Sharing About What I Do at Eli. J & My Material, Time & Pricing
“Wow, your [fill in with jewelry piece] are not cheap/ are expensive."
I’ve heard this about my pieces (baroque pearls, jade as well as stones) many times, or received comments that basically tell me they feel they’re too expensive.
So I thought I’d share a little about the materials I use, and try to explain more about them.
Here are some examples of the not-as-pretty:
As you can see, the front may look pretty, but if you’re buying them online, you’ll be in for a surprise when you receive them and see how they look at the back!
example of some repair done to the back of the pearl
These may be cheaper, but not only are their bodies undesirable, but they may be quite small as well.
I am very upfront about the pearls I have. I have some AAA ones and some that have their flaws (but no repairs) and I will tell customers so, as well as send them videos or photos.
My most recent batch have some peacock baroque pearls with beautiful lustre but not so beautiful bodies, and I have been very honest about them.
However, 90% of the pearls that I’ve managed to source, are large, beautiful all around, have amazing lustre, and are sold by weight.
Here are some unedited photos.
But having said that, some still think it’s pricey and I’m not even pricing them expensively.
I have tried sourcing online for baroque pearls but the quality has been inconsistent or downright ugly. I got fed up, and refuse to sell what I won’t wear myself now.
I have had many customers whom I’ve never met, place their trust in me to purchase, and upon receiving their pearls, message me that they LOVE them! I’m very grateful for their trust.
It’s my hope to allow as many women who appreciate these natural beauties of the sea, and to own them without burning a hole in their pockets. I can price them higher and earn more, but I don’t want to be greedy. I am a small business owner, without the high overheads of rental and hiring sales assistants.
Then why not sell them cheaper? Because this is as important to me financially, as much as your job is to you. I do everything on my own and this is not a hobby. I am a music teacher by profession, but jewelry is something I love doing and hope to do more of.
I have been doing this for over 10 years, and have spent hours sourcing for material, online and flying overseas, and I too have expenses working from my home. Then I design and hand make all the pieces, and take photos and edit everything myself. My wire work is also fine, as the stones are very small, and it takes considerable time and skill to do these.
If it’s a customisation, there may be hours of back and forth liaising with customers. It takes HOURS, sometimes days. (I do have help from my husband sometimes to order some items and do post office runs though!)
Also, I use gemstones, semi precious and precious. They too needed to be mined, polished and cut. And they are not cheap materials.
customization done recently with beautiful AAA glowing rose quartz and other semiprecious gemstones on 14k gold filled.
Gemstones are the same as baroque pearls... there are cheaper ones, and there are AAA grade ones. Prices are also rising with time, as I suppose labour has gone up as well. Prices also differ for different gemstones. But I have always tried to source good quality ones, and recently tried to source the best that I can afford, to share with all of you.
And then there is jade... I have recently found a couple of reliable sources, and I only buy Type/Grade A jade, which is jade that is natural and has not been treated. Jade can be quite pricey, as I'm sure most of you have seen the prices of some jade pieces available now in the market, especially from more well-known brands. I believe I have been pricing my items quite reasonably comparatively!
My wires for wire wrapping are always 14k gold filled* or 925 sterling silver, and I have recently purchased 14k rose gold filled wires too. My earring hooks or studs are 14k gold filled or sterling silver unless stated, and the design ones are usually good quality Korean made in gold plate or rhodium plate, often with sterling silver posts.
*14k gold filled is a layer of solid 14k gold, (typically at LEAST 5% of the item’s total weight) bonded over sterling silver or a base metal. Compared to gold plate, gold plated items typically have 1-3 layers of gold (or only 0.05% of item weight), whereas 14k gold filled items have about 100 times more gold than gold plated items.