Why concrete jewelry has its skeptics and why the doubts are unfounded - if you do it right.
When talking to other people, we often hear sentences like: “But won’t it break quickly?”, “It’s definitely really hard on the ear!” or “I think it’s too expensive for it’s just a bit of concrete.” At that moment we realize again and again how much educational work is still needed to get these prejudices out of the way. Although we sometimes talk our mouths off at design markets trying to explain the background to our concrete jewelry to everyone, we still don't get tired of it all. Concrete jewelry is still something completely new for many people and we have developed a particularly special mixture especially for the jewelry. So how is someone supposed to know that if they don’t know us?
That's why we wanted to take a closer look at each individual prejudice and explain the most important differences to you.
1. Concrete jewelry breaks immediately.
If you use normal concrete, this is true. Our tests with decorative concrete also did not produce unbreakable results. On the contrary - our pieces of jewelry usually broke during demoulding. ADVANTAGES of our concrete: However, we do not use normal types of concrete and do not use any type of decorative or craft concrete, but only specially developed and modified types of UHPC or UHFB - Ultra High Performance Concrete or ultra-high-strength concrete. These grades are based on the strongest cement available on the world market. This cement or ultra-high-strength concrete is usually used for delicate architecture or in mechanical engineering and is up to 20 times more stable than normal concrete. However, it is processed very differently and requires less than 10% water (which also contributes to greater stability). The mixture that we developed for our concrete jewelry is also much finer than normal concrete and therefore has a higher density.
As you can see, our concrete jewelry does not normally break if it falls to the ground. However, larger pieces of jewelry have a higher weight and a larger surface area - these can break (if they land incorrectly). However, this is usually due to the incorporated copper crystals (because the material thickness of the concrete is minimized at this point) and the greater forces that act on the piece of jewelry. However, you should keep in mind that other pieces of jewelry made of silver or precious stones can also break in the event of a fall. For example, the tourmaline gemstones we use can withstand much less than our concrete.
2. Concrete jewelry is heavy.
Concrete is usually heavy. This depends on the respective mixture/grain size, and “it’s the mass that counts”. ADVANTAGE of our concrete: Our concrete has a higher density than normal concrete, but also a much finer grain size, which of course makes a difference in weight. Because we can work so incredibly delicately and thinly with our specially developed concrete, our pieces of jewelry are light as a feather. Let's compare: To ensure that large earrings made of silver or gold do not feel too heavy, they should not weigh more than 20 grams per piece - our large JANE earrings, on the other hand, only weigh a maximum of 9-10 g per earring (depending on the material was incorporated for refinement). Our MARY necklace weighs under 3 g and an ear stud only weighs a delicate gram!
3. Concrete is cheap. Then concrete jewelry also has to be cheap.
Fun fact: Concrete in the hardware store is only so cheap because it is sold below value in a so-called mixed calculation. The hardware stores assume that when they use it, they not only buy the concrete in their home, but also everything else that is necessary to work with it. Since there are differences not only in the type of concrete, but also in its quality, the price naturally varies accordingly. This simply has to do with the quality of the materials used – i.e. the recipe. ADVANTAGE of our concrete: Our concrete types are of the best quality there is. And quality has its price here too. Therefore, our grades are up to 10 times more expensive than normal concrete. But that's not the only thing that affects the product price. This concrete not only has the highest quality materials (such as marble powder) in its recipe, but is also processed completely differently in order to be extremely stable. There are many things that you have to pay attention to. For example, mixing requires special compulsory mixers that can generate the force required when mixing UHPC.
But what else makes a product price like this?
Well, of course also the high-quality materials that we use for the jewelry. We refine our jewelry with real gold leaf, silver leaf or recycled copper. We obtain this copper from old power cables. There's a lot to do before we can process these into the pieces of jewelry: We have to remove the rubber from the cables, chop up the copper wire, clean it, sort out the remaining pieces of rubber under a magnifying glass, then seal it and only then can we use it!
Last but not least, we only use nickel-free real silver (925 sterling silver) for the jewelry and have it plated with high quality (18-24 carat) and long-lasting gold. This is what sets us apart from jewelry suppliers in a similar price segment:
High quality: The carat number provides information about the purity of the gold plating. Example: 24 carat = 99.9% purity/pure gold.
Durability: A distinction is made here between gold-plated and gold-plated. Gold-plated is the name given to jewelry that has only been covered with a thin layer (sometimes just paint, not real gold) - this process is often used on brass. Gold-plated means that a thick layer of gold has been applied to a higher quality metal (e.g. silver). The strength or thickness is given in microns or micrometers - the higher the number, the better or longer the gold plating lasts. Our jewelry has a thickness of 2 microns. The standard for fashion jewelry is 0.5 microns.
For anyone who would like to know more about it or is just starting out with their product/company, we will go into more detail below.
Because this also needs to be taken into account in the price:
Our handwork and fair wages for our employees
Purchase value of the materials used (cement, silicone, gold leaf, etc.)
Sustainable production in Germany
VAT (19%), trade tax & income tax
Packaging material for shipping (cardboard, filling material, adhesive tape, etc.)
Advertising materials included in the package (such as flyers, thank you cards, stickers, etc.)
Margins for resellers such as physical stores
As well as proportionally:
Rent of workshop/office space
Heating and additional costs
Marketing expenses for advertisements, advertising, trade fairs, etc.
Fees for the website and the online shop
Fees from payment providers such as PayPal or credit cards
Account management fees for company accounts
Costs for the tax advisor
Product development costs (design, prototypes, molds, etc.)
Vehicle ownership, insurance and travel costs
Contributions to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and/or Chamber of Crafts, as well as professional associations
Wear and tear on tools, machines and work equipment
And much more.
Oh yes, and then you should also make a little profit somewhere so that you can invest in your company - for example in machines, computers, office furniture, vehicles, etc... All of this needs to be taken into account when you build a company Have a future and not be a one-hit wonder. Because – if we’re honest – without profit and a future, all the effort isn’t worth it. After all, you want to be able to make a living from your project.
graphic made by Tinker Creative
Convinced of the opposite?
We hope we were able to give you a deeper insight into the background. As you can see: It takes a lot to make concrete jewelry - but above all a lot of love and passion for what we do! At least we are convinced that it is worth taking a look behind the facade.
Your Jungle Crew