Ouch! $40 per oz silver....

Apr 08 2011

Today, the price of silver went up to $40 an ounce.  I never thought I would ever see the price of silver go up so high in my lifetime, and I still have a few good decades left to go.   Platinum hit $1810 an oz and gold came close to $1500 per oz.    All this ups and downs is very trying for me and my fellow metalsmiths.   When I started making jewelry back in '84, the price of silver was around $8 an oz, give or take, and pretty much stayed that way for years.  In the early 2000's, it was $5 an oz and I was buying silver like crazy.   Gold was as low as $264, so I did a lot of gold/silver jewelry, and a number of gold rings. 

Not anymore.   Now I conserve my silver like people conserve water, and ration it out.   I've cannibalized a number of my jewelry to reuse the silver, and made my scrap gold last as long as I can and I have very little of it left.   I've even started having brass/bronze chains and jewelry silver or gold-plated now, which is something I normally reserve for flatwere.    At least I've gotten very good at melting down my clean silver scrap, pouring it into ingot molds and rolling it out into useable wire.   I'm even eyeing old silver jewelry I don't wear anymore and wondering should I scrap it and reuse the silver? 

Once silver start hitting $50 an oz which it did in 1980 when the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market, I think we in the jewelry business will be paying for that dearly.   People want to pay for nothing, or the lowest price possible, and unfortunately the cost of raw materials has double or tripled, so I can't lower my prices much, only reduce and reduce the amount of materials I use or use brass or copper, which is not my favorite due to never-ending tarnishing.  I would like to keep my prices down, but it's not possible.   I'm afraid I will have to increase my prices just to keep afloat.   My jewelry friends and I agonize over how to price our work.    

Here's Cal Jr and Forrest Gump, my two hedgies.  Enjoy them!

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