How to Sell Jewelry Your Customers Can Afford

by : 

Micki Baumann

October 1, 2011

The cost of silver is increasing dramatically, and it’s causing some real problems for retail stores and their customers. Two years ago the price of raw silver was $12 an ounce. Six months ago it was $24, and in early June, the price was over $36—with no end in sight. Some experts predict it will continue to climb to record levels through the end of the year. Your customers want jewelry, and now is the time to find alternative ways to provide them with products they can afford.

Stock up sooner rather than later

If you are ordering silver jewelry for your store, buy as much in each order as you can, because the next time you order, the price will very likely be higher. Order pieces that have been successful for you in the past, but be sure to evaluate whether the increased cost will cause your customers to forgo the purchase. Silver has always been so much less expensive than gold that it may take some time for the consumer to become comfortable with the higher price.

Go light to keep prices down

Find attractive pieces of jewelry that are lighter in weight. About 60% of the cost of a piece is determined by the price of silver, so the lighter the piece, the less expensive it is. Many manufacturers are redesigning their product lines to make them lighter and, therefore, less expensive. Many pieces that were designed when silver was $5 an ounce are just not cost-effective in today’s market. If you have a piece that has always done well for you but is heavy, ask the manufacturer if they can redesign it to make it more affordable.

Find alternatives

Other metals can serve as excellent alternatives to silver. Fine pewter, for example, is lead-free and recent improvements in polishing and manufacturing techniques give it a look that’s similar to silver at a fraction of the cost. Several vendors produce excellent quality pewter, giving you plenty of options. Additionally, some jewelry is being produced in bronze, which is attractive and much less expensive than silver. It is a different look than your customers may be used to, but the price points will make it appealing if the items are well done.

Consider costume jewelry

Costume jewelry can be a very attractive way to fill out your display if it matches the overall concept of your store. Look for pieces that are silver-plated rather than solid sterling and ones that have natural stones.

Educate your customers

Create a small sign for your jewelry section by printing a graph showing the dramatic rise in silver prices over the last year. These are easily found with a quick search online and will help your customers understand there is a reason for the price increase that is beyond your control.

Micki Baumann founded Deva Designs ( in Sedona, Ariz., more than 20 years ago to design products that help women connect with their spirituality.