According to Rio Grande, the price of silver today was $33.70 an ounce. This is the highest price silver has been since 1980 when it dectupled from $5 an ounce to $48.70 an ounce. It could be good news for your portfolio if you’ve invested in silver, but as a metalsmith who prefers using silver clay to all other types of silver, this is very bad news. (The only good news here is that I got to use the word “dectupled” for the first time in my life, and I’m a word person. How nice it would be if the next time I use it would refer to my annual income!)
Whatever the going price of an ounce of silver, the price of an ounce of silver clay is about 56% higher. If I were to buy a 28 gram package of metal clay today, (that’s just about an ounce) it would cost $51.94. And that’s with the discount I get from having taken a certification course from Rio Grande. Those who do not qualify for the discount would pay $59.94.
Here is what a 45 gram package of silver clay looks like. It’s the size I usually buy:
I bought some on January 27, for a workshop I’m taking next weekend and paid $75.57 for this walnut-sized piece of clay. If I ordered it today, I would have paid $85.42. One year ago, the same package cost me $58.36. The prices of my jewelry on Etsy reflect what I paid a year ago for my silver.
I am not going to raise the price on pieces I already have listed, but anything new will have to reflect the skyrocketing cost of silver. Especially if it’s made from Precious Metal Clay.
(Strike through made on an April 18 edit)
So, how much am I willing to pay for the silver clay I so love to work with? $75 a package may just be my limit. Luckily I still have some sterling silver sheet from 6 or 7 years ago, when silver cost under $8 an ounce. At least copper is still pretty inexpensive. It’s time to rethink some of the designs I was planning to make with metal clay and come up with something different.
I’m fortunate that the first jewelry technique I ever learned was how to cut sheet with a jeweler’s saw. I still have the same saw frame I used over 30 years ago and it has served me well.
Hello old friends…..