“Jewelry is permanent, and it’s so universal. How often in our lifetime do we have the chance to make something special that lasts forever?”
~ Alan Revere, Goldsmith
Extracted from all parts of the planet and celebrated by humans since time immemorial, gold is the most precious and noble of earth’s metals. Humanity has been obsessed with possessing it for as far back as we can know. As the price goes down, jewelry designers are falling in love with gold once again.
The World Gold Council reports gold jewelry demand was worth $100 billion in 2014 (over half the worldwide gold demand). In 2015, gold jewelry sales in the U.S. increased 3 percent, which is significant when you consider the higher prices paid for gold items compared to silver.
Jewelry sales are on an upswing, gold prices are dropping, and yellow gold is glistening on the runways of haute couture around the world. The time is right for you to consider adding gold to your bench. Here are our top five reasons jewelers should go for gold.
1. It’s a classic.
Synonymous with wealth and power, gold has been the coveted choice of elite and ruling classes throughout history. Pure gold does not corrode and so it represents immortality. Gold is the only solid metallic element of yellow color, giving it an obvious association with the sun. It has been the luxury metal of choice since humans started adorning themselves millennia ago—and that obsession with the metal will never change.
Gold’s luxury status translates to those who work with the metal as well. A goldsmith is traditionally one of the most respected positions in a society. When you start working in gold, you become part of a long and respected lineage of craftspeople dating back to the first humans to pick up a hammer and create a piece of jewelry.
2. It’s noble for a reason.
Pure gold is one of the most malleable (or movable) metals found on earth. Gold sheet can be hammered into a layer so thin that light passes through it, and gold wire can be twisted without breaking. Because pure gold is chemically inert, it is resistant to oxidation (or tarnish) even when it is heated. All these properties make it beneficial to jewelers and are perhaps among the reasons gold was one of the first metals to be worked by early humans.
While 24K gold is too soft to be practical for jewelry, 22K, 18K and 14K gold alloys retain many of the favorable characteristics of pure gold, such as tarnish resistance, while adding strength and surface hardness.
3. Its higher price point and perceived value = more profit.
With dropping prices, jewelers who stayed away from gold because of its prohibitive cost should consider bringing it into their work. One easy way to do this is with gold accents and overlays.
As you start working with gold, your material costs will be higher, of course, but they will be offset by larger profit margins. Each piece will take you roughly the same amount of time it would to create in silver, but because gold has a higher price point and a higher perceived value among the jewelry buying public, you can sell it for much more, resulting in a higher ROI per hour on gold pieces.
Adding small gold accents to silver jewelry allows you to set a higher price on your pieces. If you’re nervous about the initial cost of materials, products like gold-filled metals, bi-metal sheet and gold foils make it easy to start incorporating gold into your work without breaking the bank.
4. Its Diverse Color Options
The wide array of gold alloys available means you won’t be bored any time soon. From rich yellow tones to rose, white and even green, gold alloys are diverse enough to meet all of your design needs.
Yellow gold remains the most popular color worldwide. It complements colored gemstones and brings to mind the romance of lost treasures and the opulence of royalty.
White gold has become the preference in the U.S. for engagement rings. It is the perfect match for enhancing the sparkle of diamonds.
Pink or rose gold is an alloy of gold and copper and has boomed in popularity over the last several years.
5. It will help you become a more careful jeweler.
Gold will force you to work smarter—it benefits everything you do at the bench. Because of its high cost, you’ll likely have a limited supply of gold on hand. Because of this, you’ll instinctively go to greater lengths to do it right the first time. Plan your work, avoid mistakes and don’t take any shortcuts. It’s a return to the basics you were taught when you first started out in this business.
If outdated gold pieces have been taking up space in your displays for years, chances are you purchased them when gold was less expensive than today’s prices. It may make sense to repurpose those materials so you can create new inventory that will sell at current prices. Have a chunky, outdated gold piece you can’t sell? Melt it down, draw wire and use it to add accents to a dozen silver pieces.
What’s next for gold?
According to the World Gold Council, demand for gold jewelry in the U.S. rose in 2013 for the first time since 2001 and continued to rise through 2015. It seems the future for jewelers is golden indeed.