When buying sheet silver there are several things to think about. This post does not focus on the different gauges and why you should buy them. It will focus on how and where to buy sheet silver. First remember what kind of sheet you want to buy. Do you want to buy sterling silver sheet, fine silver sheet or reticulated silver for example. For buying any type of silver the following tips can be useful.
For most beginners you will be buying your silver sheet directly from the studio where your taking classes or a local art shop. This isn’t so bad to start with. You can actually hold the sheet before you understand the gauges and types well. At a studio the person selling the stuff to you will most likely be a teacher and will be able to answer your questions. At an art shop this might be true also. Another advantage is art shops will have sales and you can save money on buying discounted sheer.
The downside is art shops and studios rarely adjust their prices for the change in the value of silver. Silver is a commodity and its value changes daily. Most shops and studios will adjust the price when new silver comes in and some will change it if there is a big value change. This is a big gamble because they could have bought it when it was low or high and you have no idea.
Rio Grande Catalog
Another option is buying your sheet silver from Rio Grande Catalog, Rio for short. Rio adjusts the value of there silver daily depending on the price of silver on the stock market. Basically what Rio charges you is the value of the silver per gram then a fabrication charge. The fabrication charge is lowered by the amount of silver you order. A downside of buying from Rio is that they have minimum purchase amounts and charge for additional cuts. Another downside is that it takes time to reach you.
If you plan to buy from Rio there are a few things you can do to save money. First watch the value of silver for a couple of weeks. This can easily be checked on the Rio homepage. If silver looks like it is going down wait till it gets lower, if silver looks like it is going up buy it right away. The second tip is doing a large order of silver all at once, including buying your silver wire and bezel. Rio gives the fabrication discount on the total amount of silver ordered not just a particular gauge or type.
Therefore if your buy silver from Rio watch the price of silver for fluctuation. Then doing one big order a year will save on fabrication charge. This way you can save the most money and get what you want. Then use your studio or local art store to buy things you need on a short notice.
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