Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Precious Metals are in Demand -- Why Jewelry Prices have Increased Dramatically

Our world is growing every day. Not the planet, of course -- but technology has made it possible for people living just about anywhere to live better, healthier more comfortable lives. Growing markets and manufacturing centers have raised the standard of living worldwide. Of course it hasn’t helped everyone, but it is great to see people in China, India and many other countries becoming more prosperous.

People buy much more than necessities like food items and basic clothing when they can afford to do so. Everyone likes nice things. Luxury items -- high end cars, designer clothing, travel and jewelry have become status symbols in these up and coming places just as they have been for many years in the United States and much of Europe.

Increased demand for precious metal has risen along with this economic growth. There are many uses for these materials other than jewelry making. Gold is the best conductor of electricity; it is used extensively in the electronics industry. Silver is unsurpassed as a conductor of heat and is one of the best reflectors known. It is in great demand for manufacturing many of the things we use every day.

Precious metals are a limited resource. They truly are rare and the increased worldwide demand drives prices higher. It is a classic example of the supply and demand principle.

Three years ago silver was less than $5.00 an ounce. As I write this, the ounce price is close to $18.00. The price of gold has increased over $600.00 per ounce in the same time period; today the ounce price is about $930.00.

Jewelers don’t have it easy these days. The raw material they use costs much more, and it is becoming hard to carry stock – the investment is in many cases prohibitive.

Many jewelers are using copper in their designs. Copper has also seen dramatic price increases, but is still very affordable. Combining copper with sterling takes advantage of their contrasting colors, which can be very attractive.

Leather, ribbon and rubber cords are being used in place of chain to hold pendants.

Many newer styles are lighter, made with thinner stock. Pierced designs and filigree are making a comeback. These techniques produce large size pieces with lower weight.

Beaded styles are more popular than ever. Many of them use very little precious metal -- gold and silver beads are hollow, so they give jewelry a “big” look with little weight.

Of course, people will always wear jewelry. Gold and silver will always be the materials of choice. Higher prices prompt creativity; innovative design can help keep pendants and earrings affordable by using these limited resources sparingly. Less can be beautiful.

For information on the care and cleaning of sterling and 14K, please visit this article:
Jewellery Care

Article written by Robert Edwards ©2008. Robert is a jeweler and metalsmith, and is webmaster of http://www.jewelry24seven.com/.

This article may be linked and used as content on blogs and websites conditionally ... ALL content - links, author, copyright - must not be changed in ANY way - it must appear exactly as the article appears above.

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