Why Does Handmade Jewellery Cost More Than Jewellery From The Highstreet? - Genna Delaney Jewellery Artist

Why Does Handmade Jewellery Cost More Than Jewellery From The Highstreet?

The cost of handmade jewellery

I often get enquiries from potential customers who have seen something online that they would like handmade. However they don’t want to pay the online or highstreet price and think that getting it handmade would be cheaper. It’s actually often more expensive to get a special, bespoke piece, individually handmade.

But why can be handmade more expensive than buying a ready made piece online or from the highstreet?

Firstly the online or highstreet stores buy in bulk so they save money. Many of them outsource the production abroad so don’t pay high wages. The pieces are cast/mass produced/produced in multiples, so each piece will be exactly the same, with no individual character and is cheaper to produce. The stores will have lots of the same piece in stock but the jeweller will have to individually handmake that piece for you.

When you ask a designer to handmake a bespoke piece of jewellery, you will get a completely unique piece of jewellery made to your own specifications. It will not be the exact same as the other 20 or more pieces that are in the store. It can have a different type or shape of ring shank, as well a different sizes and quality of stones. If it’s a professional designer, they will have went through at least 4 years of college or art school to learn the specialist trade skills and gain qualifications, in order to make the custom piece of jewellery for you. They may have a Bachelor of Design or Art Honors degree.  They will have to source specific materials and stones for your bespoke commission, which they will take time to do before even making the piece. They will be paying a higher price for materials as they are not buying them in bulk.

What people forget is that designers, artists and makers are skilled professionals and they should be paid like a conventional, professional employee. You yourself, will be in a specific profession and you get an annual salary or you pay yourself a good hourly rate of pay.

When it comes to the creative, CRAFT sector, some people don’t value the beauty, individuality and craftsmanship of handmade products. The word Craft falls into different mindsets, from hobbyist fairs where people just do it for fun in their spare time, to the professionally trained creatives who run a specialist practiceand are trying to earn a living.

Over the past few years CRAFT’s profile has been raised for the better, this is due to work that the Crafts Council, The Scottish Artist Union (SAU) and Craft Scotland have been doing to promote the Added Value of Handmade and the skills of the creatives.

SAU Rates Of Pay

SAU Rates Of Pay

Most designers struggle to run their practices full time and need to mix it with working part time. We never tend to pay ourselves a proper salary or reasonable rate of pay. So when someone questions our pricing or says that a piece is really expensive, the creative person has barely paid themselves a minimum wage to make that piece. Above are the rates of pay that artists should be looking to pay themselves. Below shows how (a) the recommended artist rate is compared to a conventional employee hour rate (b).

SAU Calculations

SAU Calculations

So remember designers, makers, artists or craftspeople are trained, professional, skilled workers and deserve to be paid for their time.

I hope this blog makes you re-think about the cost of handmade products and helps you to understand why Handmade can be more expensive than the Online or Highstreet stores.

To find out more or to commission your own piece of jewellery, get in touch with Genna.

Thanks for reading x


Can't thank you enough it was exactly as we asked for and a lot more x better start saving for the Eternity ring you're going to be making next for June .... a very happy couple xx


My family bought me a voucher for a 1:1 workshop to make a silver ring for my Birthday. Genna's workshops are informative in the process of jewellery making and good fun. Genna has a lovely teaching style.

Best of all you go home with a beautiful ring you made.

I would definitely do another workshop and if I could give Genna 10 stars I would. Thank you.


Picked up my Wedding Ring today and words can't describe how happy I am. It looks amazing. Few wee (happy) tears on the way home. Thank you so much. p.s. thank you from my "Mum" too xxx


Genna design recently carried out a repair on my wife's engagement ring. I could not fault Genna's workmanship and the cost of the repair was very competitive. I would not hesitate to return in the future.


I had a fantastic time on Saturday, thanks Genna for being patient. Love my ring. Robert asked what I was making next so I might be back. Thanks once again for a great day x


Had a lovely day with Genna making our wedding rings! What a great touch to add to our special day! Would definitely recommend her to anyone looking to make their wedding rings, more than just a ring!

Stephanie 2018

Genna created my engagement and wedding ring and they are absolutely beyond perfect! She really took her time at the initial consultation and went over all of the tiniest details - when we got the pictures of the finished rings I was totally blown away - they were exactly what I had pictured in my head, if not better!!


Genna, it was lovely to meet you last evening and I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for the beautiful necklace. It is truly gorgeous. What a talent you have. I've not taken it off since last Thursday! I was even wearing it for Crufts all weekend!

Keep following your dream!

Jenny Campbell 2018

Really enjoyable and educational day, we both had loads of fun. Would recommend to anyone looking to make there own personalised ring

Gordon & Gill

As Alison and Ron’s neighbours we have witnessed first hand this special and devoted love and the beautiful commission pieces you made reflect beautifully their enduring love . Alison wears them with humble pride.


Today my mother enjoyed her Christmas treat from us – a four hour ring making class with jeweller Genna Delaney. She totally loved it and has made a wonderful ring. She reckons Genna is a natural teacher. As a former head teacher she’s good at spotting such talents. If you want to learn jewellery making then Genna is the person to see!

Prof Mike Press

Whoah this blog is fantastic. I love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are searching around for this information, you can aid them greatly.


I'm over the moon with my ring! Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful piece which means so much to me. I absolutely love it.

Irene 2018

Thanks so much for the beautiful ring I bought yesterday!! Will be in touch about a commission a piece soon!!

Julia Wang, NY

Genna has lots of lovely jewellery to buy. The best things are bespoke though. She made me a few unique items using much loved heirlooms and updating them.

Bonnie Lee, TX