claude Thibaudeau.


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Last edited by Jan : 02-12-09 at 11:42 AM.
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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#9 @ 02-17-09 , 09:03 PM


Gave your some Karma for this post!
Thanks for sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_E
You've probably calculated incorrectly. The weight of most platinum rings times the market price for platinum will usually give you about 1/3 to 1/4 of the asking price of the setting...assuming that it's a new custom piece. The low price may also have something to do with the comparative quality of the stone.



It depends on the finger size, the actual band dimensions and the extent of hollowing in the top of the ring. The last band which I had cast from a CAD model weighed just over 11 grams.



Jewelers always get special deals and they amount some significant percentage ABOVE the spot price of platinum. This pays for the person making the alloy into casting grain and supplying it in smaller quantities than what the spot selling prices are quoted for.



In addition to the cost of the raw material, there is the cost of design, mold making, casting, cleaning, smoothing, polishing and overhead for the shop expenses, (lights, phones, marketing, etc.). The is also the need to make a profit over those costs in order for the business to be able to re-invest in new tools, training, etc. as well as pay for insurance and retirement plans. Typically you will be paying 3 to 4 times more for the piece than the actual cost of the materials. This could be much higher if the piece is complex and very time consuming. The only way to reduce those costs is to buy a setting which is commercially produced in larger volumes by a casting house, as this amortizes the previously mentioned costs over many pieces, (this may be how the low priced version that you were offered could be offered at such a low price).



If you are having a custom ring made for you, then you should only be dealing with someone who you trust not to cut corners. If you don't trust them, don't buy from them. If you are buying a ring off the shelf, then it may be called, "custom" but it can't be since you had no involvement in the design or material specifications of it. In either case you either trust the seller or you don't.

An opinion from a custom jeweler here, (that's me). Everyone wants a "deal" when they're buying jewelry, but very few people will even know a deal if it's gnawing on their leg. Most people will focus on something that's easily understood, like material weight or total cost and feel that anything else is irrelevant. There are other factors that come into play well after the charm beads are on someone's hand and are even more important. Things like having a design which is comfortable and durable. In the worst cast it could be having a maker who is absolutely unwilling to fix problems, should any arise. If it's not comfortable and durable...if you can't get adequate service with a problem, then it doesn't matter what it weighs or how little it costs.

Your time has got to be worth something and if you spend too much of it trying to find the "best deal" you may actually be paying more for something of lower quality than you would have, had you really had a piece custom made. Do yourself a favor and buy a quality piece from someone who you trust.


Last edited by Huj79 : 02-17-09 at 09:07 PM.
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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#10 @ 08-26-11 , 10:43 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan
We can give you a cost to compare. Like this ring for instance in platinum with this .92 ct. Ceylon sapphire in it would be $2080 complete.

How much would you charge for the setting if I have 1.24 round brilliant cut stone? Size 6?

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Re: Cost of custom platinum solitaire setting
Quote this post and reply to it Post#11 @ 08-30-11 , 12:03 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by julia0430m
How much would you charge for the setting if I have 1.24 round brilliant cut stone? Size 6?


This setting is available for $650 in 14kt and $2100 for Platinum to fit your stone. If you have any more questions you can contact Jan at info@dbof.com.


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