View Full Version : Bullion or Sterling?

30th March 2008, 23:37
I would like to know what people think is the best investment choice for silversmiths who make jewelry (specifically, the self-employed artisans). Should they worry about stocking on bullion with their free money/profits/scraps, or would they be just as well off in the long run furnishing their own high-quality sterling? Do pieces with rare gemstones and intricate craftsmanship necessarily ensure a high market value relative to bullion, for instance? Or are there too many criteria in the market to be sure it won't eventually be a matter of melt value?

31st March 2008, 01:05
it takes a pretty high value on bullion before the bullion value outweighs the Jewellry/Art aspect of the cost

I would think you could use Gold as a guideline right now with gold at 900-1000 you certainly see a lot of jewellry being traded in for Melt.

I would think Silver would need to go to a price of Hundreds per ounce before silver jewellry would even start to be bullion driven

I would think that unless you produce use major amounts of silver volume in your jewelry that the bullion content cost really is insignificant and your markup should easyly handle market fluxuations

that being said i belive silver will go up and is a good investment for anyone as a hedge against dollar weakness.

also as a silver smith considering the current shortages of physical silver it would i think be wise to increase your inventory to compensate for the possible very long lead times to replace used stock,

999Fine or sterling i dont think makes any difference i would stock which ever was the most economical

so yes i think you would want to increase your stock not only as a investment but as a hedge against possible shortages and long deliverys for silver

31st March 2008, 16:29
I think now I posted this question in haste. A couple articles I read were telling people that jewelry is a poor precious metal investment without much explanation why, and I was under the impression that it had to do with a market bias for bullion over personal adornments. Now that I think about it, the advice against jewelry is most likely based on the mark-up that dealers typically set; a mark-up that would take the wholesale value of the metal forever to outweigh. But being the manufacturer myself, I guess I don't have that problem! :D

31st March 2008, 21:56
I make jewelry also and am invested in both bullion and sterling. It's a good thing to remember that around 30% of the silver market is in jewelry, compared to only about 5% presently invested in bullion. If you are in the business of making artisan jewelry, then you are obviously going to need sterling anyway. The price of sterling beads, wire, flat metal etc. remains at least 15% above spot and that is at wholesale level. Unless the market tanks, it's probably not going to get any cheaper. By the time you get done putting your labor into a piece, you should be getting at least 3-5 times your cost. Plus you should always price your items to reflect the currant price of silver, not what you paid for it.

I think buying sterling now is a very good investment, particularly if you invest in top quality fancy beads; items that are likely to go out of production or be in short supply should a very real shortage of silver develop. Many of the beads become collectible either in the antique or collectible bead markets, and as a veteran trader in that market, I can tell you right now, I think the profit potential and mark up is much higher in beads than in boullion. Sterling will always go up at the same rate that the 99% fine bars and rounds do. To someone who thinks "well it can't be as valuable as 99% fine" that is not necessarily the truth. 99% fine is too soft to use for most jewelry or even electronics applications. Silver used in an any application almost always has to be combined with another metal in order to harden it.

As gold goes higher, more and more women buy silver jewelry. Many of those women work in job situations where junk jewelry is frowned upon, and many more women can't even wear junk jewelry because of severe allergies to nickle based metals and those women literally have to wear silver or gold.

If you make artisan jewelry for a living, I personally can't think of a good reason why you wouldn't want to buy sterling silver now. People who say "Jewelry is not a good investment" are very likely importing finished silver jewelry made by the thousands in the Asian markets. And no, that kind of silver is probably not a good investment, because most of it doesn't appeal to American women. If they are going to invest in silver jewelry, they want it to look and be of handmade artisan quality and not some cheap import which can be bought in any import store or is sold over e-bay by the thousands.

31st March 2008, 21:58
where is the best place to buy sterling wholesale? beads,wire,etc...

31st March 2008, 22:48

During the month of Jan, I spent over $11,000 buying sterling silver off ebay.

search {sterling silver scrap,} then add on , oz, gram, and lb and pound.

I paid on average $13.00 a troy oz . And I got so many cool things, huge beautiful necklaces, Fabuloius stuff, at less than spot price. Load of antique jewlery, and at this moment ther are around 400 scrap auctions running and most of it is not scrap...

The only reason I quit was i ran out of cash.

I got over 50lbs of sterling jewlery. So..................hit it.

Opening each box and going through it, was like Xmas.

31st March 2008, 22:52
One of the best places in America to buy your wire and sheet metal is Thunderbird Supply. And I'm not going to reveal to you who my supplier is for beads (I am in business, after all) but I will say that your best bet is to import directly from an overseas manufacturer. Buying silver beads from American wholesalers is going to cost you because they, of course, take another mark up from the price they paid when they bought them from the manufacturer. Most overseas manufacturers do require a minimum order, although many make it a reasonable $100 or so. However you will get a much better price if you are prepared to spend at least 2K in a single order.

It's a whole lot of research. Look before you leap, compare prices, and make sure you buy from a reputable manufacturer. And good luck! :)

And Letmysilvergo? Yeppers! I've been eyeing that e-bay scrap too! But I've already shot my wad on silver, so hope you win! There are some good deals going on there. And I'll bet opening those boxes was a whole lot of fun!

31st March 2008, 22:54
I plan to sell the sterling last when silver is around 400.00, it will come in handy for making change for the Rounds. I by the time bullion is all gone, Sterling will BE KING.

How's that for a plan? I luv it when a plan comes together. A-Team.