Some more input on this thread from my experience. I started making
only silver, then later went into gold until half my work was gold.
Now I make very little all gold but incorporate silver, copper and
rose, white and yellow gold in my work. 14k, 18k and 22k. I’ve
gravitated in this direction because I enjoy it, find it more
interesting and my particular retail market and clientele at juried
art shows on the west coast and in the southwest likes mixed metals
better than anything else that I’ve ever done. I like making very big
pieces sometimes also. I have a ring series that I make up to 20+
different designs in. If I make the same/similar design in all
silver, all gold and one that is a mixture of silver copper and
yellow gold, I will sell 3 or 4 of the mixtures to every all silver
or all gold one. The silver one might have $2-$5 worth of metal, the
gold one $30-$50+. The mixed ones have $5-$12 worth of materials.
The silver ones I will sell for $75 to $125, the all gold one will
sell for $195 to $250+, the mixtures will sell (I’ve sold hundreds)
for $145 to $225. These are fabricated rings that take from 25
minutes to an hour to make.
I’ve never had much choice but to follow the jewel path that was fun
and interesting to me, any other way has interfered with the overall
quality of my life. Luckily I’ve been able to find/establish a
market that responds to the work I want to do.
I remember a time when I hesitated to use gold in my work because it
was so much more expensive than silver, $35 an ounce!! Then one day I
bit the bullet and spent a couple of hundred dollars and made 7 small
pieces. At the next show that I did, (this was in the early 70’s) I
sold 6 of those pieces. You really can start small and transition
slowly. Based on my experience though and that of others I’ve
mentored through this process, you might try mixing metals if you can
find an interest in that for yourself. Keep successful designs, drop
the ones that don’t work, never stop experimenting.
I wish you luck in your jeweldance.
Jima & Carlie Abbott