Whether it’s a dining set, a new necklace, or a showpiece you intend to put on display, sterling silver doesn’t come cheap. While it may be one of the less expensive luxury metals after gold and platinum, the cost of an ounce of sterling silver isn’t something to brush off.
But exactly how much is 925 silver worth? As of writing, the price of silver per ounce is $18. However, this is subject to change. It doesn’t seem like a high amount of money right now, but when you consider that you’re getting silver at its lump form and not as jewelry, figurines, or any final product you see on the market, you can expect that the price will start to rise. Sure, an ounce of silver is $18, but consider this: a sterling silver serving fork from Bloomingdales weighs less than an ounce but costs almost $250.
So, if you’re looking to purchase sterling silver as an investment for your future, here’s what you need to know.
What is the Value of Sterling Silver?
The value of sterling silver is always fluctuating every 24 hours or so, depending on the silver spot price. This is similar to the stock exchange, except the silver spot price is the amount per ounce that buyers pay for a given time and price. There are different factors that can change the price, including how many people are investing in silver and its rarity.
However, the silver spot price only serves as a basis for how much most people are willing to pay for silver. Sellers do not have to follow this price and can charge more for pure silver products. It’s why you’ll notice that a kilogram of silver (as of writing, at least) costs $578 but a Tiffany sterling silver ring can fetch upwards thousands of dollars in its final sale price.
Sterling Silver Buying and Selling Trends
Buyers and sellers (or as they’re more formally known, investors and traders) in the market for sterling silver act a similar to your average buyers and sellers in the stock market: they buy low and sell high. As much as possible, they want to buy sterling silver below the spot price and then try to sell it above spot price.
Multiple factors in the market can influence the demand, supply, and price for sterling silver. These include the economic health of a region (for example, the cost of sterling silver in third world countries with currencies of low value is much higher compared to the cost in countries where its currency is strong), current political climates (whether or not business analysts can determine whether or not a country’s business will prosper from its politics), and overall supply.
Investing in Sterling Silver
While you can look at buying sterling silver products as an investment for never having to buy similar products made with cheaper metals, you can’t really invest in sterling silver as you would with pure gold and silver as an “investment-grade” metal because it isn’t pure silver.
Sterling silver gets its alternative name, 925 silver, from its composition: 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Pure silver is too malleable to use for some items, so the 7.5% of other metals is used to give sterling silver its durability and shine. Fine silver, on the other hand, has a purity level of 99.9% and can be traded.
That’s not to say that sterling silver products aren’t an investment for your household. Sterling silver products such as silverware (e.g. knives, forks, spoons), musical instruments (saxophones, flutes), and jewellery (rings, necklaces, brooches) can be considered an investment if you’re planning to buy sterling silver over cheaper metals that corrode over time. Sterling silver has such a high durability that it can even be passed down generations without losing its qualities.
However, because of that 7.5% composition including other metals, if sterling silver isn’t properly cared for, it is possible for silver to start corroding if left exposed to open air and not regularly cleaned.
How to Calculate the Cost of Sterling Silver
The price of sterling silver products will depend on a lot of factors including what brand you are buying and the actual item you are buying. A sterling silver flute from a second-hand music store most likely costs significantly less than a sterling silver engagement ring set with diamonds and sold in a high-end jeweller store. But to be sure that you’re buying sterling silver and not silver-plated products, it’s best to buy from a reliable seller. If not, another way of checking is to look for the “925” label on sterling silver products.
We can’t say exactly what the cost of sterling silver or pure silver is, as the former takes a lot into account such as the product created while the price of pure silver is constantly changing. If you want to make the best investment for yourself or your family, it’s always best to ask a professional for advice before making any big silver purchase.