Sterling Silver or Silver plated

I'm struggling with the issue of what wire to use. I like silver rather than gold in terms of color and I've made pieces in both sterling silver wire - round and square - and in silver plated copper wire.

I know that silver plated is considered amateurish but unfortunately for me it's more of a necessity than a choice. The economy is bad and people can't spend much on non-essencial items. A lot of my clients want pieces to wear for a season or two and they care more about how the piece looks than what it is made of, so the extra cost of sterling silver means little to no sales. And since I need to make a living I need to make stuff that sells even if that means using less expensive materials.

I'm slowly moving toward using sterling silver and gemstones but it will be a long process. The design of the pieces has to be special enough to make it worth it and I have to accept that it will probably take much longer to sell those pieces.

The other issue revolves around the legal restrictions behind selling sterling silver jewelry. The silver needs to be stamped with the local hallmarks that state its degree of purity and I think you may also need a special permit to sell silver and gold jewelry. I expect, although I'm not entirely sure that these rules include silver wire pieces but I still need to explore these issues further. Marking the pieces are an added cost and getting a permit to sell silver items must be a bureaucratic nightmare if not impossible.

I have nothing against following rules, I just wish is was easier to figure out what they are. I found a website with the legislation but I have doubts about what I read and when I tried to send an email the adresses they provided didn't exist. And this is an official, state website I'm talking about! This country in unbelievable sometimes.

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