I’ve been pondering this for a long, long time. Our thinking as silversmiths must change with the times and adjust with current tastes. As electronics have become the toys of today, so must we think as to how to design for this market. Why aren’t we all creating desk accessories? Why aren’t we designing sterling cases for USB flash drives? Corporate gift-giving is a huge market.
Have you ever asked yourself what keeps the silver companies afloat? Flatware. Each year stainless flatware takes a bigger bite out of the sterling market. Why? Mainly due to its price, but also because there continues to be a huge misconception that sterling requires an extraordinary amount of care. It most certainly doesn’t if it’s used and stored properly.
What traditionally has sold well are serving pieces. A single piece can make any table an elegant table. They’re easy to care for and store. A small piece given as a gift can make as much of a statement as an entire tea set. And, when it’s made of Argentium Sterling Silver it will be as care-free as stainless.
Sterling holloware and flatware will never be as popular as it was during Victorian times when servants cared for your collection. Silversmiths, as in all other crafts, must, in order to survive, be as creative in marketing as designing. We shouldn’t be saying sterling is dead when we haven’t explored every opportunity.