Silver jewelry demand hits records, makes headlines in high fashion

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(Kitco News) – Although investors continue to shun silver, the precious metal has seen record demand in all major sectors, including jewelry.

The precious metal, sometimes referred to as the poor man’s gold, is attracting the attention of major fashion houses around the world. And the prices are anything but cheap.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, silver jewelry was featured during the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, the Netherlands. High fashion jewelers Boucheron and Buccellati unveiled their silver creations in Paris this summer.

In October, during the London Pavilion of Art and Design fair, Elisabetta Cipriani showcased a flexible necklace called Vortice II. It was created by British jewelry artist John Moore. The piece, which features slivers of silver connected by a rubber band, was priced at more than $29,000.

While silver is attracting attention in the famous halls of haute couture, the demand reflects the global market.

In its latest global silver report, Metals Focus said that global jewelry demand has increased by a record 235 million ounces this year, jumping 29% compared to last year.

The British research firm noted that the jewelry market is being driven by demand in India, which accounts for nearly half of global demand this year.

Some analysts have said that consumers are attracted to silver because of its price compared to gold. The gold/silver ratio is currently hovering near its highest level in more than two years, with gold prices trading around $1,750 an ounce and silver around $21 an ounce.

Along with the price difference, The New York Times article noted that there is growing artistic appeal to the precious metal.

“Some clients prefer the color, whilst others are attracted to the price point,” Alyse Chirumbole, director of fine jewelry and watches at the online retailer Threads Styling, said in the article. “Silver is an edgier, more modern way to wear jewelry — especially for younger clients.”

The Times article also highlighted the work of Parisian jeweler Amélie Huynh, whose brand Statement mixes silver and diamonds in Art Deco-inspired designs.

Statement’s best-selling design, Ring MyWay, a rhodium-plated sterling silver ring, starts at around $530. If you want the diamond-encrusted version, the price goes up to more than $5,000.

In a comment to the Times, Huynh said that Statement’s silver pieces are still 30% to 40% less expensive than their equivalent in gold. She added that there are high labor costs when making silver jewelry.

Silver is a very soft metal; sterling silver is traditionally mixed with copper, making it harder.

“Regardless of all the difficulties, I’m convinced that silver has its legitimate place in the fine jewelry industry,” Huynh said in her comment.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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