How to Find the Best Jewellery Trade Shows and Suppliers

Whether you’re a jewelry maker or a store owner, your business depends on a wide range of partners and supply sources. Trade shows are great places to find everything you need for your operation — and to discover new tools and techniques. If you can’t attend, social media can also bring you up to speed on the latest industry trends and offerings.

Jewelry makers often need a variety of supplies, from beads to pliers and hammers. When you’re starting out, look for wholesale suppliers who offer discounts for bulk purchases. Gillian, who makes jewelry for her brand Biko, says she sourced her initial equipment by word of mouth and by asking other designers where they bought their supplies. “You can also use local markets or host an open studio to invite people into your production space and process,” she says.

The turn of the 20th century saw a shift from ornate, Art Nouveau designs to simpler forms. Jewellers like Rene Lalique, working for Samuel Bing’s Paris store, and the Wiener Werkstatte and Darmstadt Artists’ Colony in Germany contributed to this style, which became known as Art Deco. Britain’s Liberty & Co and the Cymric movements led by Charles Robert Ashbee also created more linear jewellery. In addition, modern manufacturing allowed for more economical mass production of higher-quality pieces.

College isn’t necessary for many jewellery store jobs, but it can help prepare you for the responsibilities of a supervisory or managerial role. Classes in jewellery store management, metalwork, and design may be available at your university or community college. You can also find classes at fashion institutes and other institutions that focus on design, gemology, and sales techniques.

If you’re planning to start a jewellery shop or repair service, a bachelor’s degree in a field like marketing or finance is a good idea. This can help you understand the financial aspects of running a business and make wise decisions when purchasing inventory or hiring employees.

Some people have inherited valuable jewellery that they want to sell. In this case, it’s best to have an appraisal done by a certified gemologist. This will give you the most accurate and fair value for your piece.

Another option is to contact a jewellery dealer who will buy it as-is or for its melt value (gold or platinum), and then resell it in their store. The seller can expect to receive close to 50% of the retail value.

If you’re a newcomer to the jewelry trade, consider attending a convention or trade show to explore all areas of your industry. Many jewelry shows offer workshops, breakout sessions, and panel discussions that engage attendees in trending topics. Some even feature celebrity keynote speakers or fashion designers. Using a smartphone to take photos of exhibits, products, or tools is an efficient way to record your findings and share them with colleagues who can’t join you at the event. This method of notetaking is even quicker than jotting down notes and will help you keep up with the pace of the trade show.