Thursday, September 22, 2005

Of Supply And Demand: Glitters And Gold

This is a post based on small read-up, research and analysis that I have done before, as well as my own opinion from observations of the market, and the consumers. But I believe that I am more than 50% correct in my views.

Things of beauty have always been a consumer luring product, be it a diamond ring, cell phonesor cars. Truth be told, I purchase products on logic reasons (usage) more than attractiveness of the products, but here I will talk purely on the latter. Also, on the possibility of selling back the products for cash. Of course we know that cars prices drop about 20% - 30% in price the moment its bought from the manufacturer, but we'll talk on glitters and gold.


Gold is an investment product. It is a controlled item. I'm talking about gold that's made of 99.9% gold and 0.01% urea. Kidding! I have totally no idea what the other 0.01% is made of. Anyway, if you purchase gold bracelet, you're actually paying for the real price of gold, plus the labour cost of handywork, shipping cost and trading cost. When you sell back the bracelet in dire times, you're selling back the real price of gold, or lesser depending on demand. What most consumers usually fail to request is the authenticity of the gold being 99.9%.

Most Malaysians in the 80s and early 90s are quite used to those aunties bringing around gold products in bags and selling it to women who wants to look rich. That's where that Mami Jarum come in. I have a very big doubt that it's at least 50% gold, if not just a gold plated product. Gold is anyone's market.


Crystal IS NOT an investment product. At least it won't be for the next 200 years or even 500 years because supply is greatly higher than demand. Worst of all, since perfect crystal can now be manufactured, there really is no value in crystal. That said, I deem it as a decorative product. Stones like the amethyst and onyx are from the earth, and I really have not much say on the ability for industries to create these stones, so we'll just stick to pure crystals.

Crystal is purely a mixture of silica and lead. That means, your crystal products is made from sand, or glass and lead. Why people buy crystal is because it reflects light better than glass and that the more lead there is in crystals, the more difficult it is to break into pieces. Pure crystals are about 2% lead.

Swarovski crystals have a higher carbon composite that makes them chip and not break. Swarovski crystals command a very high price than the common Jaya Jusco crystal vase because of handiwork, perfect mixture of silica and lead in its per inch square and that it's brand is highly recognised, same like Hello Kitty.

For consumers, I'd really suggest that crystals are used purely for decorative purposes, and never to purchase for future reselling. Don't think of "It's really nice. I'd like to keep it, and if there's financial problems in the future, I can sell it off." Pawn shops will hardly accept crystal products. Crystal is a seller's market, not consumers.


Glass has no value. Purely for decorative purpose that 'must not' be touched. That is, if a glass product is made so nicely and it placed for decoration, we'd have to be sure not to have children play nearby. It can break so easily, and for adults who wishes to view the handiwork of glass products, they will leave fingerprints. Glass is a very common consumer's item, therefore it's purely a seller's market. Crap, I should not even talk about glass since it's a superbly common item.


It is said that a diamond is the hardest material in the world. Since only diamond can cut diamond, I guess it is,... but since I did not conduct and read-up on the whether it's true or not, I shall just believe the rumour, coz' this is about supply and demand.

Diamond, though it can be sold to jewellers or pawn shops, its value will decrease dramatically. The only way a diamond's value will increase if you buy a large diamond to cut them into smaller pieces and sell them at a higher price, just as Secret Recipe sells higher per piece than a whole cake. Diamond has a high supply and high demand. Easily, as much as there are marriages in a year, that's nearly as much diamonds sold in the same year. Diamonds are also bought during chinese new years and special occasions.

Due to that, it's largely a seller's market, not a consumer market. To sell a diamond, it will be more than 30% decrease in price to sell back to jewellers, and up to 70% decrease in price to pawn shops. Why?? Easy.... all men would want to buy diamond rings/bracelet/nose ring/tongue ring/tiara from respectable jewellers such as Tiffany & Co, Kedai Emas Gagal, Poh Kong, etc... and not from pawn shops or friends.

Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl: Wow, is this a diamond ring???
Guy: Yes, it is!
Girl: From Tiffany & Co?
Guy: No, I bought from my friend Jack, who I dunno bought from where.

Not to condemn girls in general, but not many girls will actually be elated to receive a diamond that was bought at a bargain. Therefore, diamond will always be a seller's market. It will be also another 500 years before diamonds can be considered an investment product.

Diamond will remain a product of significance. Wedding ring. 50th Anniversary Necklace. Relationship Bracelet. When the significance run out from break-up or divorce, that's when they get sold.


To me personally, all that glitters are beauty enhancement. At least 85% of glitters are worn on the body by women. Some wear it for the beauty, some for status and some for prestige. It's greatly common that at big functions people ask about the glitters a woman is wearing, where it came from, the price, all for prestige. At business meetings and appointment, glitters tend to show the current financial status of the woman (or the family, or husband, or boyfriend, whichever). For pure beauty's sake, people will only look from far, and will not question about the make, price or even place of purchase.

Due to that, I think it's better to buy items for beauty at cheap places. Rather than buying earrings (ear stud size) from jewellers, might as well buy from normal shops that sells 25% of the price. For plasticy items, rather than buying from normal non-branded shops, might as well buy from Sinma.

Oh,.... that said, Sinma's product is getting more expensive since their brand is starting to be well-known. Looks like in time-period terms, Sinma beats Mydin, but since they're totally of different industry, I cannot justify this sentence. :)

Now, what's the real purpose of this post!?? Nothing I guess. It just serve as a reminder to me, who used to be quite interested in stone crystals (cut to diamond shapes). They look really nice as they bounce light well, and are great products to be placed behind glass casings, but that's as much as it is. I think I have enough, I should not purchase more eventhough they're sold cheap in Penang's bargain sites. Well, at least I didn't buy diamonds or higher carbonated crystals for decorative purpose. :D

1 comment:

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