JCK Silver Spotlight: Silver Linings

The ups and downs of the precious metals market have forced some manufacturers to seek out alternatives to sterling, and others to rediscover it.In August, a faithful client of the Silverado Jewelry Gallery in Bend, Ore., noticed something different about a necklace she was about to purchase: the price. The woman—who buys up to 10 pieces a month from the 2,000-square-foot store, a purveyor of Dana Kellin, Jamie Joseph, and other trendy lines—told owner Heather Hanst she remembered when a 1 mm silver snake chain cost only $7, not the $19 she was now being asked to pay. The client bought the piece, but Hanst softened the blow: "I gave her a 30 percent discount," she says. "I am softly educating my customers about rising prices. I want them to know I care."The unavoidable fact is that silver—once the industry's most cost-effective and well-priced precious metal—suddenly went up-mark

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