I've been in the Jewelry business for 20 years as a "jobber" or intermediate wholesaler. I make my living by buying or having jewelry cast for me and selling it to smaller stores. There are quantity and level discounts out there. I can get raw metal cast at a different labor rate than one of my customers could because I come back more often and order larger quantites of one piece. Wal-Mart has done their usual thing to the jewelry trade. The price they sell their chain at is pretty close to the wholesale level. They do it by buying quantity. The same goes for just about anything in the trade - you do get a discount for quantity I do agree with the poster below when it comes to quality and unique items, you can often do better at a small store. I once knew a jewelry who spent a good deal of time going to and cultivating relationships with pawn shops. He got a good deal on diamonds from them and was able to give his customers better deals because the diamond trade is highly controlled at the wholesale level.
Yes if you mean of lower quality. Most mall chain store specialize in mass market lower quality items. But when comparing apples to apples rarely can a jewelry mass merchant offer the same quality item at a lower price than an independent retailer.
There are almost no signifigant volume discounts for the bulk purchase of jewelry. Gold is Gold, you can not get a better deal if you buy one ozt or one ton. Similarly with diamonds. Morris B. Zale, founder or Zales is famous of noting that although they were the largest jewelry chain in the world, in most markets they were second to a strong independent who was competitive on pricing, as there were little economies of scale in the jewelry industry. Zale's inovation was not pricing of jewelry but the bulk of their profits came from their financing are. They practically invented the "credit jewelry" industry. Their large profits came from financing charges.
One proof of this is that unlike almost all other retail industry, the jewelry business is still primarily dominated by independantly owned stores. The chains and mass merchants have not been able to obtain signifigant enough discounts on bulk buying to be able to offer substantially lower prices than the idendepents. Thus unlike toys, clothing, electronics, hardware, Walmart and the other mega retailers have not been able to affect these independent merchants, where as in these other retail categories the mass merchants have totally capture effectively 90% of the US market due to their ability to sell at vastly lower proces in these other retail categories. Also beware of any mechant claiming to offer "wholesale" prices to the public. In almost all cases it is a fraud, and illegal in most states. Wholesalers may only sell to retailers for resale only.
Chain stores are able to purchase jewelry in bulk since they are purchasing jewelry for a number of stores at one time. Because of this, the jewelry manufacturers are often able to give the chain stores a better price than they give the individual jewelers. It�s also important to remember that many individual jewelers create their own jewelry and make many one-of-a-kind items, while almost all of the jewelry sold at chain stores are mass produced items. For example, you may find a piece of jewelry at an individual jeweler that you will not find anywhere else. Whereas the jewelry at the chain stores can be found throughout all of the stores and at many other chains as well. Oftentimes, quality is another important factor to consider. Individual jewelers make up for in quality what they lack in quantity. If you�re looking for a one-of-a-kind quality piece, you�re going to pay more for it and will need to shop at an individual jeweler rather than at a discount chain.
Aside from the popular chains, like Michaels and Jo-Ann, most professional jewelers will buy from a jewelers' catalog such as Rio Grande, based in New Mexico. Local jewelers' supply stores can also be found locally, and metals like steel and aluminum can also be found in bulk at welders' supply stores.
Affordable platinum jewelry cannot be bought cheaply at online brand name stores. Any jewelry that you would be looking at would be in the thousands, even earrings. However, if this is included in your price range, Zales sells platinum jewelry. Online stores such as Amazon sell used jewelry or like new jewelry for much cheaper.
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