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Kelly Williams celtic wedding bands

At What Price?

Kelly Williams breaks down a custom piece, fee by fee

Editor’s Note: When the friend of a friend of custom jeweler Kelly Williams wanted to surprise her fiancé with a two-tone, Celtic-inspired wedding band featuring dragons, Williams was more than happy to take on the challenge. Here’s how Williams of KW Goldsmith in Minneapolis arrived at the final charge for the 14k white and yellow gold men’s wedding band.

Design

The client wanted a design featuring Celtic knot work and dragons. After reviewing images of knot work that the client liked, I did a rough sketch of the ring and sent it to her to make sure I was headed in the right direction. Once she was happy with the design, I started laying it out in CAD, using the program to calculate the weight of the piece so I could factor the expected metal costs into the estimate for the job. I spent four hours working on the design, for which I charged $120 per hour.
Total Fee: $480

Metal

I work with a local casting house and usually take what they charge me and double it. In this case, I charged $122 per pennyweight. The ring features 4.5 pennyweights of white gold and 4 pennyweights of yellow gold.
Total Fee: $1,037

Stones

The customer supplied all of the stones for the project. I usually don’t charge to pull out old gems unless they’re buried in metal or part of a really big job.
Total Fee: $0

Labor

I milled the ring in three parts: the center band and the top and bottom bands. I normally charge $100 per part to mill. To determine the fee for setting the stones and assembling the ring, I used Geller’s Blue Book. [Note: Geller’s Blue Book to Jewelry Repair & Design 6.0 is available in the MJSA Bookstore; MJSA members can purchase it at a 15 percent discount.] In this case, I charged $93 to set the three rubies, $279 to set the nine diamonds, and $390 to assemble the band. My finishing charges depend on how complicated the piece is. The white gold bands were pretty simple so I charged $20 per band, but the yellow gold band had a texture that was more challenging to finish so I charged $40 for that part. I also factored in the charges and shipping costs from my caster, which for this project were $60.
Total Fee: $1,202

Final Price: $2,719

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