Jewelry Business Tip: Watching the Precious Metals Market

By on December 19, 2011
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by Kate Keipp,

Precious metal prices this year have been a bit turbulent as they’ve gone high and low and then extra high, record high to be exact. If you compare gold prices now to a couple of years ago you’ll find that they’re still incredibly inflated. The good news? Prices are lower now than they were just a few short months ago, and have remained fairly steady for about the last month. At close of markets on Friday, December 16th, gold was at $1599.20 per troy ounce. Even silver, which skyrocketed last spring to nearly $50 per ounce, has come back down in cost and remained constant the last few months. On Friday, December 16th the cost of silver was just $29.74 per troy ounce.

Did you know there are many variables that merge together to determine the cost of precious metals? There is always supply and demand to consider, but this summer, for instance, there was the US economic recovery and the European economy that affected the value of the dollar and the euro, and therefore, metal prices. Here in the U.S. the folks on Capitol Hill disagreed on fiscal measures, we suffered from a credit rating downgrade, and the EU neared defaults by some of its members. What will 2012 bring with the upcoming U.S. presidential election and most of the world trying to emerge from suffering economies? Unfortunately, nobody knows how all of these factors will affect the cost of precious metals. The best thing to do is stock up on precious metal wire and other findings while the prices are low!

We know a lot of you like to keep on top of the latest jewelry trends. And why not? You want to ensure the pieces you make are made with metal, beads and in styles that are popular, right? If you’re one of the many who trend watch, then you probably have noticed that gold jewelry wasn’t as popular this year. The cost was a main factor. Similar to the clothing world, the jewelry world works with what it can afford. Did you notice the colossal amount of flannel at your local retailers this year? It was "in" because it’s inexpensive to make clothes from that style of fabric. Silver, Argentium, silver-filled, and even copper are hugely popular right now because most people can afford pieces made from these metals.

Another metal that’s hot right now is copper. Yes, copper. This may be surprising, but there are so many ways to work with copper that will make you fall in love. You can put liver of sulfur on your copper and give it a lovely patina finish. This is huge in the fashion world and we’ve seen a lot of it locally, too.

To make things fair for you, our prices on precious metals change frequently to keep pace with market changes, so that if the price of silver or gold plunges, you will get the best deal. That’s why the price of our gold filled, Argentium, sterling silver, or silver-filled wire is different from last week, and the week before. We have an incredible stock of gold filled and sterling silver filled wire for you to choose from. Now is the time to jump at the chance to stock up on wire. With prices this low and so far, holding steady, it’s the right time to put in that large wire order you’ve been waiting for – and remember, our Gold Club members save an additional 25%!

P.S.: We often have people ask us, “If I buy silver wire at a low price, but then the price of silver is much higher when I finish my pieces, should I use the low price of silver, or the new, higher price to base my selling price on?” And what we always say is, consider the cost of replacing the material. If you sell your silver wire bracelet for less than it will cost you to restock on silver wire – you can’t afford it! Always keep your profit and costs in mind when you set prices on your precious metal jewelry pieces.

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  1. avatar

    Teena Canady

    December 19, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I am fairly new to the wire world of jewelry and would like to use copper. But, what in the world is liver of sulfur and where do you get it?

    • avatar


      December 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Hi Teena, LOS is used to add patina to certain metals for all sorts of uses, including jewelry making. Really, the best explanation of “how” it works and how to use it can be found here: Patinas: Liver of Sulfur Use

    • avatar


      December 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      And as far as where to get it, JewelryTools has a couple sizes available: Here, here, and here. I hope you give it a try, it is fun stuff!