Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Cope with Rising Silver Costs - Some Ideas for Jewelry Artists!

How to Cope with Rising Silver Costs?
Some Ideas for Jewelry Artists
- Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs

Let’s face it folks m the cost of silver is not going anywhere but up for a long time to come! 
The rising cost of silver really puts the pinch on jewellery artists – such as me here at Treasure Trunk Designs – who work predominantly with sterling silver and fine silver clay. 

(Check out blog post: Why is the cost of silver going up?)

As a start-up hobby business, cash is minimal and increasing silver costs mean along with a struggling economy means that sales might slump as the costs of finished pieces rise!  What to do what to do? 
During times like this, people need to learn how to be creative and resourceful.  There are many ways to do this so don’t get discouraged! 
Here are a few tips to help get you started and ways in which Treasure Trunk Designs has been expanding in order to continue to provide a selection of beautiful jewelry for the Diva on a Dime!
1.       Copper!  Copper is an absolutely gorgeous metal, easy to work with and low cost.  A beautiful burnt orange colour, copper is perfect for fall and can be a great seasonal addition to your shop.  You can get copper wire in all guages for a fraction of the cost of silver or gold.  Search for true copper materials to reduce potential allergic reactions to nickel.  You can find  99.9% pure copper wire easily and it can be mixed with other metals to add colour and help reduce costs for both you and your clients!

2.       Recycling scraps for cash is a great way to reclaim costs.  Don’t just throw those bits of silver cut-out in the trash!  Melt them down to create beautiful silver accents on your work or sell it for cash or credit with your suppliers.  When filing sterling or fine silver, collect the dust!  You will be amazed how much silver you will get from those tiny particles floating around your work bench!

3.       When shopping online buy in bulk!  By buying large quantities, you may be eligible for price breaks chances are you will probably reduce your shipping charges as well!  For example, if you buy one cabochon you will be paying full shipping rates but if you buy two or more the additional shipping rates will be negligible if not free!  This might seem like a small amount but it adds up significantly over time.  Shop smart! 

4.       Sell supplies that don’t inspire you to create.  If you are anything like me, you have a pile of unused supplies that are sitting in a box begging to be used.  If you have supplies that just sit around and don’t inspire you to create, why not reclaim costs by selling them as “destash” items.  Many hobby artists are unwilling to buy in bulk and will pay full price for smaller quantities of beads and other jewelry supplies. 

5.       Team up!  Get to know other jewelry artists in your community.  By joining together on bulk purchases you can benefit from reduced prices, lower shipping charges while meeting new people and creating a network.  By supporting each other, you can all benefit.

6.       Is there a lapidary club in your area?  Join the rock hounds to learn more about the stones you work with, learn some new skills and maybe even start making your own cabochons.  This is a great way to meet new people, network and potentially save on material costs.  Lapidary clubs sometimes buy silver in bulk.  As a member, you may be eligible for reduced silver prices through your local lapidary club.

7.       Expand your work to include other materials such as fabrics, recycled materials, wood, plastics, hardware, clays other creative materials.  Exploring other mediums can be a fun and exciting way to expand your skills and provide interesting elements to your collections for a fraction of the cost of traditional metal work.
8.       You could use silver plated wire however, in my experience as an allergy sufferer, the plating ALWAYS seems to come off quickly.  This is no fun for delicate skin!  As an alterative, why not try silver filled wire instead? The silver is bonded to a brass core but unlike silver plated wire, the silver coating is much thicker and durable. 

      If you are in the Ottawa area, you can find silver filled wire at Rainbow Minerals.  Rainbow Minerals provides an excellent selection of gemstones, some basic beading equipment and a variety of copper, silver, gold fill and silver fill wire.

Have an idea that you would like to see added to the list?  I would love to hear your thoughts and how you have managed to cope with the challenge of rising silver costs. 

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