Selling items in Gold

Discussion in 'Shapeways Shops' started by woody64, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    Having gold is a fantastic option.

    I have considered the prerequisites for that and there were some questions:

    14k Gold = 58% real gold

    I.e.: Item with Volume 4.9 cm^3 will result in 4.4 cm^3 (10% loss) 2.6 cm^3 (58% gold) 49.7g Gold and $2004.6 (40.27 $ per g). Is that correct?

    The item price is $2662. So a possible recovery by melting is 66%.

    Due to the pricing nobody of us will invest in test pieces. What's the recommendation here by Shapeways to prove an object?

    Is there any discussion to add an service from Shapeways side like: Printing in gold, making proper product photos with a specific shop owners price.
    (the material for the item itself can afterwards be melted and reused).

    Since gold has a very high material price, has also a resell option for the pure gold price, items in gold would be very nice as coproducts.
    (also allowing the designer to add a span which is interesting)

  2. SavIsSavvy
    SavIsSavvy New Member
    Hey Woody,

    That's a great question. I've passed it along to our Materials Team and suspect they'll have some suggestions for you!

    Thanks :)
  3. cousingabriel
    cousingabriel Member
    Hi Woody

    You bring up a great point. I don't think we'll be able to offer a service where we print Gold products just for photos in the near future, but here are a few alternatives:

    One option is to print and photograph your product in Gold Plated Brass or Polished Brass. The plating on Gold Plated Brass changes the geometry a bit, so it will look slightly more rounded than 14k Gold. And the color of brass is slightly different, although the geometry and polish level on Polished Brass and Gold are identical. So, neither are a perfect replacement, but they are both relatively close.

    Another option would be to print your product in Castable Wax. Then, you can take it to a casting house and work out an arrangement where they will cast it for you for photographs and then melt it back down.

    Hope that helps!
  4. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    Hmmm had some gold plated brass. That looks completely different.

    Maybe that's a point you have to discuss at shapeways oncemore:
    - gold items are expensive
    - a designer won't buy it only for a showcase
    - both designer and shapeways want to sell gold items. but mainly shapeways needs to bring this offer to life ...
    (at least there's a need to think how a business case from designer point of view can be. Currently I can't see a clear one. If I'm wrong maybe you can give me a clue on your idea)
    - a seller won't buy an item in gold only seeing the 3d view
    - due to the price of gold items some invest in excellent photos and preparation of the item would make sense
    - 3d printing currently creates singletons, so tests won't be earned back by a mass of pieces

    What I had in mind was that there will be some kind of arrangement needed.

    One could be that a designer has the right to buy one item at some minimal costs (handling + gold price) to have the chance to sell the item at least to the material/gold price.

    I think that topic needs some solution also from shapeways side otherwise I can't imagine that gold items can be sold (except for the personal use of the designer)

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
  5. numarul7
    numarul7 Well-Known Member
    Brass it is called "fouls golds" or "fake gold" in some countries. I think it is enough to show the design , and if someone will like the design will buy it in Brass and in Gold too.

    I don`t think Shapeways need to change something , only to instruct a bit the designers to test Gold items in Brass for showcase.

    Example: I did not print an item in Silver , but the client seen the design in WSF and bought Silver option.

    If a client like a Design will buy it without second thought! It is something compulsory!

    Example : A kid likes a toy , the kid will run to that toy ... you can`t stop it!
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  6. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    Very nice new material options with platin, 18kgold ....

    I've asked a little bit around if anybody would buy a gold item without seeing a real photo. Nobody has replied with yes.

    The answer was: are you crazy the item costs more then $2500.

    Maybe even with photo there would be another handling needed. We are now in a very high price segment

    What happens if a customer sends such items back?

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  7. pete
    pete Shapeways Employee CEO & Co-Founder
    Hi Woody,

    you bring up some very good questions. They are not easy to answer and address, but we will get back to you.

  8. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member

    Can you tell from this picture if the material of this ring is brass, bronze or gold?
  9. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    It's not the question if I can judge it out of a picture. But you have to be clear to the end customer. Especially with items which are in a serious price range.
    You may also place a brass picture and state gold will look nearly the same. Dear
    customer you can easily check it with an invest of $1000.

    By the way: EU e-commerce regulations: how are 3d printed items handled (customer specific designed iitems)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  10. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member
    Yes, I see your point. This the very same issue whenever you order any $1000 product on an online site.
    One solution would be for Shapeways to work on a more permissive return policy (I can return the product if I don't like it - is it already the case?).
    And perhaps another one would be to allow the customer who is interested into buying a Gold item to first order it in Brass (or Wax?). If he is satisfied with the Brass model, then when he order this same model in Gold a rebate of the same price as the Brass item he paid is applied. Shapeways and/or the shop owner could finance this rebate on their respective markups. And - this is weak point of my solution - if the customer is not satisfied with the Brass item, he looses the price he paid for it...
    Will the customer be ready to take a $50 risk to buy a $1000 item? I don't know.
    What do you think?

  11. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    I understand how that would suit you, but introducing such a lenient return policy would surely be a suicidal move for shapeways - people getting things custom-made for them on a whim, and then returning them after showing off to their friends, shapeways having to check returned models for damage and having to store them somewhere, not to mention keeping enough cash around for potential mass refunds...
    I believe the situation to be more like that of a "conventional" jeweler newly entering the trade - you will have to make a name for yourself so that people put enough trust in you and the quality of your designs to order an expensive ring without having seen more than a few images.
    (Actually your situation is probably not that different from that of a pensioner doing railroad models, or a young student designing anime characters in FUD - getting things printed just for showing is costly, just that for you the relevant price point is at a different level.)
    Now how does a new "conventional" jeweler start - I assume there are relevant trade shows, and I seem to remember somebody here (stop4stuff?) recommending to wear pieces of your own jewelry whenever appropriate or take some with you when you go to the pub. (Probably wouldn't do the latter with gold or platinum bling, but anything to demonstrate your designs when a conversation develops.)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  12. numarul7
    numarul7 Well-Known Member
    To be a Jewelry Designer mean in first place to make original things that represent you in front of the world and what you can do. Every design represent a part of you , a little fail of you , a little better of you.

    If a client trust the designer will buy the product even sculpted in not so "cool" materials. Because the client want to support the designer and have a unique original piece in hand.

    A painter does not argue about the expensive paint he used , but about how uninspired was when doing a piece or masterpiece and that from accident it become the best thing he ever made.

    The clients are your best friends , if you treat them like your hands and your own body you become somebody.

  13. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    The more expensive metals will only be selected, in my opinion, for people's own designs or for commissioned pieces: I do not see anyone buying some thing in gold or platinum just from a picture from a SW shop. Having said that high end retailers, Neiman Marcus for example, have some very high prices on their site, so I could be wrong. They have a 'name' and physical locations to back them up, so perhaps it's not the same.

    BUT if I were thinking of buying or commissioning an expensive item from SW, I would definitely get a brass, bronze or even silver test made - in the past I have used FD in a similar way. Think of it as a sort of insurance. In fact, maybe you could actually use it for insurance purpose if your item is lost or stolen: "It was just like this, officer, except made of platinum."

    In addition, if your expensive item successfully prints in [cast metal of choice] and then you get a substandard platinum version it may help in persuading SW that "the degree of variation you received is not uncommon" does not satisfy you when you have spent thousands of dollars....
  14. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    The selling option/possibility for precious materials over SWs online shop will be a very interesting topic.
    So far I'm with AmLachDesigns that it will work more with commissioned pieces.

    But maybe we can learn during the next months how to achieve that best.

    At least the new render option will be of further help.

    Also since I have received a semiprecious item recently I can state that it can be used for the reachable quality of casted items.

    Nevertheless if I take a look on the pricing gap between the semiprecious and precious items I wonder if online shopping may work.

    Maybe 7k or 9k can bridge this gap?

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014