With silver prices hovering around $17 per ounce and gold at $900 per ounce, many retail customers are experiencing sticker shock. Add in the weak economy and you have a situation where consumers are watching every penny.
The result has been that many of us wholesalers and retailers have had to absorb some or all of the cost increases. This has definitely been the case at Whirled Planet, where are margins have continued to shrink as we struggle to maintain affordable prices.
Enter steel, “the other white metal.” While stainless steel jewelry has been around for at least a decade in one form or another, it had been limited to edgier, decidedly male clientele looking for something different. Female customers are familiar with stainless steel body jewelry, but not much else.
With sticker shock over gold and silver prices, more customers are taking a fresh look at this tarnish-free, hypo-allergenic, durable metal. Steel won’t bend easily, and it takes and holds finishes well. Many retailers find that stainless steel jewelry, with wholesale price points similar to the “old silver prices,” is acceptable as an alternative to more expensive metal.
We are testing some alternative metal pieces in stainless steel and in pewter, with strong response. As precious metals prices continue to climb, steel should continue to gain in popularity (QVC already carries a line priced from $13 to $51). Look for more pieces on our site as we head into fall and our line becomes more comprehensive in steel pieces.