As many jewelers, especially goldsmiths, may already know, May has been named "Gold Month." Being from New Mexico, I usually prefer silver to gold, but I've recently become curious about gold and why it’s so timelessly sought after. The more I learn about it, the more intrigued I become. And I have to admit that when I do wear gold, I feel wonderfully confident. Yes, “confident” is the key word here. Just like they say, “Nothing feels like real gold.” But I think there’s more to it than that.
Gold has some of everything that other metals have and brings it all together like no other metal does. It is conductive, resistant to corrosion, malleable, ductile, and biocompatible; it is a catalyst; it has unique nanoscale properties, which means that it may enable some amazing new technologies. For those of you who like to geek out on stuff like this, here is a link to a PDF all about gold and nanotechnology. (Yes, I'll be reading this as soon as I get home. Seriously, this looks fascinating. Now, back to gold jewelry…)
I’ve heard that gold represents perfection and the quest to perfect, illuminate, and refine. Because of its resistance to heat and acid, it is a symbol of power, strength and perfection. And, in ancient times, gold symbolized balance.
Pope Francis made a statement by choosing to wear a gold-plated silver ring instead of the traditional solid (sometimes heavily ornate) gold papal ring. (Pope Pius IX wore a diamond-encrusted self-portrait cameo as his not-so-modest gold ring). Pope Francis also replaced the high-end Prada shoes that popes before him have traditionally worn with locally made shoes—one of the many outward acts of modesty he has demonstrated since the white smoke rose to signal his election. Okay, I see what he's doing; and there is something to be said about modesty for each of us when it comes to what we wear and how we present ourselves. Perhaps he is making a statement about moderation and balance in the face of the gold prices we’ve seen these past several years!
Which brings me back to gold and makes me think about how gold-filled is such an amazing alternative. The beauty of gold-filled is that you get the best benefits and characteristics of gold—such as corrosion resistance and that 14-karat luster—without the weighty price tag. It is today’s increasingly popular way to add to your jewelry collection, to enjoy more choices, to look and feel your confident best, and to do all that affordably.
One of my favorite rings is a gold-filled wire-wrapped ring that I made a couple of years ago with a little (actually a lot of) help from Dale Nichols in one of his wire-wrapping classes (Rio Grande offers some terrific instructional DVDs by Dale). For a project that doesn’t require a class, check out this gold-filled earring project recently posted on riogrande.com that's made with gold-filled wire and findings available from Rio.
Rio Grande offers a growing array of sheet, wire, findings, components, and more in gold-filled for you to choose from. And not only in the traditional yellow, but also in rose and white. The opportunities to turn your design imagination loose with the bright warmth of gold have never been more timely or more fun than right now.
What have gold-filled materials done for your design work in the last year or two? What's your favorite gold-filled creation? Share a photo, if you like; we’d love to see!Comment on this article
We all need to adapt to the shifting markets for silver, gold, and platinum. Find out what Rio is doing to make buying metals easier and more affordable…...Read the Rest
The Studio team is grateful for all of our readers, and we’re proud that there are thousands of you now! Because most of you found us in the past few months, today we’re taking a moment to go back to some of the highlights of the early days of this blog, and some of our favorite posts that you might have missed. . ....Read the Rest
I was 13 years old when my father first let me sit at his jewelers’ bench. I was so excited I can remember the moment like it was yesterday!
I was helping him bezel-set a diamond by tapping a punch as he guided it around the bezel. I asked him to teach me to set stones. To my surprise, he got up and sat me down to start learning the basics right then and there. As it turned out, it would be a long time before I set my first stone. . .
Back in 1979 the infamous Hunt brothers largely cornered the market on silver, driving the price from $6 per ounce to an all-time high of $48.70. Their scheme unraveled when the COMEX intervened, and silver rapidly shrank back down to more accustomed prices.
But here we are in 2011, and silver prices are once again whipsawing – trading at prices well north of $40, and then dropping $10 in less than a week down to $37 or so. But our current situation is different from conditions back in 1979, and while no one knows for sure, it seems possible that silver may have enduring higher prices going forward.
“BAM!” is what Emeril the chef says on his cooking show. And “BAM!” is what I felt when I saw the price of silver top the $30 mark on Monday. Lately, listening to the news has seemed surreal. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has been quoted about “fears of deflation”. Yet here is $30 silver, where just a couple months ago it was half that price. What is a jeweler supposed to do?...Read the Rest
Silver prices have recently topped $25 per troy ounce. It wasn’t so long ago that silver traditionally traded close to $6 per troy ounce. Like all free markets, the price of precious metals is based on supply and demand. And while the jewelry industry actually uses a small percentage of the worldwide silver demand, we feel the crunch of rising prices as hard as anyone…...Read the Rest