Economist Milton Friedman once said, "Mining gold is insane." We dig precious metals out of a hole in the ground somewhere, transport it halfway around the world, refine the metal into bars, and then dig another hole somewhere else to hide it all. Any alien race watching us would seriously be scratching their heads.
Precious metals like gold and silver have long been valued for their endurance and their scarcity. When we started Urban Maille in 2002, silver prices were around $4.50 an ounce and gold was hovering somewhere just above $300. At the time of this post near the beginning of 2021, silver is around $28/ozt and gold is $1800/ozt. With governments and central banks around the globe printing paper money like there is no tomorrow, these prices continue to steadily, and sometimes sharply, rise. It’s truly anyone’s guess as to how high the prices will go.
Gold and silver coins and bars are becoming increasingly hard to find and even the US Mint has stopped making gold and silver coins because of a shortage of metals. Many coin dealers are out of stock on much of their inventory and selling whatever gold and silver coins and bullion they can get their hands on at a premium. We’ve seen silver coins selling for as much as $10 over spot, or $40 for a 1 ounce silver eagle.
Did you ever wonder why so many ships sank with treasure chests full of gold chains, silver and gold dishes, and jewels? For centuries, kings, countries and wealthy individuals have preserved their wealth by converting their coins into jewelry and items other than money. A two pound chain made from solid gold is just a necklace. A bejeweled golden goblet is just a drinking vessel. Often this was done to avoid taxation or having to declare wealth when traveling from one country to another. By converting their metal into useful items, they were able to preserve their wealth and more easily transfer it to their heirs.
Even today, the IRS considers jewelry a collectable and, in general, it is not considered to be an asset. Coins and bullion are another matter and are subject to capital gains taxes and must be declared and treated like stocks, bonds and other financial instruments.
At least for now, precious metals in the jewelry industry are still based mostly on the spot price and buying an ounce of pure silver wire is less expensive than buying a 1 ounce silver coin. We at Urban Maille are not financial advisors and this is not financial advice, but we sure think it makes more sense to make something beautiful and useful out of precious metals rather than simply hiding them in a vault or burying them in a hole in the ground.
So if you’re thinking of investing in precious metals and aren’t sure where to start, we suggest you wear your wealth, or some portion of it anyway. Display it proudly and enjoy it every day for years to come as it continues to increase in value.
|Fine Silver||100% Fine Silver||0% other metal(s)|
|Sterling Silver||92.5% Fine Silver||7.5% other metal(s)|
|Argentium Sterling||92.5% Fine Silver||7.5% other metal(s)|
|10k Gold||41.7% Fine Gold||58.3% other metal(s)|
|14k Gold||58.5% Fine Gold||41.5% other metal(s)|
|18k Gold||75% Fine Gold||25% other metal(s)|
|22k Gold||91.6% Fine Gold||8.4% other metal(s)|
|24k Gold||100% Fine Gold||0% other metal(s)|