I am not very knowledgeable about jewelry, but I am an engineer. I do experimental work, and I often have to get parts manufactured that are one of a kind. I have become very good at looking at a part or a machine, doing a few calculations, coming up with an estimate of what it should cost, and being within +/- 25%.
When I went to Daniel to get an engagement ring made for my now fiancé, I did the same thing I would have done for any other custom part. I calculated the material cost, figured out how the part would be made, and then calculated the skilled labor, and machine cost for the different processes. I am probably still hated in Charleston, SC from when I bought my last car, I really haggled with a lot of dealers I think I made 10 different offers on 10 different cars before I finally closed a deal at a fair price for both parties.
When I bought that beautiful ring that Daniel made for me, I didn’t even haggle with him… That ring was a great value. You can go buy a ring that is getting cast by the thousands from a regular jeweler and maybe (though in many cases not) get it for marginally cheaper per oz. of precious metal. However, when you get it from Daniel, you have a one of kind piece of art that was made by a guy who loves what he does and he is so skilled at his craft that he can make a much more beautiful ring that is still cost competitive with mass produced rings.