It seems that not a month goes buy without one of our suppliers raising their prices, and at a recent party, Avant Garde’s Diddy Reeve and Cass Manning got the low down on just why our gold jewellery is so dear at the moment.
We met with Peter McGahan, the FT award winning Managing Director of Worldwide Financial Planning. Peter stopped our moaning and explained that the fickle precious metals industry has just seen gold hit a six month high, falling just slightly short of the all time record value.
He said “Recent financial uncertainty has driven big time investors to that safe haven of gold. It is such a solid and quantifiable asset that gold has once more become a favourite in these uncertain times thus driving it’s popularity and value up. Serious investors interested in a safe place for their money are spending on gold bullion, and that makes the metal more expensive for your designers to buy as a processed material. This goes particularly for those designer workshops that are making small production runs of exclusive jewellery and who can’t purchase in factory-type mass.”
The good news is that the price of gold is expected to fall to more realistic proportions, but Peter is keen to emphasise that this must be a slow and gradual process in order for the delicate balance between inflation, interest rates and borrowing to be maintained.
But I Must Have That Necklace!
We, and more importantly our customers, are increasingly finding that the jaw-dropping price of gold and platinum jewellery is making those special purchases problematic. In a time when yellow gold jewellery is experiencing a renaissance, finding items to fit a budget is becoming increasingly difficult.
Thankfully, in a pragmatic response, contemporary jewellers are using a high quality gold plating – often called vermeil – to give a flawless gold lustre to the surface of sterling silver jewellery. Gold plating is no longer seen as a desperately inferior solution for those who cannot afford solid gold. While it is not suitable for all kinds of jewellery, plating gives us access to great looking, high quality contemporary jewellery. Designer jeweller Louise Wade uses 22ct gold vermeil over silver in her beautiful Swallow collection, giving it a gorgeous colour at the fraction of the cost of 22ct gold equivalent.
So, when you ‘must have that necklace’, but can’t quite stretch to the price tag, we might well be able to offer a gold plated silver alternative.
Another alternative is to buy jewellery made of 9ct gold where you would usually buy 18ct or platinum. Whilst only made of 37.5% pure gold (the rest being alloy), as opposed to 75% in 18ct jewellery, 9ct gold offers a solid and permanent gold colour.