AZGem Gems
February, 2008

gem stone and jewelry newslettergem stone and jewelry newsletter

The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Jewelry Metals



Jewelry metals  are very much on the minds of jewelry makers and buyers right now. Specifically, the price of gold, platinum, and silver.

Jewelry metals have been climbing in cost for a few years now. This, of course, can reduce peoples ability and desire to buy jewelry.

Gold is a prime example. The spot price of "pure" (9999 fine) gold on the last day of January, 2008, was more than $925 per troy ounce, or almost $30 per gram.

(A troy ounce is equal to 31.1 grams. A troy ounce is about 10% heavier than a US (avoirdupois measure of weight) ounce. We could devote an entire Newsletter edition to a discussion of the troy ounce, avoirdupois ounce, and fluid ounce.)

The chart below from Kitco Inc. depicts the rise in gold prices between the year 2000 and now.


The saving grace for gold is... alloying

Eighteen karat gold is 75% gold by weight, and 25% other material, such as silver, zinc, and nickel, depending on the color of gold (yellow, rose, white, and so on). 

14 karat gold = 58% gold content, 12 karat = 50% gold, and 10 karat = 41.6% gold content. Alloying reduces cost and improves durability of gold jewelry.

Regulations have established 10 karat as the lowest that can be labeled "gold" in the USA. Below that, we get into gold filled, gold plated, gold overlay, and similar trade terms.

Platinum has also undergone a price increase in recent years. The current spot price is above $1730 per ounce. Ten years ago, it was below $400.

Rhodium is even more amazing. The price has risen from $380 to more than $7210 in the past five years.

Palladium is a real bargain. After spiking to almost $1000 a few years ago, it is now at less than $400 per ounce.

Although all of these metals are used in some jewelry making, they do not seem to help us in a quest to moderate the cost of jewelry.

Silver is at only $16.50 per ounce! That's 16 dollars and 50 cents. Now that is moderate. 

Sterling silver (92.5% pure, often stamped 925), and fine silver (999) are most often used in modern silver jewelry sold in the USA, even Southwestern "Indian" Jewelry. 

Many years ago (before the native artisans had the equipment to melt silver) this jewelry was made from US or Mexican silver coins. To thin and enlarge the disks, the artisan would lay the coins on the railroad tracks and let a passing train do the heavy work. Truly old and authentic Indian Jewelry often shows the coin image on the back of the silver disks.

Jewelry metals can also be less traditional, and more challenging for the small-shop jewelry maker. For instance:

Vermeil is another moderately priced alternative. Vermeil consists of a base of sterling silver, plated on all significant surfaces with gold, or gold alloy of not less than 10 karat.

Pewter is 90% Grade A Tin, with the remainder composed of metals appropriate for use in pewter.

Brass, copper, titanium, steel, and other base metals also are used by some makers. Titanium and steel are more easily used in larger scale manufacturing operations. Surgical steel is popular in body piercing jewelry, while stainless steel and titanium are popular for watch cases and bands.

Click on the box... and have Google start putting money in your bank account!

jewelry metals is a keyword search phrase that returns a number of internet listings and ads... but none that invite you to Make An Offer.




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Gem Industry News...


Tucson Gem Shows Coming Soon


It's February and time for the Tucson Gem Shows.

I count 42 shows this year. They're scattered all over town and 

 The dealer-to-dealer unofficial trading known as Jump Start has been going on for several days. Official show openings begin February 1. The shows that we concentrate on open February 6.

You can view the Tucson Show Guide here. Next month I will report on the shows that we visit.


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Jewelry Dealers


wholesale jewelryValentine's Day is almost upon us. 

Now is the time to focus your sales efforts on items you can deliver immediately. That would be jewelry pieces in your inventory and unmounted gems in presentation boxes.

Those gems will pay dividends when the receiver come back to you to have the gems mounted.

Keep the  Make An Offer program in mind. You can always pick up a few good deals there. 

See you in Tucson!


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Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?sapphire ring

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Could you use an extra income source?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.



Carolyn Doyle

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The Dorado Company
P.O. Box 8232
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8232