Skip to content
ART IN GOLD
In the 21st century we still practice making creations in beautiful metals. Sometimes we add gems to have more sparkle and allure. Mankind has been doing this for thousands of years. It’s nothing new; but it’s new for every upcoming generation. We use jewelry to mark special occasions. We use it for engagements and marriage. For anniversaries. For graduations. For birthdays, and on and on. It stands for love, respect, accomplishments, and everything we choose to honor.
Historically jewelry was only for the wealthy. In the mid 20th century, following World War II, the new prosperity of the 1950’s created a demand for jewelry at levels never seen before. Mass manufacturing and jewelry priced for the average worker grew tremendously. Chain jewelry stores began to open all over the US. Kay Jewelers became one of the largest in the country. The price of gold was very low compared to today. De Beers diamonds were sold all around the world and now the average person could afford gold, platinum, or silver jewelry. The diamond engagement ring became a standard along with gold wedding bands. Granted, this was a serious purchase, but within reach. Credit was becoming popular, and you could possibly pay monthly to the store.
Gold closed at $1235.00 an ounce yesterday. When I started to learn faceting in the early 1990’s gold was at $400 an ounce. Now we are looking at prices three times higher. The industry responded by making settings lighter. This way 10 kt and 14 kt gold can still be reasonably priced. More volume also lowers the cost of settings.
For my little corner of the craft; rough gems have increased quite a bit. Especially nice clean chunky pieces of rough. Wars and terrorism have made the gem business rather dangerous in some countries. The large mines are constantly guarded by armed guards and the little independent miners are at risk of being robbed or worse. This has caused a shortage of good rough on the world market. Trade agreements with Asia are helping to keep the prices down, but the big cutting houses buy most of the rough gems on the market. This leaves only a small portion available for hobbyist gem cutters.
Thanks to technology we also have ways to control pricing. 3 D computers let you design a setting and then it automatically makes a mold for casting the setting. This eliminates the need for hand carving a wax to make a casting mold. Computer controlled soldering machines make this process much faster and easier. Cutting costs again.
I do not know what the price of gold will be in the future. I do know this: our lives and our loves are important to us today. Purchasing jewelry is not speculating on gold prices moving up or down. Jewelry is an emotional response to an event in our current lives. Just do it and be happy! Best regards, Robert.