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2012 CustomMade scholarship recipient:
Lakeland College, Class of 2014
Consumer Advantages of Buying Custom Jewelry
One of the most important benefits, I believe, when purchasing a high quality piece of custom jewelry made by a skilled jeweler is that they take the time to understand the consumer's needs and wants in customizing the perfect item. The consumer will receive exceptional customer service and detail-oriented attention in creating a piece of jewelry that will last a lifetime. In purchasing a custom piece, the consumer is creating a piece like no other, and let's face it, isn't individuality what we all want? Many items may not be able to be tried on for fittings prior to purchase through a chain store but in choosing a local skilled jeweler, the consumer will get the opportunity to choose the stone; type, purity, and color of the metal (white, yellow or rose gold, platinum etc.); and the exact size whether that be the size of the ring or adjustment to earrings or necklace for a comfortable wear.
While most people think that customizing jewelry is more expensive, that couldn't be further from the truth. Off-the-shelf jewelry has to be designed to appeal to many people and to sell at a certain profit percentage; therefore, customizing jewelry cuts out the middle man. The consumer pays mostly for the price of materials so if you have a budget, the jeweler can work within that and show you the features of the jewelry you want at the budget established, leaving the consumer 100% satisfied and 100% in love with their purchase. The consumer will save time and energy by creating the piece rather than 'shopping around' for something mediocre or something that he/she settled with, and in North America, time is a necessity in our daily lives.
The most discussed topic in dealing with custom jewelry made by a skilled jeweler maker in North America, which is local to us, is the quality. A small local jeweler will often carry a wider selection of jewelry, more unique jewelry, as well as heirloom items with precious metals and gems. Items you just can't find anymore. There is a lot of detail in creating and putting together a one of a kind piece of jewelry starting with the customer describing his/her idea of the piece which is then followed by the fabrication of the jewelry and this can be done fairly uncomplicated provided the first step is done promptly and communicated well. Sending a piece of jewelry in to be fixed or sized correctly can take longer than having a piece of jewelry make to your liking.
When buying from local jewelers, consumers can build a lasting professional relationship. Consumers can ask questions regarding design, cut, stones, clarity, etc. and get more thorough answers than they would otherwise; it's important to understand the exact settings before making a final selection. It is at this step where the consumer can change elements of the design, take part in the designing process, and with the professional advice of the jeweler, fit everything into comfortable budget. Also, because many offer repair services, they are more knowledgeable in those areas of expertise. In general, most skilled jewelers provide more services such as repairs (often watch repair), restoration, and design; just to name a few. You typically can't get those kinds of services through a chain store, and even more so, online. Exchanges and returns can also be easier with local jewelers because the jewelry can be taken directly to the store and jewelry can be brought in to be cleaned or looked at without having to be sent somewhere else.
Building lasting relationships with your local jeweler will in turn create trust which is found to be quite significant in this type of industry. In this day and age, fraud is at an all-time high, and because fine jewelry can be considered a liquid commodity, it attracts a lot of fraud from both buyers and sellers. Just because a piece of jewelry looks legitimately stamped doesn't mean that it is and fake plated gold jewelry that has a 14K stamp is not hard to come by. Buying a custom, high quality piece of jewelry from your local jeweler, who you know, will ensure the consumer is receiving an exceptional piece without any fine print that goes along with any contract. With a trusted jeweler, I think consumers will feel more comfortable agreeing to terms and conditions that are explained and understood well, and being local, it makes it even more important to make customers happy because word travels fast by mouth. If customers aren't happy, they won't be coming back or giving friends or family a good review which can make or break any business. If a deal is too good to be true, many times it is.
I think we all know that when buying local we help our own economy. The money we spend here stays here and we supply jobs and wages by supporting local businesses. This doesn't just include jewelers themselves, but also retail (the people hired to help run the store), marketing (people who help with any advertising run to promote the company), and finance (accountants or banks who may help manage the money of the business). Buying locally supports the community and case studies have shown that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base. We invest in our community's future by putting those taxes to good use by making more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community. Local businesses are staffed by local residents which will supply better service from people who know you; employees who live in the community take the time to get to know the customers. It's these businesses that create a better variety with their own distinct character, and the more people that shop here, the better variety they will have. This encourages local prosperity because entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their businesses.