With the price of gold at record levels, or so it seems, I would like to give you the perspective of the jewellery creator. To begin may I offer you some historical background to bring the rise in value of this precious metal into context.

Since the late 1800‘s the U.S. currency has been backed by gold and as of 1944 traded with a fixed conversion rate of USD 35 per troy ounce. In 1971 the then U.S. president Nixon decided to break with tradition, remove the dollar from the gold standard and hand the precious metal to the speculators on the stock markets. After a mere 9 years of climbing this commodity reached a peak price of $ 850 per troy ounce in 1980. Following this short term spike gold settled in the $ 300-400 range for nearly 2 decades, reaching a low of $ 251 in August 1999. The next 9 years has brought a steady rise and spiking sharply in 2008 to break the $ 1000 mark for the first time. As I am writing this gold is traded at $ 1380 or $ 1383 Canadian per troy ounce.( As an interesting aside, the 1980 peak price is equivalent to $ 2359 in 2009 USD, adjusted to inflation).

To jewellery designers and creators like myself the sharp rise of our raw material  poses many challenges. I can design my work with a reduced gold weight in mind and possibly compromise durability as well as comfort. I can change from 18 karat to 14 karat, reducing the pure gold content in the alloy, thereby sacrificing the lustrous beauty of the gold. Many lower gold alloy compositions are also prone to discolourations or oxidization.

These solutions aimed at reducing input costs may help to some extent while introducing compromises that detract from the desired outcome. My aim is to offer you and all my clients jewellery created for life. Starting with an idea, function, esthetics and colours are finely balanced to create the design. Yet, a design is only as strong as the meticulously executed finished piece to the highest possible level of excellence. In combining these elements I believe to pay homage to and respect gold as the fine precious metal we value so much.

Bayot Heer

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