There has been lots of news in the jewelry making community lately surrounding the near unaffordable price of sterling silver these days. You may have read Lori Anderson’s timely and informative post about this. The High Cost of Silver. The subject has been on my mind recently too because I placed an order a few weeks ago with one of my favorite silver findings and bead designers – Nina Designs. I also was shocked at how little sterling you get these days for your money. This was over $100 wholesale of sterling.
I’m glad I stocked up when I did because today, the 14th of January, at 5pm Nina’s prices increase another 22%! Most commodity experts seem to agree that the price of silver is not going to stop it’s rise anytime soon. So what are we to do?
How big business is dealing with silver prices…
All you have to do is go shopping or open a catalog to see that fashion jewelry design houses are dealing with this by using creative alternatives and just less sterling along with plated options. I saw one large jewelry designer using the term “silver dipped” for their beads. “Dipped” is a smart and playful way of marketing “plated” – which has a much less desirable connotation.
How I am dealing with the prices…
I have definitely learned to be more creative in my jewelry making. It has caused me to explore many different types of stringing materials like waxed linen, cotton cording, silk fairy ribbons, leather and sterling plated silver chain. It has turned me on to all the fantastic art beads out there as well as alternative metals like copper and bronze. I think twice before I put solid sterling silver beads, chain or findings in my designs these days.
If you Sell Your Jewelry With Sterling – Maybe You Need a Marketing Shift?
From a sales perspective, it is now more important than ever to market pieces you are selling with sterling silver as “special, collectible & heirloom” pieces to help educate your buyers about how valuable a piece is when it contains sterling. In many cases, big designers with teams of business and marketing folks behind the, are switching over their pieces with lots of sterling to the category of “Fine Jewelry” – simply because the price of materials has demanded this.
Have You Hoarded Silver?
If so – good for you! You can and should profit from it or hang on to it and let it appreciate more. I’m glad I am still hoarding some silver from back when it cost in the $11 range – but I would never just give it away or under price jewelry containing it just because I paid so much less for it. It is truly a valuable commodity these days sure to get even more valuable and it should be treated that way.
A NEW OPTION TO SOLID STERLING – SOME GOOD NEWS
Finally about my headline…
Fire Mountain Gems announced Wednesday they have been working hard with their metal fabricators for over two years and are now offering a .925 SILVER FILLED – not plated line of wire and findings. The good news is that silver filled has a higher perceived value than plated – just like gold filled vs. plated. Their selections seems a bit limited at the moment but I am sure there is more coming soon. Fire Mountain has tested it and says it handles like sterling. You can hammer it, solder it, polish it and use liver of sulfer to give it a patina. Sounds pretty promising. I am headed over to buy some now to test it out for myself!
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