Keith's Korner

Friendly suggestions and advice on caring for your precious jewelry.

January 22, 2010

How can more expensive be less expensive?

When I was a small child, my mother told me one of her pearls of wisdom that has stuck with me to this day. “The difference between wealthy people and poor is not so much how much money they make, but rather how they spend it. The wealthy person buys the best item available, takes care of it, and has it for life. The poor person buys a cheap item and after a short time it breaks or wears out and they need to replace it." Using toasters as an analogy, the poor person will buy six or eight toasters at twenty dollars a piece or $160 - $180. While the person who is better off will buy one at $80, and have it for life saving $70 - $90 dollars over a life time. While this seams trivial, if you do this with everything you buy it can be thousands.

We’ve all known those ladies who have beautiful jewelry we’ve admired. We have several customers who fit that profile and they have several things in common that I’ve noticed. They always buy the very best item they can afford, they buy classic pieces that never go out of style, and they stop in several times a year to get their pieces cleaned and checked. Many of these customers only buy one item a year, saving to get a quality piece. They wear each piece only occasionally, and treat it with care. Over a lifetime they accumulate a nice collection of fine pieces that we then see and admire.

We need to remember that gold is a soft and not very strong metal. If an item is not made strong enough it will not last. An example of this is the tennis bracelet for $999. How can one place sell one for this price and another place be three or four times more? To cut the price they use less gold, the problem is in doing so, they don’t use enough to make the item hold up under normal wear. These pieces are soon in for repair and don’t last long. We often tell customers, “If that is the price range you have, either wait, buy something smaller like a ring, or go to a nice resort for the weekend and wait until you can afford a well made piece.” To this end most of what is available today, even the so called designer jewelry, is made in Southeast Asia. While much of it is very pretty, it is made for their lifestyle and not ours. For the most part it is made with poorer quality materials and less metal, to keep the price down. In time, these pieces will break becoming unable to be repaired and have no value.

Buying the best quality you can afford, avoiding the fads, choosing classic designs that last the test of time, wearing them only in the manner they were made to be worn, having them cleaned and checked often.These are the rules that will allow you to someday have the beautiful jewelry you’ve admired on others.