Comparing apples to apples

November 11th 2011

The chain pictured here is a belcher style with a large Euro bolt ring as the feature. I handmade it after a customer asked me to supply a variation on a design she had seen. The link and euro bolt ring sizes were custom made to her requests as were the chain ends that connect to the catch. The design was finalised using computer graphics and silver drafts. It was made in 9ct yellow gold and weighs 40 grams.

Making this chain prompted me to write a post about how to make an informed purchase when you buy chains.

Generally there are three categories that chains fall into:

  • hand made
  • common machine made
  • speciality machine made

Most of the chains available in the retail market fall into the common machine made category. You can view a selection of some of the most common styles in the chain section (note 28/02/2017 still in the process of transferring that section to the new site)of this website. These chains are bought and sold within the trade by a price per gram which fluctuates daily with the price of gold.

The process of buying these chains should be similar to how you would buy apples at the local supermarket. With apples we select the type we want, look for the best price per kilo and then decide on what weight/how much we want to purchase.

As regular consumers of food we are familiar enough with what the price of apples should be per kilo to know that even if apples are advertised at half price, reduced from $30 per kilo to $15 per kilo, they are still expensive. 

With chain however most people are not familiar enough with the price per gram and so cannot spot value for money. Jewellery retailers also don`t usually voluntarily advise you of the weight, the vital piece of information you need to make an informed purchase. 

The process for comparing chains in an informed manner is quite simple:

  • decide on the style
  • decide on the precious metal
  • decide on the length
  • ask for the weight of the chain
  • calculate the price per gram

To calculate the price per gram you simply divide the price by the weight. Here is an example of how to compare two chains using price per gram. I have used some random amounts that make the maths pretty easy to follow.

Say you decided you want a 50cm 9ct yellow gold curb link chain and the first one you viewed weighs 5 grams and the price is $250. The price per gram of this chain is $50. 

You then go to another store and they have a similar chain that weighs 6 grams with a price of $240. The price per gram of this chain is $40.

Despite the price difference being only $10 (or 4%) the true indicator of value for money, the price per gram, shows that the second chain at $40 per gram is 20% better value for money. The key here is that you need to know the weight of the chain! 

By using the price per gram method of comparing chain prices you can skip past all the hype of the constant discount sales that most of the jewellery chains use to encourage you to make an impulse purchase. 

As I said at the start of this post, the chain designs found in the chain section of this website are some of the most common chain styles and are sold by most jewellery outlets. Expect to pay more per gram for hand made chain and fancy chain styles such as an Omega.

With this information you can now compare prices of chains and determine if that half price chain is really half price or not! You can also contact me for a free quote.

News, Info, ChainDavid Taylor