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Soaring silver and gold prices

Rob Meixner wrote in another thread today:
<< I am curious how others are dealing with $30/ounce silver and home confinement? Thanks…Rob>>

I thought I would put my answer in a separate, topical thread rather than end up talking about a cup of tea in a thread about jewelry making and aging…things do tend to meander.

Rob, I was lucky…I managed to snag about a pound of small silver ingots that were remelted from scrap (and some new) by a smith somewhere else when silver was about $14…I paid about $13/oz (troy) and I was kicking myself because I missed the bottom, which was (I think) about $12. Little did I know that the pandemic would shoot precious metals through the roof. So, given my slow pace of work, the ingots should last me through the pandemic. While no one knows the future, I think it is likely that new treatments and a possible vaccine will lead this pandemic to recede within a year or less and then metals will come down again…or the buying public will become used to the increase in prices.

However, I also have been exploring salvage as a source of other metals. I bought a large brass door kickplate which can be made into bracelets or whatever. I also got a big piece of two inch brass pipe and plan to cut it up into pieces for bracelets that can be forged thinner from it. I think the brass cost about $6/lb (av.). I wanted some copper, but didn’t find any sheet in the scrap barrel and couldn’t figure any easy way to use the wire and tubing that was there, so I decided to pass until another visit. There are two scrap dealers about five miles down the road from me, so it’s easy to stop in and see what they have. They seem to be pretty willing to sell at a slight premium to spot in addition to buying below spot. If I have some scrap steel to take when I go, that pays my gas to get there…and cleans up the garage.

I guess some of you are aware that one response to the rising price of gold, even before this latest run-up, was Gold One Jewelry, composed of 1 kt gold plated with 14 kt. (How weird! What are they thinking?). So there are various responses to high metal prices. I wonder what everyone else thinks…

Regarding gold prices, I have been watching a program called Bering Sea Gold. It seems that if you have the equipment and the nerve there are grains of gold washed out to sea, no chemicals involved as far as I can see. What a difficult way to make a living, but interesting to watch. I think it’s on the Discovery Channel.

I guess I went to sleep thinking about the gold issue, as I woke up and realized I was dreaming about gold panning. Got to be a little more worthwhile now that gold has topped $2000…if it stays there. Good for the outdoorsy types…there is gold in streams in the East Tennessee and North Carolina mountains, must be some elsewhere, too. You could mine the gold and make the jewelry all yourself! -royjohn

I just started teaching beginning jewelry classes a local makerspace. We are using mostly base metals, although we will use silver wire for the final, take-home project in a my next class. Otherwise I’m using the time to learn new techniques and to develop new designs.

I am moving to using titanium to stretch gold and silver, using my tig welder to join them together. I can also color the titanium with electric current.
We’ll see how it goes.