Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How The Rise In Silver Prices Will Effect My Business

I've talked a lot about fear on my blog and about trying to move beyond fear.......

Lately I have been stuck in a pretty deep swamp of fear.

You see my industry is changing. When I started out in my jewelry career only 3 short years ago the cost of silver, my metal of choice, was around $18 an ounce. Today silver is at an all time high of $38 an ounce and it is only expected to continue rising in price. They are anticipating that it could get as high as $60 an ounce by the end of this year and in the next couple of years could rise as high as $250 an ounce.

I use sterling silver in every single piece of jewelry I make. Sterling silver chain, clasps, earring hooks, posts, wire, and sheet. It's all silver. Which means that every single component of my pieces has more then doubled in cost and is going to continue to rise. Which is really freaking scary.

When I talk about this in my circle,the average response is always "why don't you just raise your prices?" and yes, I will have to raise my prices. But this is a bigger issue then just raising my prices. Raising my prices to the extent that I will have to if silver prices get as high as predicted could completely change the market that I'm selling to. It could mean that my current market, my amazing customers that I have been selling to for the past number of years might no longer be able to buy my work, or will at least have to buy less often, or really think before buying. I really value my customers and my stores so thinking about them no longer being my target market is scary. I worry that this rise in silver prices will push out some of the businesses at my level in the industry if we don't prepare for it.

I feel like I need to get out of my frozen in fear state of mind and be proactive and protective of my business that I've built. So I've come up with some options and would love some feedback and thoughts from my customers, my fellow jewelers, my peers, other business owners, mentors, smart people, and Donald Trump (because I'm pretty sure he reads my blog).

Here are the options:

1. Continue growing my line as it is and increase my prices as needed.

2. Change to plated silver components in my jewelry, possibly even silver plated enameled pieces to keep my prices in the same price range they are in.

3. Explore alternative materials......base metals, fabrics..etc to try to keep costs down and prices low.

4. Create a gold line. Move higher end with my work and embrace a higher end market.

5. Move to Argentina, find a husband named Pablo and drink wine all day and all night.

If you want to share some feedback, ideas, tips, or just have a conversation with me please comment below or send me an email to


  1. choice number 4 or 5 I think would be the way to go, I'm leaning towards number 5..

  2. Patsy, this post is pretty much a script of my recent thoughts. I dunno, I wish #5 was the solution :)

    For now, I am going to continue on and raise my prices as needed. But if the prices rise to what they say they might rise to, I am think some combination of options #2,3,4 would have to do. I get a knot in my belly whenever I think of it, but I'm trying to stay cautiously optimistic in the mean time.

  3. Thanks Ladies. I have spent some time looking at Argentina Websites...I have always wanted to learn the Tango....;)

    Cautiously optimistic sounds good Amy and I agree that a combo of all of them might be the way to go.....maybe.

  4. What about a combination of all of the above?

  5. The one thing that I find is good about the rise in silver prices is that fact that people realize that they are buying a precious metal. With the price of silver being so low for so long, people often look at silver as a cheap metal, nothing special. When in reality, it is a beautiful, natural and precious material that is overlooked. With the prices of this metal rising, consumers will see that silver isn't just a cheap alternative to gold, but rather a precious metal worth investing in, just like gold. In fact, a girlfriend of mine just bought her fiance a few ounces of fine silver for his birthday, as he invests in gold. Silver will never reach anywhere near the price of gold so it will continue to be sought after as an alternative that is less expensive but still a precious metal. This is really a good thing, people will cherish their silver jewellery a lot more. So have no fear Patsy, "everyting will be ire!"

  6. That's a really good point Leanne. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Yes, silver has been seen as a cheap metal for a very long time. So with it moving up in price people could see buying silver jewelry as more of an investment. I hope so. I think if we all educate our customers about this it will help to get people to stop seeing silver as a cheap metal. I also think that talking about it with each other in our industry is a really great thing and gives us all ideas on how to keep building our businesses in our changing industry.

  7. Mm. I like Leanne's take on it. so true.

  8. Hey Patsy, I don't know much about the jewelry world but I could suggest one thing. My husband and I spent about four days in Taxco, Mexico (silver capital). There is so much silver everywhere there so the prices tend to be the most competitive. I'm not sure how much you're able to bring into Canada, but the prices are the cheapest I've seen anywhere. It's a BEAUTIFUL town with so much great art and gorgeous jewelry. Yes, it's expensive to get down there, however, if you were buying for a bunch of people it might be worth it.?? Find a cheap flight into Mexico City then bus to Taxco (2 hours). Just a random suggestion.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing. I love and welcome random suggestions. A trip to Mexico would be fun and Taxco sounds lovely, I'll have to look into it.
    I have wondered how the silver price increases will effect the market in Mexico. I imagine it will have to reflect in their production and prices as well.