Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More about the cost of silver

The July issue of The Indian Trader carries an article on the increasing cost of silver and its impact on Native American silversmiths. (The Indian Trader is a hard-copy monthly newspaper. It does not have a web site but subscriptions by mail are quite reasonable. Call 800-748-1624 to subscribe.)

The article cites the story of Seraphine Wilson and Justin Wilson Jr, members of the Navajo tribe, who have found the 117 per cent increase in silver prices over the past year requiring them to work longer hours in order to produce sufficient product to make money.

The Indian Trader quotes brokers that the "cost will nearly double again, hitting between $20 to $30 an ounce by the summer."

The Wilson's claim to be working 12 to 14 hours a day vs. the 8 to 10 hours a day that they worked when silver was less expensive. They also drive the 75 miles from their home on the Navajo reservation to Gallup two or three times a week, where they sell their product to dealers and traders and buy replacement silver to work with. The Indian Trader quotes Wilson as saying, "We're not buying as much silver as we used to."

The impact of the price of silver on Native American jewelry production is yet to be seen in full. It is not impossible, however, to anticipate a reduction in authentic Native American silver jewelry and an increase in the cost of it.

We are covering this subject because we don't want people who are thinking about buying Navajo or Zuni silver jewelry to delay to the point that their price and selection options are severely limited.
Tribal Artery is an occasional blog about Tribal Art from Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its allied web sites, Native-JewelryLink, for authentic jewelry from Navajo, Zuni and other Native American artist, Native-Potterylink, for superb, authentic Native American pottery, ZuniLink, for outstanding authentic fetish carvings from Zuni, Cochiti and San Felipe, and TribalWorks, for a pot pourri of Native American folk art, Australian Aboriginal art, Arctic and Pacific Northwest art and African tribal art.

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