Tucson Gem Shows: Copper Becomes Bargain Hunters


Perhaps Robert Lee Morris saw a certain trend coming nearly two years ago when he added copper elements to some of his sterling silver jewelry designs, because I saw lots of copper beads and chain in my travels today at the Tucson gem shows.

Robert Lee Morris copper and silver pendant. 

Robert Lee Morris copper, brass, and silver cuff.

I expect to see copper in my garden, but not so much in jewelry. However, that may be a growing trend, as many metals vendors had increased their selection of copper bead strands and chain along side of sterling silver offerings. 

Copper in the garden, yes, but in jewelry … not so much.

The main reason: price. Silver is now over $17 an ounce, while a pound of copper is just $3.50. At Triveni USA Inc., a purveyor of copper and silver beads and findings, strands of copper start at $6 wholesale while silver starts at $20.The look of copper is also considered by some to be a poor man’s alternative to colored gold.


Strands of copper beads start at $6 wholesale. Triveni USA Inc., New York; (212) 869-7002; triveniusainc@gmail.com.  

“[Copper] is the new rose gold,” says Pramod Ghiya, owner. Triveni USA Inc., exhibits at the Holiday Inn/Holidome and the Quality Inn (former Rodeway Inn). The company has been selling copper for seven years at the gem shows, but increased offerings this year.


Should this rose gold ring worry about competition from copper?

Likewise, Silvex Images at the Gem Mall added copper to wares this year because “silver prices are too high for shoppers,” says Ravi Agrawal, managing director. The estimated 60 cents per gram difference in price between copper and silver convinced Silvex to add several tables of the stuff to its 2008 mix.




High silver prices convinced an Indian manufacturer to add copper to its mix. Silvex Images, Jaipur, India; (91 141) 277 1850; www.silveximages.net.

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