Monday, September 19, 2011

Silver is the New Gold

I’ve written about the gold buying frenzy and also how the huge increases in gold have created an alternative metals jewelry market. As of the writing of this article, silver was running just over $40 an ounce, a bargain when compared to gold which is selling at over $1800 for an ounce. Silver is the new gold when it comes to jewelry.

I’ve always loved silver and even when I’ve purchased jewelry in gold it’s usually white gold. My upgraded wedding ring and my favorite diamond studs are in platinum due to their durability and of course, silver tone color. Silver is now becoming a staple of the jewelry industry and more and more designs are being turned out in this much more affordable metal. While silver is vastly more affordable than gold, it does have a couple of minor drawbacks.

Silver can change color with time. If anyone has seen old movies, there was always a maid or butler who polished the silver. Silver required regular polishing in order to keep the beautiful silver tone without the usual black tarnish or oxidation that could occur. While this is essentially still true, modern techniques for silver manufacturing and the introduction of new compounds make this less likely to happen. I’ve also noticed that jewelry made from pure silver (.999) is much less likely to tarnish or change color than sterling silver (.925). When at all possible I recommend buying pure silver versus sterling.

Another drawback is the ease in which silver can scratch. Highly polished silver items can be scratch even with a polishing cloth if the cloth is remotely rough. This is not an exclusive feature of silver and I am not trying to say that gold never scratches; it just takes a little longer on a polished surface. The solution to silver scratching is to purchase pieces that have a buffed surface or intricate detailing. Many silver designs are antiqued and filigreed so the purchaser does not have to worry about any tarnish or scratching. The nature of the design is enhanced with age and wear.

While some people may consider these drawbacks too large to purchase silver jewelry, one cannot dispute the huge difference in price. At the current pricing a person would be able to purchase 45 ounces of silver to one ounce of gold, you do the math. The size of the piece or pieces you can purchase made out of silver is quite substantial when given an equal budget as gold. More bang for the buck.

Additionally, innovative and statement pieces that use silver, because of the huge price difference, allow larger designs generally requiring more precious metal. Our herringbone pure silver necklace uses 93.3 grams of silver. If this necklace was made of gold it would cost over $5900 for the material alone, this doesn’t include the labor to produce the piece. As you can see silver is a really good deal in today’s market.

Of course everything I’ve written is based on two figures, $1800 for gold and $40 for silver per ounce, and as everyone knows, the metal markets have been fluctuating wildly. Since there is probably going to be continued volatility with these commodities for some time, purchasing silver jewelry is not a bad investment. Why not invest in a little silver jewelry for yourself? 

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