In one of our posts from last month we discussed the various reasons behind silver's staying power in the jewelry industry. As we mentioned, this precious metal's affordability and versatility have made it a popular choice among manufacturers and consumers. Not surprisingly, its popularity is forecasted to rise this year.

According to the World Silver Survey 2012, the price of silver, as well as the demand for silver jewelry, is expected to increase and range between $29 to $40 an ounce. So, what does this increased demand for silver jewelry mean?

Although still in the recovery stage, the current economy looks encouraging for silver. The increase in the precious metal’s demand can be attributed to several economic factors including changes in consumer preferences and household incomes. From a consumer point of view, silver remains popular in comparison to the substantial gold prices in today's current market. With gold jewelry becoming out of reach for many shoppers, silver will continue to be a worthy alternative.

Continued strong jewelry retail sales indicate that consumers recognize the profit potential in silver purchases as an investment. This is good news for silver jewelry manufacturers who can produce low-cost designs that customers want to buy and retailers who can benefit from this increase in silver sales. With silver prices varying and jewelry manufacturing funds decreasing, it is necessary to find a balance between affordable designs and appealing pieces customers want to buy.

In addition to the jewelry industry, silver is also widely used in dentistry, photography, coins, batteries, electronic equipment and silverware. Taking these additional applications into consideration, global demand for silver is supposed to increase 3 to 5 percent this year according to the survey.

As demand continues to rise, make sure to protect your silver from tarnish and oxidation in this coming year to preserve its value.