Crystal and Cat’s Eye Bracelet

This is a bracelet that I made for my sister for Christmas. I used 4mm Swarovski bicone crystals in two colors and cat’s eye (a.k.a. fiber optic) beads.

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The camera didn’t capture the colors accurately; the violet crystals actually are more reddish and less blue, and the fiber optic beads don’t look as dark in real life.

I wish I could say that it’s my own design, but it was inspired by this bracelet tutorial. I modified it because I only have 4mm bicone beads, and no 3mm bicones, so I put seed beads in between the crystals on the bottom layer of each “pyramid” to make it wider than the top layer. This required figuring out which beads the strings should stick out from: would it look better coming out from the bicones or the seed beads? I also wanted to use fewer crystals over all, which is why I had seed beads in between each “pyramid.” (Each Swarovski crystal cost $0.07, and that’s the wholesale price.) I had bought the fiber optic beads many years ago and was saving them for something special, and they matched beautifully with the violet crystals, though it doesn’t show from the photo.

My estimated material cost is about $6. I don’t remember how much the fiber optic beads and the transite thread cost since I bought them many years ago. The cost of the seed beads used was also an estimate, because they are priced by weight or hanks, and not as individual beads. It took me over three hours to complete the bracelet. Therefore, if I were to sell something like it, I would have to charge at least $50 for it (this is not including overhead costs). Does that sound like a reasonable price? If not, how much would you be willing to pay for a bracelet like this one? Keep in mind that the first one always takes the longest to make, so it should take me less time to make each additional one, and the price might not be as high. This explains why people living in other countries where the cost of living isn’t as high as it is here could actually make a living selling handmade jewelry that goes to the U.S., whereas it would be extremely difficult to do so in Silicon Valley. [Edit: The cost of living here is 233% of the national average.]

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10 thoughts on “Crystal and Cat’s Eye Bracelet

  1. I’m also trying to figure out how to price my handmade products, and here’s the pricing formula I found again and again.
    Time + Materials = Cost
    Cost * 2 = Wholesale Price
    Wholesale * = Retail Price
    It’s up to you how much you want to charge for your time, which is worth more than you think! Try browsing Etsy for similar products and comparing prices, monitoring what sells and what doesn’t. This will take time but will give you a more accurate perspective on the market.
    Swarovski crystals amp up the price of anything, too. I call it the sparkle factor 😉
    Good luck!

    • Thank you for the compliment!

      I’ve seen that formula before, and also a different one by Rena Klingenberg. However, if I were to actually use it, the final cost would end up over $100. (I am giving myself $15 an hour.) Anyway, my question wasn’t so much about how to determine the price as it was about whether or not people would be willing to pay that much. I’ve seen some Etsy shops with beautiful items, many fans, but few sales and I’m wondering if it’s because most people find the prices too high. It’s true that Swarovski adds value, so people would be willing to pay more for them. Good luck to you too!

    • I have wondered about how much I should be charging for my time. I will not go below $12 an hour, as that is the living wage for a single adult in my city, and the cost of living here is 233% of the national average. I had chosen $15 an hour because that is what I used to earn at my former job, with no benefits. I was underpaid, considering I was creating stuff on the computer using Adobe InDesign, while supervising young children, and doing various administrative tasks. Meanwhile, nannies are paid $15 an hour and elementary school custodians are paid $17 to $21 an hour. I believe that my jewelry skills are worth as much, if not more, than $15 an hour. However, from your comment, I see that it might not be realistic to sell at that price in other parts of the country. This shows how difficult it will be to make a living by selling jewelry that’s made in Silicon Valley.

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