Silver Advice?

To all my Orchid friends, I have a small-town retail jewelry business
that specializes in better quality, custom designed jewelry in 14K,
18K and platinum. My sales associates have convinced me that we
should try a sterling line, maybe enough to fill one eight foot
showcase, but I have to admit that I have avoided it in the past, and
am unfamiliar with suppliers of this type of product line.

I know that I don’t want to fill my benches with sterling repairs,
sizings, or anything else that would divert my goldsmith’s valuable
bench time, so does that mean to stock any rings in a variety of
sizes, and offer to special order very small and very large sizes

I don’t want to face angry customers when their two week old ring
becomes tarnished, so I assume that I should ask for rhodium plated
pieces only (?).

Would anyone care to suggest a company that produces good quality
sterling jewelry at fair prices?

Any advice you may offer would be greatly appreciated. It’s much
easier to learn from other’s mistakes that suffer through making them

Thank you, Jon

Jon, You ask some great questions, but what immediately strikes me is
a possible incongruity between your other merchandise (you describe
better quality custom designs) and what you’re asking for in sterling
(a company producing jewelry). If you want the sterling line to
succeed and to enhance your custom design business, why not go more
for an artisan approach – find some craftspeople working in sterling
jewelry and stock their one-of-a-kind pieces and unique lines.
Identify the products with the artisans creating them – that way,
you’ve extended the value proposition of your store (custom work and
uniqueness) while still providing a price point that may be somewhat
lower than the gold and platinum products. You have the added
confidence of working with the artisan who created the piece, so if
there’s a problem with it they can address it rather than distracting
your goldsmith.

Caveat - Folks, don’t jump on me that a company can’t produce great
jewelry – I certainly know that companies can and do produce
wonderful pieces all the time. I mean no offense to any of you with
companies mass-producing products. My point here is simply to
maintain marketing consistency with the approach he’s taken in the
rest of the store. It’s only my opinion :slight_smile: --End Caveat

Best of luck,
Karen Goeller

 I don't want to face angry customers when their two week old ring
becomes tarnished, so I assume that I should ask for rhodium
plated pieces only (?). 

Rhodium plated rings are almost impossible to size, since heating
will bubble the rhodium. And, since rhodium often is put on over a
nickel underplate, some folks will react to it, who otherwise would
be happily wearing sterling silver. Rhodium may have a place in
things like chains, where the pattern and type of surface means that
in many cases, buffing/removing the tarnish can be difficult to
impossible. I’d suggest, instead, simply advising customers that
sterling does indeed tarnish, and that, over here on your left in
this little display, they can see a simple solution, one of the nice
“non-rouge” type silver/jewelry polishing cloths, such as the Blitz,
or Rio Grande’s “sunsheen”, both of which can be ordered imprinted
with your store name. the regular sized ones make a nice extra
little sale. You can get the Blitz, at least, and maybe the
sunsheen, in imprinted small (about 3 x 4 inches, as I recall)
“giveaway” sizes, which can simply be included with the sale, if you
don’t wish to actually sell them, but would rather use them as sales
incentives… With these, your customers can happily service their
own silver rings, and other silver they may own. Advise them that
when, over time, the jewelery has become not only tarnished, but too
scratched up for their pleasure, then at that time for just a modest
nominal charge (your regular polishing charge), they can have the
items refinished to almost like new. Besides the polishing cloths,
which I prefer since they brighten as well as removing minor tarnish,
you could also sell other silver polishing creams or agents.
Semichrome paste polish is an especially effective one, or even
Tarnex type liquid tarnish removers can make good extra sales, though
these don’t brighten, just chemically remove tarnish.

Or if you just want to tell them how, print out small instruction
cards on how to place the jewelery in an aluminum container with a
bit of water in which they’ve dissolved some baking soda… That
too, will remove minor discoloration/tarnish, though once it’s really
black, this is less effective…

Peter Rowe