We all want value for our hard-earned dollars. But just what is value? I think many people equate price alone with value. I’d like you to consider that those things are not always the same.
Low Price Good Value
Low price and value can exist together. I shop at a small community market where I know I can trust the food. They stock mostly organic and they label conspicuously. One of the first places I check when I walk in is the “distressed” veggie bin.
I love all kinds of peppers and cook with them in most of my dishes. And for some reason this market pulls peppers with only tiny blemishes from the regular shelves. Sometimes I can’t even find a blemish on their distressed peppers. Since I’ll be cooking with them soon and am perfectly capable of paring away any small blemishes that I find, buying these cheap peppers make sense to me. They represent a great value! In this case, cheap is good and instead of paying full-bore for organic peppers, I buy great “distressed” organic peppers for a fraction of the cost.
Now let’s look at another scenario. You find the love of your life and in our culture a ring is often used to represent dedication and love to the world. You are shopping for an engagement or wedding ring. There is a plethora of options from local boutique jewelers to on-line overstock re-sellers…and everything in-between. In this case, while your budget is, or should be a factor, does it really make sense to just shop price?
Probably not…but you still want value. And in this circumstance where do you find it?
You Get What You Pay For…Maybe
Can you pay too much for jewelry? Certainly. No question that there are jewelers and jewelry companies that play on your emotion while they play up their brand. And you end up paying more for attitude and a fancy box than you might have paid for the jewelry in that box. And that doesn’t even begin to address how well the jewelry was made.
On the flip side of that coin, there are many companies out there that will try to convince you that their cheap stuff is great and represents the best value. I suspect that lightweight, poorly-conceived designs manufactured without quality control are not what you want to represent your commitment to another human.
Fortunately, the majority of jewelry “makers” out there sincerely want to provide you value in a well-made product.
What to Do
Buying jewelry is often an emotional experience. Honor that and try to remember that you may be vulnerable to making a costly mistake. Take a little time to clarify your goals first. Set both your budget and your priorities for your purchase. Then look around and check your options. Price shopping may make sense if you are comparing apples to apples; a 6-gram 14K yellow band with another 6-gram 14K yellow band, for example.
And for anything beyond a simple choice like that, rather than buying something pre-made, you may want to consider having someone custom-craft your treasured jewelry item. A custom jeweler should consider many factors in designing your jewelry and be willing to work with you on all of them. Your lifestyle (level of activity), personal style (aesthetics), and budget can all be considered as a project is discussed and initiated. A custom jeweler can make something that perfectly fits you in all these ways.
Custom Jewelry, Trust & Integrity
Finding someone you can trust for this process is easier now. With the preponderance of social media ratings, it’s not hard to check reputations these days. How long have they been in business? What do clients say about them? Even a good store can get an occasional bad review but note the trend in the feedback you encounter. And your judgment is important too. Do you feel comfortable in the establishment? Or is both phone and on-line communication personable and clear?
Find someone that listens to you and communicates clearly about each of the important parts of your project mentioned above. A good designer/goldsmith will not let you make poor choices, they want you pleased *and* your return business!
How does it work?
Each custom jeweler/goldsmith may work through the process differently.
As I lay inside the bathroom vanity I watch intently as the first gallon or two of water flow into and out of the newly installed sink through Ikea-designed plumbing. I smile as I observe myself taking a lot of pride in seeing no leaks and immediately wonder if Jim Harrison ever had prideful moments like that. Did Harrison, one of my favorite authors, ever install an Ikea sink? And if he did, did he regret not spending the day writing?
Jim Harrison and Brown Dog Mentality
I’m no Jim Harrison, though I like to think of myself as a writer and I relate to him and many of his characters in their lascivious thoughts and behavior. After all, I did offer to fuck my wife right before we started installing the sink together. Harrison’s character Brown Dog would have been proud of me! Alysia paused, shirtless as she changed into work apparel, to decline the opportunity but wasn’t a bit offended by the offer…we get along that way. And then she said April Fools…the shirt stayed off for a while. It being designer’s day off, Easter Sunday in fact, (and April Fool’s Day) we were working together to get through a seemingly endless list of cosmetic remodel projects. The idea being to sell this place for the most possible income which makes it totally ironic that with every completed project, we love the place more.
Designer’s Day Off
Designer’s day off…right. Sort of a joke in the rarity of any real days off as most people would visualize them. I’m thinking it would be nice to be fishing with a bobber from the shore of a quiet lake while I sit in my zero-gravity chair with a cold beer in the holder and a bunch more in the nearby cooler. I know, this scene does not impress real fishermen, but I’m talking about a day off here, not the strenuous fly-fishing that I actually enjoy. This place, a huge house on 5 acres out in the wine country near Eugene, Oregon, would have been paid off by now had I not made bad relationship decisions prior to meeting the game bird with which I now cohabitate. But the last one did me poorly, so I work like a driven 40-year-old instead of the guy with senior discounts that I am. No regrets…well maybe a few. But if the timing had been different, likely neither I nor my beautiful, young wife would have been single when we met, and for that I’m ever thankful. She appreciates my lewd comments.
Not All Work and No Play
And really, I’m the luckiest guy in the world in that I like, no, I LOVE what I do. I’m a jewelry designer and manufacture. I specialize in custom work and I have the best clients in the world, working worldwide and locally. I’m also a fair handyman. And I like to write.