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Sterling or plated silver?

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  • Sterling or plated silver?

    I am hoping someone else has had a similar dilemma and can help me?!
    I have so far worked with silver plated wire, findings, etc in my work, mainly as a cheaper practice material and just because it's more readily available in local craft shops.
    However I would now like to start selling, mostly from my website and a few craft fairs. I am tempted to invest in sterling silver wire and findings, but not sure how much more I could change per item? Do buyers prefer cheaper silver plated stuff or the higher quality of sterling silver?
    I personally would prefer my own jewellery in sterling silver, but guess it depends on my market?
    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • #2

    I don't make r sell jewellery! But I do buy it!

    I would personally pay extra and have the silver, as my skin reacts to plated jewellery, goes green, gets a huge red rash and then the skin goes shiny, and starts to weep and bleed...really yukky actually!

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    • #3
      [quote=xrheax;171225]....goes green, gets a huge red rash and then the skin goes shiny, and starts to weep and bleed...really yukky actually! /quote]

      Ewww, too much information!

      I always use sterling but that's just my preference. It does open your market up to the likes of Rhea, but of course is more expensive. How much more you charge will depend on how much using sterling pushes up the cost of your materials. Handcrafted Sterling Silver Jewellery Handmade Lampwork Glass Beads
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      • #4
        Silver all the way!

        Plated is OK for cheaper costume stuff, but just not worth it for anything that takes time to make. As a mailler, I am also very aware that plated metals do not stand up to wear very well, and tend to tarnish badly.

        I prefer to use copper or brass for practice pieces.


        • #5
          I personally prefer sterling, I have only just started selling so apart from the ear wires ( I always use sterling for them) I use plated, but this mainly while I see how I go, if I start selling I will proberbly change over to using sterling instead of plated.

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          • #6
            I prefer to use sterling rather than plated especially if I am using good quality beads or lampwork. I use mainly sterling ear wires as well. It really depends on your market and whether you could sell more expensive jewellery.
            Another option is to use coloured wire rather than SP The style of necklaces you have in your album would look good with wire matching the colour of the beads. I have also found that the coloured copper wires last far longer and do not tarnish or wear off like SP wire does. It is also less likely to trigger an allergy.



            • #7
              Thanks everyone, you have helped me make my mind up and go for the sterling silver.
              I have used coloured wire in quite a lot of my designs and it is very effective, especially the black.
              I too always use sterling silver ear hooks and I too get that horrible allergy to sp in my ears!


              • #8
                I like your work and think it definitely warrants you using sterling.

                Best wishes



                • #9
                  Hi Glitterbug
                  Thanks for that.
                  I have just had a look at your site and I LOVE your jewellery, really simple clean lines and soooo wearable.


                  • #10
                    If you give 2 prices one for plated and one for ss it gives the customer the option of the 2, I keep both so depending on what they want to pay determines sp or ss. I prefer ss it's more forgiving, you can rub scratches out of sterling


                    • #11
                      Its psychology rather than value in itself, because ultimately between silver and gold there is a tremendous cost gap (not to mention platinum) whilst between silver and silver plated the difference is present but not so huge. Instead, most buyers think kinda derogatory about something which is defined (amongst other terms) "common metal" and they tend to develop psychological "barriers" about the cost, irrespective of how fine a piece of art is the thing worked in common metal. If they hear "silver" there's a different reaction.
                      In my experience (having sold already some stuff in my place) there is a 4-step "ladder" of the prices:

                      - glass and common metal
                      - glass, semiprecious stones, plated metal
                      - semiprecious stones (eventually good looking crystal items) and silver
                      - gold and top expensive materials

                      Whilst with the first two categories one tends to face limited willingness of buyers to pay higher costs, silver covers a larger margin. In my place, this would go from ~20 E for smaller works up to ~150 E for sophisticated stuff (think that average salary is still around 550 E a month).
                      Above this price (except for cutlery and generally heavy items, where there's also the bullion value involved) people tend to think "better gold" but the interval of what they deem acceptable cost is way larger. Thus, of course with some labor to be done, silver makes a good background to sell better whilst not adding too much to the cost of production. If the work is common metal, irrespective of how extensive time of manufacture and skill were invested, the cost margin will be tighter. In a word silver is the most important way to add value and acceptable marketability to your skill and labor investments.


                      • #12
                        Incredibly most of my customers chose silver plated. They are on a budget and not many of them are willing to pay the few extra pounds to have the sterling silver. They seem to be happy enough that its swarovski crystals I use and they are quite happy to fore go the metal components. I find its usually older people and people with allergies that request the sterling silver.
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                        • #13
                          Thats why I put together "glass and plated metal" Swarovski are usually set by the mother-firm in rhodium plated steel, it makes sense for some people to just mind about the look not about the settings. Swarovski are instead one of the few "common material" items which escalates price later (at least in my place) because it became increasingly fashionable.


                          • #14
                            Oh it's a mine field isn't it?!
                            My feeling is to go more towards sterling silver with Swarovski crystals and fresh water pearls (which i already use), then add in semi precious stones.
                            Thanks for all your great advice.


                            • #15
                              Think the idea of giving two different prices is definitley a good one and will be using that one myself when I set up my website. Just wanted to add that your items are lovely especially your galaxy bracelet.
                              Please take a look at my site and give opinions