Welcome to our January edition of United News. We continue to see interesting trends in our industry that may be good news for everyone. It appears the metal markets have leveled off over the past few months bringing with it an increase in jewelry production and a modest confidence within our industry. Additionally, we also have noticed an increase in our refining business over the past few months indicating the scrapping of old inventory and a readiness to manufacture new jewelry styles.
We bring you this newsletter in hopes of sharing with you some things in the industry that can assist you in your pursuit of business. If you see anything here that brings questions, concerns, or possibilities to your world – please let us know. We are here to serve.
President and CEO
In this issue of United News …
Can XRF Replace Fire Assay?
Fire assay is an age-old technique that has been used for thousands of years for the determination of precious metals and provides unmatched accuracy for the determination of gold.
During the last few decades, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) systems have become very popular. These systems are very appealing considering their relatively inexpensive price and the fact that they do not require a full laboratory setup. However, even though XRF is a great tool for a quick screening of the samples, it is advisable to be cautious when accurate determinations are needed. Many aspects of the sample such as its surface characteristics, light elements, and interferences can jeopardize the accuracy of the results. This is why fire assay is still the industry standard and the approved method for standard institutions such as ASTM or ISO.
In our Analytical Department we still see many customers who own their own XRF equipment and send samples in for fire assay or ICP determinations. It is good practice and also peace of mind.
United PMR provides analytical services for the jewelry industry including fire assay, ICP, XRF, and hardness testing.
For questions regarding United PMR analytical services or technical inquiries regarding assay, our Analytical Department is available at email@example.com
Yellow Gold Alloys
Current trends in Gold Jewelry Sales indicates a shift back to yellow gold from the long popular white gold. United has an extensive line of excellent yellow gold alloys for 9 Karat to 22 Karat to fulfill your requirements. The gold colors range from dark yellow to greenish yellow. We have silicon deoxidized yellow alloys for casting and general purpose fabrication alloys for sheet and wire making. We also carry readymade karated casting grains in the most popular yellow colors. We have yellow alloys suitable for torch or open melt systems and alloys for the enclosed casting machines.
What metals are in Yellow Master Alloys?
In Yellow Master Alloys for 9 to 14 karat yellow gold, the following metals are contained. Copper - 48% to 75%, Silver – 5% to 35%, Zinc 4% to 23% and fractional percentages of Silicon, Boron or Indium in casting alloys, none in fabrication / general purpose alloys. Variations in the composition provide the different yellow colors when mixed with fine gold.
In Yellow Master Alloys for 18 to 22 karat yellow gold, the following metals are contained. Copper – 20% to 68%, Silver – 25% to 74%, Zinc – 0% to 4% and very small fractional percentages of Silicon, Boron or Indium in casting alloys, none in fabrication / general purpose alloys. Variations in the compositions provide different yellow colors when mixed with fine gold.
Contact your United Sales Representative for more information on United Yellow Gold Alloys.
Relationships Trump All Else
One of the most valuable, yet underappreciated assets in the industry is the RELATIONSHIP. Customers who establish a connection with their supplier are more likely to build long lasting relationships. This is true at any level of our industry, from the local jeweler who learns the name of each customer to a manufacturer who goes above and beyond for his customers by under promising and over delivering.
At United, we value our customers and the relationships we maintain. It is, among many other, one of our most valued and cherished commodities. Here are some tips to help you establish and maintain a relationship with your customers and/or vendors:
Honesty. Nothing is more important in any relationship that being truthful. Our customers will sometimes call in with technical questions and the person on the phone may end up putting them on hold to find the answer they need from one of our technical experts. While the hold time may cause some frustration, it's better than guessing and offering the wrong product or quoting the wrong price.
Treat All Customers Like Your Best Customer. No matter how big or small a customer is, a customer is a customer and should be treated well. At United, we value all of our customers equally and offer the same great service to all of our accounts regardless of size or consumption.
Follow Through. Among the most important keys to maintaining a successful relationship is getting things done. Don't make empty promises. Take the time to make sure the customer's needs are fulfilled as you would like them done for yourself.
Be Available. Customers are busy too. When a customer stops in your store or calls you, they are taking time to speak with you which means they are looking to do business. Value their time and make yourself available at the moment they reach out to you.
Be Appreciative. A little goes a long way in this particular point. From something as simple as a "Thank You" to small tokens of appreciation, customers really like the feeling that their business (and perhaps more importantly, their time and relationship) is valued. Thanking a customer for allowing you to resize that ring or set a fallen stone can lead to more business in the future, not to mention referrals. And of course, remember to smile.
Maintain Contact. Just because you finished one transaction doesn't mean goodbye. After making that first contact, be sure to stay connected with your customer. Give them a courtesy phone call a couple of months later. If you're planning a sale event, reach out to them and invite them to stop in. They may have needs that you can fulfill but may have not gotten around to calling you. A simple phone call can be a powerful reminder that you're still there for them.
The bottom line is that most people would rather do business with someone they know. Giving your customers that connection is not only good for business but good for you too since we live in a world where relationships are a true commodity.
The Year in Review – Market Commentary Recap for 2014
It was a disappointing year for the bulls in the Precious Metals markets as gold was overshadowed by a U.S. economy which continued to gain in strength through the year. Aided by struggling European growth prospects and declining Asian economic growth, the U.S. Dollar's strength throughout the year weighed heavily on any upside moves in gold for 2014.
Opening the year around $1200, gold moved to the year high of $1380 on Russian attempts to intervene in the Ukraine. As the situation slowly dissipated, so did the gold price, falling back to $1280.
The story of the year for gold was the U.S. Economy, the Federal Reserve and the actions surrounding the end of the QE or, as it was known as, the tapering. Well, truth be told, the tapering went quite smoothly for the U.S. economy as a whole. With every positive economic report and successful reduction in QE draining the bullion market of support, gold drifted lower through the summer and fall, falling from $1340 in June to $1200 by early October.
The fundamental weakness of the global economy also weighed on the gold market by way of a U.S. Dollar which benefitted by the fact that it is clearly the best of a bad lot. As the Dollar continued making newer multiyear highs through summer and fall, it dominated the global economic landscape and continually muted any attempts by the gold market to make any moves to the upside. Its ultimate effect was to eliminate any speculative "risk" buying interest in the metals as gold fell in late October to the year low of $1138.
The last few weeks have seen a bit of a bounce, closing the year around $1180. Despite the sound defeat of the Swiss Gold Referendum, gold has begun to attract some interest in financial circles once again. Concern over Japan's recession, China's economic slowdown, unknown ramifications of the Russian Ruble crisis, and a reawakening of physical demand in the Far East all spell a sense of optimism for those who believe that gold is the ultimate risk asset. For optimists this is not a bad base to begin the New Year with the downside somewhat limited and the upside not subject to the plethora of bearish events it faced this year. Gold once again has the opportunity to recoup its former "shine" as the world moves in ways we do not yet even know about, or, dare one say, speculate?