Is Anyone Selling Sterling Silver Jewelry?

by Sarah.
(Massachusetts, USA)

Celtic Fairy Ring Charm Bracelet

Hi Everybody!

I don’t know about all of you, but I am having trouble selling my sterling silver jewelry in this economy. Things definitely have slowed down since after the holidays.

I Googled sterling silver last night to get an idea as to its current cost and it is selling for $46.61 an ounce. Ouch!

I am really reluctant to use other components and metals, but may have to go that route if prices for the silver keep increasing. My image has always been to create with sterling silver.

I feel like it is a vicious circle. Suppliers keep increasing their prices due to their costs and I have to increase my prices to cover my costs.

How does one survive? Very discouraging!

I just thought I would throw this out for discussion and see if you all are feeling the same way.

I would love to hear your comments.

Sarah
Sarahdipiti

Comments:

Anyone selling SS jewelry
by: Bev

I think most of us who specialize in Sterling Silver are feeling the pinch. I’ve tried to combine other metals like copper and some like the results but it is still s l o w! I’ve branched out to other kinds of techniques. Several of my less expensive piece sell well. Like our Signature Pendant.
You can see it here. http://www.ringbyringdesigns.com/signaturependants.html

Bev

Is anyone Selling Sterling silver
by: Sarah

Hi Bev,
Thank you for your comments. Your signature necklace is very nice and at a great pricpoint…. I have some pieces at that pricepoint but things are still SLOW!!

I know I may have to make some changes with the times but for now I may try and ride it out. Not sure for how long. this economic downturn may go on for a while.
Sarah

Sterling silver
by: Salima

Hello Sarah,

I like your bracelet. It is very nice !!!

I also use high quality sterling silver in my jewelery.
I order my silver from various countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Thailand and China.
Some friend of mine has mentioned that Bali has great silver too.
You can get very nice quality and fair prices for silver jewelery ,beads ,components, etc from the places I have mentioned, but it is better to buy everything in bulk.

Good luck with your future sales.

Very Best

Salima
http://www.cartouche.artfire.com
Cartouche Unique Handmade Jewelry and Gifts

SS jewelry prices
by: Janice

I feel your pain 😉 I have friends who have then opted to use base metals – it has helped their sales, but they have to sell much more to make the same money.
I decided to stay with all sterling – I feel better about my jewelry – and for me, this is a significant part of why I’m making jewelry.
Your piece is beautiful!
good luck – Janice

SS Jewelry
by: Sarah

Hi Janice,
Thank you for your kind comments. I feel the same as you. I like my pieces with sterling. I am leaning towards riding it out and see what happens with the economy down the road.
Sarah

SS Jewelry
by: Sarah

Hi Salina,
Thank you for the tip about ordering silver from overseas suppliers. I will look into itand will have to do some research as I am unfamiliar with reliable international jewelry suppliers.

Thank you again,
Sarah

ouch
by: pat barden

i’ll tell you what–when my 1 1/2″ 22 gauge head pins went from 14 cents to 21 cents-my heart sank–now they are a quarter each–and my 5mm 18 ga jump rings-used to be 19 cents-45 cents each–idropped one–ihave my daughter helping me search for it. at first i ate it–but now ive raized all my prices. about two months agogo i ran a 50% off sale–withe idea of selling off the old styles–taking the money for supplies for new designs–withe higher prices. ive listed % off coupons in my artfire shoppe–one with a higher % off–iffing the order amount is high. also, as soon as i post a new lariat or necklace-i offer it for a few days withe matching earrings included.
its funny, 25 yrs agogo when ijust made cool things withe sugical steel whatever crap–everyone wanted sterling silver–oh, cant you do that same thing in silver? but then they didnt wanto pay the extra–even then–now ihave people asking–can you make that same style in surgical steel, ihave allergies–Yeah, allergic to spending money, eh?

SS Jewelry
by: Sarah

Hi Pat,
I hear what you are saying…. I am finding the same thing. The cost of supplies are increasing in price so much and this is factored into each piece I make. As a result, I am finding that poeple want the sterling silver but do not want to pay for it. People want the quality but do not want the price… That is why I question how any one of us survives?

Sarah

Sterling Silver
by: Beth

Buying 45 grams of PMC at almost $100 was a shock to me (I was buying the same packet last fall for $63) but I’ve decided to stick with sterling/PMC as opposed to base metals because I’ve worked hard to build the www.WiltonArtisans.com brand and using sterling silver was a big part of it. Especially at art shows I like being able to say everything is made with sterling/fine silver. I’m finding especially with earrings, people are concerned about having sterling ear wires.

That being said, I raised my prices a bit to cover the increase in silver and decided this season to give people the option of buying a piece without the chain so they could save some money in these tough ecomonic climate. I’m learning most people have sterling chains at home that would work with my designs. So now everyone’s happy – I’m still able to make some sales and people get to buy new jewelry!

One other thing I’ve been doing is being very careful about waiting for sales/coupons online to make sterling purchases – right now there are a few floating out there that help with the high price of silver. On a happy note – it was down 6% yesterday!

Good luck to all as the Summer craft/art fairs begin!
Beth
www.WiltonArtisans.com

SS Jewelry
by: Sarah

Thank you Beth for the great tip about selling the pendnats separatley. I will definatly try that and see what the responce is.
Good luck to you for a successful summer.
Sarah

SILVER FILLED FINDINGS
by: Ann Lynda

I am still using sterling silver but have my eye on Silver-Filled findings from FineDings.com. They advertise this product as sterling silver bonded to the outside of a core base metal. This process is not silver plating ed but is the same process that is used for Gold-Filled items. You might want to explore this further. I’d be interested to know how you make out. Good luck!

Tough on Beginners, Too!
by: Barbara

I’ve heard a lot of comment on various wire work lists about the rising costs of both sterling and gold. Established jewelry artists are certainly affected, but those of us just starting to build up inventory for future sales efforts are having it even harder. We don’t yet have an income stream to fund additional purchases. To keep from having to overspend on precious metals, I’ve started looking for ways to incorporate more stone, crystal, and other materials and substitute less costly silver-plated pewter spacers for sterling when possible without compromising the design. My future product line is designed around classic elegance, and it’s hard to carry out that design goal with base metals and plated components that I know will not stay bright and “clean” over time. So I’m biting the bullet and shelling out for the good stuff. For precious metal wire, I shop the online suppliers for the best price and have tried to gear my efforts toward designs that use the same guage and shape wire so I can take advantage of quantity price breaks instead of buying a little of several wire sizes.

Barb West
Zephyr Creations

Soaring Silver prices
by: Eileen

I too am perplexed over the steady cost increase of sterling silver.
Like alot of you, I pride myself with making high quality products that will last years and still look great. I cannot allow myself to use base metals, its goes against everything I have worked towards. I am still working with Sterling that I purchased last summer before the cost of silver skyrocketed. Soon my stockpile will run out and I will be forced to take the profits I make from these Spring/Summer sales to pay for Silver I will need to continue to make beautiful Art jewelry. I have read about the “new silver coated wire” alternative, but I feel I would be cheating my consumers by marketing it as Sterling Silver. If anyone knows how to contact these Bali and or out of country companies that sell silver at fair prices, I’d love to find out how to contact them. Lets just hope for a fruitful summer!
CLASSIC COASTAL CREATION, VA

high silver prices
by: Anonymous

I, too, am struggling with the high cost of silver. For a while there, I was watching the price of the chain I use go up every week. It went from $11/ foot to $13 to $16 and is now at $18. Ten years ago I got it for $5! lol. I am scared to see the price of it today, although I think the market price when back down to about $45 an ounce.

I use the fact that my work is sterling silver as a selling point. It will last and last. So if people want to invest in something they can wear again and again throughout the years, then my jewelry is a better investment than base metals which may fall apart, look grungy after a while, etc. I also try to design pieces that can be worn with many different outfits for different occasions, so it can be a “signature” piece and worn a lot (and thus worth the money to the buyer).

I don’t like the look or feel of base metals, so I do not want to work with it nor wear it myself. My customers will be the people who feel the same way.

Also, can you work silver plated metal like sterling? Can you solder the jump rings shut so your jewelry does not fall apart? I was shocked at a craft fair once when I saw some very expensive gold-filled pieces falling apart because jump rings were not completely shut. I like to make my jewelry durable, and I know I can do that with sterling.

Salima… How do you go straight to sources like China? I have dug around through different wholesalers here in the US (in my city and through mail order) and have only been able to find places that may have something for a buck or two less than another place. And that is including the discounts they offer for bulk. I do not know how to get to the people THEY buy from. Is that even possible? Or would you have to buy in ULTRA bulk?? Or do you have to be a wholesaler or big company to even get to them?

SS jewelry
by: Sarah

Hi Eileen,
I am with you!!! I would love to get a contact with an international vendor that would sell to me for a lower price.
Sarah

Another view on silver pricing
by: Lois

Hi,
I’m concerned that we are all in a panic about the price of silver when if you are pricing your ART based on it being art the majority of the price is in your time not the cost of the silver. I’m not down playing the difference in the cost of silver, it has doubled and more in a short time period but how much does that actually change your price? With a few exceptions, cost of materials usually works out to about 1/6th of my price. Very low and very high priced items are the exceptions.
If I raise my prices by 1/6th, I’ve covered my increased cost of replacement of materials and the price hasn’t been raised inordinently. Easy example is, if I have a $36.00 piece, totally made from silver, my materials price when I made it was about $6.00. Double that to $12.00 to cover replacement cost and my price is now $42.00. Most that would be willing to pay $36.00 are not priced out at $42.00.
Now if only $3.00 was silver originally, then you only need to raise your prices $3.00 to $39.00. Of course, I’m using $20 and $40 for the silver prices just to make the numbers easy but you get the idea.
If you are pricing your ART based solely on the cost of materials then you will have to double or more your prices to keep up. Just something to think about.
Hope this helps give another point of view on the silver market.
Lois
http://www.abeadedaffair.com

Just a suggestion
by: Instead HCJ

One of the things that was suggested to me when I was talking about the high prices of other types of jewelry components was buying groups.

I sure that some if not all of you have heard of using a buying group to be able to purchase in bulk and keep the price low by combining all of the purchases of the individual members.

Maybe there is already a buying group that could/would by sterling silver or maybe some of you could join together to create a new buying group.

Anyone Selling Sterling Silver
by: EarArt

I feel the pain also. When I first started making and selling jewelry, it was about $11 ounce and I thought that was expensive! Fortunately for the past several years, I have purchased lots of sterling wire and findings, more than I even knew!

I am now using more base metal chains; they are making some nice anti-tarnish chains and I have been able to sell my jewelry made with these chains. I always tell my customers that it is base metal and so far, no complaints! However, I only us sterling silver earwires (I make my own in large quantities). Below is a link to a necklace I did with glass beads and plated chain (doesn’t have clasp yet).
http://pic20.picturetrail.com:80/VOL18/413031/1269423/396019683.jpg

From what I am hearing on my job (my attorney works with people dealing in gold/silver, it might be a long time coming before the prices come down where it was a few years ago.

Janet
EarArt ‘n Things
www.picturetrail.com/earart

Think non metal alternatives too
by: Annette

I think I (and some other jewellery designers) just plod along and sell at the same sort of prices year in, year out. Every other sort of business raises their prices regularly but it seems we don’t. No wonder we get a nasty shock when we go to buy more supplies!

I have HAD to raise my prices for new stock. Sales tick over and I’ve always taken the tack that if you make something different and find your target market then you will sell (maybe not as much as in a booming economy, but still sell regularly).

Don’t forget to look at non metal alternatives. Try putting that pendant on a ribbon or leather or cord.

Sticking with the quality metals
by: LadyMockingbird

I’ve shopped overseas suppliers of silver and gold. In every instance, save once, the overseas shipping costs and tariffs outweighed the potential cost savings of buying from US suppliers.

That one time the cost was lower…the silver provided was NOT sterling. Bali silver, for example is almost never sterling but has high nickel content. Be very careful what you try to order from overseas, other countries have different quality requirements for what constitutes ‘silver.’

There’s another foreign term floating around that sounds really elevated but actually means nickel silver. (I forget the word bah…)

Most of my work is done on a made-to-order basis, and so I don’t order any additional materials for a custom client until after the client has made the purchase and paid-in-full. Only then do I order the materials. When I order materials for the client’s order, I usually order more than I need and use what I don’t use in the custom piece to make stock for my shop.

I also let all of my clients who want sterling,.999 fine silver, or gold filled components know that the price I quote them for a custom piece is only good until the next market shift.

And though the stock market price of silver is in the 40s wire prices, and manufactured components are much higher per ounce.

Also someone asked if gold filled or sterling filled wire can be worked like regular solid sterling. It can be hammered, shaped etc. Gold filled is not like plated metals where the plating flakes off if the wire is manipulated.

Finally, in response to the person who felt it would be unethical to market sterling filled wire as sterling, she would be right. However it is perfectly ethical to mark something as sterling filled. or 14/20 gold filled. Etc. Offer up full disclosure on the materials you use. You’ll never be sorry you did.

SSJewelry
by: Sarah

Hi Everyone,
What a great discussion!! I am glad to see that I am not alone… Many great thoughts and ideas. Thank you for sharing.

Keep them coming!
Sarah

Silver-fill
by: M’Lady’s Creations

I have been trying out the sliver-fill for chainmaille . The rings are working just like SS. I laid out the rings for a bracelet, a 4 in 1 and I had $50.00 on the table and hadn’t picked up a tool yet. How much will that cost in the end. I have started in the last few years to use pure copper works well with Turq and gives chainmaille an interesting twist. But, I just like saying we make all our stuff from SS.

Susan

Sterling Silver alternatives
by: Mahala

I use some sterling silver in my pieces, but even before prices soared the amount was limited because I like to keep my overhead down allowing me to offer my jewelry at a lower price than my competition.

I have found that there are a number of pewter, aluminum and other silver colored metals that I have used for many years. I offer a lifetime warranty on ALL my items which offers free repair and/or care for all my pieces so my customers may be confidnet they will be wearing thier jewelry for years to come, and I will ensure all connections are tight, beading wire is not wearing thin and that it shines as bright as the day it was purchased.

In over five years in business I have had very few pieces in which I used plated or pewter items instead of sterling silver. Bottom line is there are many wonderful alternatives to stering silver that hold up as well and maintain their beauty wear after wear.

SSjewelry
by: Sarah

Thank you Mahala for your helpful comments… You offered some great advice and tips…Especially the tip on offering customers a lifetime sarisfaction guarantee with the products that you sell.. That is something I will definatly start thinking about doing for my customers to breed customer loyalty and build relationships… Very omportant!!!
Sarah

SSJewelry
by: Sarah

I apologize for the typo.. I mean very important… I hit the wrong key…
Sarah

Sterling Silver
by: A Splash of Chic jewelry designs

I also struggle with wanting to use the highest quality products without breaking the bank for my customers. I use alot of sterling silver but I also found beads and spacers that are sterling silver plated over copper. I have been using them for about a year now and they are fabulous. It would be very hard to tell the difference between the plated beads and pure sterling silver. I am always honest with the customer with what they are getting and they have been evry pleased with the product. I use a 50/50 mix 0f sterling silver and the SS plated and it keeps my designs in a more reasonable price range. I also use 22karat gold plated (over copper beads and spacers instead of vermeil. If my customer wants nothing but vermeil, no problem,in that case, they have to pay more for the piece they are purchasing.

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  • Nice discussion there. To be honest, for me, at the end it boils down to what you are comfortable with and for how long you can afford it. I jumped into jewelry making with strictly sterling silver. Yes, I sold some pieces, but nearly not as enough as I’d hoped for. And now my silver items are just pretty much stuck in my online store, and I have even more laying around at home. So I tried copper instead, and I am in love with it, too. It is a pure metal, nothing plated that will eventually wear off. It looks great, you can still oxidize it. And since I am branching into wire-weaving, it serves the purpose. If I were to make the same piece in silver, the price would be too scary for a lot of people. Copper ones are still more expensive than your average jewelry item because of the amount of labor and wire used, but still affordable if people really like it. I know we all choose our markets, and I wish I could say my targeted market would appreciate my sterling silver dedication and support me anyway, but with the economy it does not really work for me. Yes, everyone enjoys my silver creations and compliments me in them, but they are not buying anything, still. And I would like to keep things moving, more or less. Having said all this (a bit long, I know) I still offer some simple silver pieces in my store to let people know I work with different metals, and I make it known that custom orders for copper items in sterling instead are welcome. Or I offer an option to attach sterling ear wires to my copper earrings. Thanks if you read it this far. Good luck to all.

  • Cheryl says:

    Hi, Love the discussion. I’ve been contemplating moving to more sterling silver. I just dont’ feel good about putting time and love into each piece knowing in a few months it might not be wearable as the silver plated pieces wear down.
    I always repair anything free of charge that i sell at any time. I’ve only had two bracelets come back in 3 yrs that broke and I was horrified that the extension chain I used, jump rings and spacer balls were all tarnished. I don’t even think its tarnish, just the copper base metal showing through from the silver plating wearing away.

    I’ve decided to use only sterling silver components on the items already listed on my etsy shop. Jump rings, spacer balls and wire guardians..and sterling silver extension chains. I’m going to make the extension chains and jump rings myself to save money from the s.s. wire and chain.

    I know people who buy silver plated jewelry know it won’t last forever, but using gemstones and the time involved, it just seems a shame to have it be unwearable in a short time. I know there are so many factors for how long a plated piece will last from if they get it wet, sweat a lot, or even wear it constantly..

    One thing I’m doing is revising my listings with a sterling silver upgrade price they can add to the item if they prefer sterling. This way they can choose if they want plated or not for the same item design they like.

    I am also starting to use only sterling silver ear wires.

    Great discussion!! thanks for all the great info.

    Cheryl

  • suly says:

    I am with Salima…. i tend to buy in bulk from Thailand or china, but i have to say that with shipping cost (not all offer free), and international taxes seems that sometimes its not worth it, i have managed to find a good wholesaler right in the us and buy bulk outside when i see a good deal. I also found a good wholesaler locally for those emergency pieces. I think having those options has helped me meet all my jewelry needs. Oh and with my local and U.S. suppliers I tend to even get more discount for being a continued costumer. Something to keep in mind.

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