The Tricky Business of Putting a Price on Custom Designs

What are your labor, creativity, and time worth? You can check the price of gold with a quick Google search, keep up with diamond costs through online sources such as Rapaport and Idex, and comparison-shop for stone setters. But how do you monetize a morning of researching historic jewelry styles, or an afternoon of free-form sketching?As the popularity of custom-designed jewelry grows—and jewelers eagerly respond to that demand—the standard formula for how to price product has been muddied. After all, how do you put a price on creativity?David Alan Jewelry Lunette ring in platinum with 18 ct. aquamarine and diamond pavé; $16,000Peter Norman, owner of Peter Norman Jewelers in Los Angeles, has been making custom pieces for clients for decades. Pricing out ­materials and labor is a daily chore. But when it comes to marking up pieces for retail, he always puts a premium on his unique

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