Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday's art article - Precious metal and jewelry prices

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If you're on the Cow Art and More mailing list, you may have received an email yesterday explaining that jewelry prices will be going up effective May 1. As I write this, the price of silver has gone up 50 percent since the beginning of the year. I have grappled with trying to keep jewelry prices at reasonable levels in this economy, but unfortunately, the amount of metal used in a piece of cow jewelry is the number one influencing factor in the final price of the jewelry charms, bracelets and necklaces. As the price of sterling silver goes up, I'm faced with the daunting task of managing shrinking margins with affordability to the customer. (I won't get into showing you a bunch of graphs and reports, but you can go to and research silver, gold and platinum prices for as many months or decades as you want to.) While absorbing minimal to moderate changes in the price has been tough, I simply cannot absorb that big a price change in the raw materials without it impacting the final retail price.

So you may be asking yourself, "Why is the price changing so much?"

Simply put, precious metals also serves as an investment vehicle. As the United States economy continues to be on shaky ground, precious metals continues to grow in popularity across many economies as a way to protect against a weakening U.S. dollar. Unfortunately for those of us who use the actual metal (versus investing in shares or futures of the product), we are faced with a smaller supply available for us to use in a finished piece of jewelry, flatware, sculpture, etc.

While there are the labor costs associated with producing an actual piece of cow jewelry, the amount of metal used in the charms, necklaces, pendants and bracelets is by far the largest influencing factor. All I can ask is for your understanding in this time of price increases and know that I will HAPPILY lower prices once the precious metal markets come back down.

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