Frequently Asked Questions
We've answered below some of the most frequent questions we receive from our Customers regarding Southwest Designs Jewelry and processes. This is a work in progress and we'll be expanding it over time. If you don't find the answer to your question here, please Contact Us.
Q. Are your Jewelry products made in the United States?
A. In large part yes, though some of the stones we use come from other parts of the world. All of our creative work is done from Genoa, Nevada, where we have approximately 750 square feet of combined Jewelry design and manufacturing space. The majority of the rough rock we use is mined in the U.S., along with the raw silver that becomes the foundation for sterling silver sheet and wire. Hill Tribe Silver beads are from northern Thailand. Most of the finished turquoise we employ comes from mines in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and California. Some of the semi-precious stones we used come from outside the U.S., including amber from Poland, spiny oyster shell from Baja California, Mexico, and coral from reefs in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific oceans. When we employ 3rd-party Pendants in our Jewelry these are most always Native American pieces from the U.S. Southwest.
Q. Do you make all of your Jewelry or is some of it manufactured by others?
A. We design and handcraft 100% of our Jewelry and each piece is one-of-a-kind. We assimilate raw materials and sub-components — including rough rock, finished stones, sterling silver sheet and wire — and create building blocks that are then melded together into a finished piece of Jewelry. In some instances a sub-component is purchased, but it is just one element among many comprising a complex design. Our labor content in any one piece of Jewelry ranges from a minimum of 6 hours to a maximum of 5-7 days. Design elements are made or procured as follows:
- We purchase rough rock which is then cut, shaped and polished into cabochons.
- We occasionally buy finished cabochons of stone that is otherwise difficult to procure, such as Pyritized Ammonite or Dinosaur Bone.
- We purchase sterling silver sheet and wire and copper sheet to craft pendants, rings, earrings, beads and chains.
- We also buy Native American handmade beads and Hill Tribe Silver beads to supplement our own handmade product.
- We selectively purchase high-end pendants from other Native American and Western artists and showcase these in our Jewelry designs.
- From time to time we will cut, drill and polish rough rock to form finished beads for our designs. However, this is a specialized and labor-intensive process so most of our drilled stones (e.g. turquoise, coral, jade, spiny oyster shell, etc.) are purchased from other companies. Over the years we have developed a trusted supplier list for these stones to guarantee high-quality product.
Q. Do you accept custom orders where the Customer specifies the desired Jewelry design?
A. We have accepted commissions to do custom work. Each situation is unique and must be evaluated to ensure we can deliver 100% Customer satisfaction. If you have a custom project in mind, please Contact Us to discuss it.
Q. How do you price your Jewelry?
A. One of Southwest Designs overriding goals is to offer our Customers outstanding Jewelry with high comparative value. We consistently evaluate competitors' products and find that for similar Jewelry their prices are substantially higher. So we do not benchmark our pricing off competitors; we have a 3-step process we use to develop our Jewelry retail pricing:
- Develop a target price using an algorithm that considers raw material cost, labor hours/cost, overhead and desired profit margin.
- Compare the target price to "market price," that is, a price range we believe the market will accept based on our experience.
- Compare the target price to similarly-priced Southwest Designs Jewelry, both sold and unsold. Evaluate whether the value is consistent across a pricing tier, e.g. if all Jewelry priced at $329 offers similar benefits, design creativity and overall appeal.
- If necessary, adjust the target price based on these comparisons.
We have found this 3-step process to be highly reliable in establishing fair prices and promoting a high Customer value quotient.
Q. Do you adjust your Jewelry to alternate lengths if I'd prefer the piece to be longer or shorter?
A. In many cases we can make adjustments. If the Customer wants the piece to be shorter, there would be a charge for labor at $25/hour to adjust the design and re-string the Necklace. If the piece needs to be longer, the charge would include both labor at $25/hour plus the cost of any additional materials. In some instances we cannot make a piece longer because we do not have any more of the original material. This can be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Q. Do you offer free shipping if I spend a certain amount?
A. We offer FREE SHIPPING to all locations in the Continental U.S. We ship either First Class Mail, insured, or Flat Rate Priority Mail, insured, depending on the items. This accrues savings to our Customers of anywhere between $8.50 and $30 (depending on the value of the shipment, which impacts the insurance fee). We typically ship your Jewelry within 24 hours of receiving your order. Both First Class and Priority Mail offer a swift and secure means of delivering your Jewelry. Please refer to our Store Policies page — the section on Shipping — for additional details.