Eyes around the world light up at the sight of that lovely signature minty turquoise box with the crisp white ribbon: the brand recognition of Tiffany is ubiquitous. Two of my favorite fashion bloggers, in fact, just featured this adorable video "What Makes Love Come True" as a tribute to how a piece of (Tiffany, of course) jewelry can seal the deal. But you have to be daft to think that you're not paying a huge mark-up for the Tiffany "brand" and experience. A good friend of mine who recently got engaged admitted that her 1-carat diamond ring (of better clarity) actually came from the concrete floor and fluorescent lighting House of Costco -- for roughly a third of the price for something similar at Tiffany.
But a recent Forbes story makes me think that Tiffany is taking the worth of their brand a bit too far into bullsh*t territory. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Rubedo, "a new Tiffany metal that captures the rose luminescence of a sunrise." It's really quite pretty, but for a cuff retailing at $7,500, I thought I'd do some research into what this new "metal" is made of.
Therefore, I put on my best in-the-market-for-a-$7,500-bracelet voice and called the downtown Chicago store to talk shop. "It's utterly gorgeous," I cooed to the more than willing to help salesperson. "How much does it weigh?" The ultra-wide cuff measures in at 2.1197 inches tall and weighs in at 109.02 grams of Rubedo (3.846 ounces, or .2404 pounds). "So what exactly is Rubedo made of?" I next asked. "Is it like rose gold?" to which the salesperson replied, "It's a compilation of copper, silver, and gold. Rose gold is 18-carat gold with a [probably zinc] plate on top." When I asked what percentages of what comprised the metal, things got a bit chilly. "I can't give the exact metal composition percentages," I was told. The salesperson had also been clearly trained to refer to Rubedo as a "metal" rather than the alloy it is. The gold included is 18 carat.
I then took my quandary to MetalMiner's Lisa Reisman, who helped me do some quick calculations from the MetalMiner IndX™ based on percentages given in the Forbes article: "small parts silver and zinc, 55% copper, and only 31% gold." (Funny how zinc was left out of the Tiffany representative's vocabulary). Here's the tentative percentage breakdown we came up with (per bracelet):
Based on today's current prices, here's the raw material cost breakdown for one bracelet:
Raw material cost is around $1,501.21
Conservatively speaking, in a typical manufacturing scenario, raw materials make about 25% of the total cost which would put us at $2,628 for the "cost to produce."
So: Tiffany is charging around $4,872 for that "turquoise box," so to speak.
Worth it? Not for me.