Since my major was in metal jewerly I like to keep an eye on the gold and silver market. When I was in college the silver market was in the $5-$7 range depending on the day. I checked the market today and it's $15.50!!! Yikes what is going on here? It's double what it used to be.
Of course if you buy silver from a supplier, it's $15.50 in granule form. But if you get things cast, like a lot of jewelers do so you can make multiples, it can sometimes be double the silver market. Also I'm talking about small businesses who end up paying a lot for silver and gold. The stuff you buy at a department or chain store. They buy silver jewelry in bulk and get a big discount. So you may buy a $15 jewelry item, there's less than 15 cents of silver in the item, well maybe $1.15 of silver. This is why I like handmade, unique jewelry. I know how much work goes into making an item.
Here's one of my favorite jewelers Leigh Davenport. I have only a few pieces and they always get compliments when I wear them.