“Jewellery is weighted with meaning. It doesn’t matter what it is, there is likely to be some sentimental or emotional reason you wear a particular thing – in my case, I wear my mother’s wedding ring on my right hand, and a battered, misshapen silver thumb ring, bought for me by my youngest daughter with her 50p pocket money. I’ve also lost other pieces over the years – a gold chain and dragonfly pendant that belonged to my great-grandmother (a mugging), and my grandmother’s gold watch, which fell off my wrist, disappeared into the vacuum cleaner and emerged in bits. I’ve sold other pieces – my wedding and engagement rings and a gold brooch, when we needed a new roof over our heads post-divorce – but I remember them all. And that’s the other thing. While there is some jewelry somewhere, there is a sense, however small, that things will probably, somehow, be all right. I wince when I see people parting with jewelry to raise cash because I know how that feels. It hurts.“
Economy of sales
Depending on the style and quality of the product, jewelry brands set the price based on the market perception, the amount of time and resources, and the related costs it takes to produce the piece. The more it is perceived by the client to be a luxury, the higher the price it can reach. Luxury goods are known to experience the “Veblen effect”, wherein the rising prices fuel demand for the product, and so is the cost of the manufacturing, distribution, and service proposed.
Although everyday luxury items such as jewelry are still valuable needs for consumers, this is met with debate by certain curators. Pierre Berge, Yves Saint Laurent’s lover, business partner and now a patron of the arts, says: “What we call luxe today is just ridiculous. A handbag that a woman takes with her all over the place — to a grocery store, through the airport — I cannot imagine how that can be considered luxury.” (Source: NY Times)
The perceived customer value is the main reason why consumers tend to pay a relatively higher price for a luxury item compared to the functional utility that they decide to pay for it. The symbolic or aesthetic utility to the price ratio is considerably higher for any luxury good specifically jewelry than the utility value of the good itself. It implies that buyers infer a status of self-satisfaction or a capacity to express their own styles from luxury items consumption, that becomes the main reason why the value they pay for it is much higher.
The value of precious metals/stones generally shows a small fraction of the retail price that stores or companies sell in their own retail, wholesale department. When a customer walks in a jewelry store, clients are looking at how much value they get and at what price. Two main factors come in customers mindsets: Rarity and the price of the stones and the actual manufacturing cost.
Many labs and organizations such as the Rapaport (for diamonds) are engaged to set a price limit to gemstone and diamond dealing considering many factors such the criteria of the gemstones, rarity, where they came from, how a particular color was formed and what are its distinguishing qualities. Rarity illuminates the notion of desire; it validates the idea that something is unique, special and somehow worthy of the term luxury. This is why limited editions are created: limited supply (plus great design, excellent quality and/or spectacular marketing) can create a frenzied sort of demand and support a premium price.
Manufacturing cost can’t be over-margined by companies as real handwork is charged by hours or by an ounce of metals. The process is generally shorter and short- er using technological advances to accelerate the process of metalworking, setting and polishing. “We still want to know the face behind the creation”. If we know the thought process, the inspiration, the philosophy of the creator, customers tend to more fully engage with the product and relate to it personally. It is very relevant to look at the inspiration of design and its historical context as jewelry is such a visible part of decorative arts and sociological history. Curators think people should know that, for example, a new design from Cartier was in fact inspired by an archive illustration taken from the last century. To summarize, storytelling is an important part of writing about jewelry, generally used as a marketing tool for the brands. No jewelry design is created in isolation and artisans love to share their sources of inspiration.
Label = Brand
The power of marketing creates the “want” of any luxury product desirable enough for people to actually spend that kind of money on it. Millennial luxurians are using their online reputation, their vast social media audiences and global networks, as a form of trading currency to obtain services and products from brands. “They become labels that can significantly hike its selling price” (Bonhams, 2008)
New Value economy
Wealth-X states that the notion of luxury is shifting from permanent, physical object possession to intangible experiential luxury – a change which has put luxury’s traditional values at risk of revolution.
In sociology, post-materialism is the transformation of individual values from materialistic, physical, and economical to new individual values of autonomy and self-expression, transient values.
Jewels combine art, sentiment, and the hope that they will be still existing effects in future wear.
Story (pleasure, emotions)
Storytelling is telling tales to the customers. Telling a story to your customers has been for many years now one of the most important aspects of the jewelry business notably for Cartier. Each aspect has to be studied carefully in details in order to be consequent in the long run and build trust among customers and companies. People love continuity and the fact that, for example, the same family has run the jewelry atelier in Paris for three and more generations. It gives a sense of permanence and validity of excellence. Of course, storytelling draw price goes up creating a deeper meaning, a dream come true… Jewelry creates an intimate link between the giver and the wearer.
Jewelry is a luxury item where people attach their dreams and memories. Much of what is truly luxurious costs nothing at all or so little in monetary terms that it is not even worth mentioning [luxury brands are exclusively marketed through messages meant to make the consumer dream of a different world] Consumers generally personalize jewelry bringing new meaning to their purchase so that no one has the possibility to wear the same thing. People are looking for something enduring that is beautifully conceived and created, be it a watch or a jewel. An object that gives pleasure, reassurance, or confidence each time it is worn.
Experiential luxury is a one-time event and is unrepeatable. This makes the moment of experience ever more important
It is obvious that the term ‘luxury‘ implies a high level of quality, which we also understand is subjective. However, most of the value that sets one brand apart from another, in terms of luxury, is immaterial. That is, to say the symbolic properties that are related to identity, whether through self-identity or through status and group-membership. Fashion itself is centered around this concept: beyond clothing ourselves for protection, what we wear is on some level an indication of who we are or who we aspire to be.
Wealthy consumers will increasingly view time as a commodity to be hoarded and savored while wrestling with the fact that the very process of asset accumulation often robs them of the chance to share it with those that they love. Something that speaks to you year after year, even generation after generation. And of course we don’t need any of these things, but we treasure them, on whatever scale we can, from modest to hugely extravagant. Treasuring something is an inherent part of our nature. “It makes sense to me because stones often change color slightly after you’ve worn them for a while. They’re nourished by the personality of the wearer.”
A long history of a brand adds to the authenticity and create nostalgia and credibility. History relates to the country of origin. Heritage related to seniority and plundering the past.
“The customer wants the ultimate luxury experience, something with a real sense of history” Robert Burke