The Jewelry Trade

Jewelry is a popular way to make a statement, whether it’s a dazzling diamond pendant or a simple silver ring. Jewelry can also be functional, symbolic of group membership (as with the Christian crucifix or Jewish Star of David), or mark one’s social status (as is the case for chains of office or wedding rings). The jewelry trade consists of retail and wholesale buyers, jewelers, and designers who create new pieces.

The retail market consists of local jewelry stores that sell premade items or offer onsite jewelry making services. It also includes online retailers, such as Etsy or Amazon, which provide access to a global market of shoppers. In addition, there are a variety of independent online jewelers who operate on a consignment basis and take a percentage of each sale as their commission.

While the online marketplace has advantages for retailers and sellers, there are limitations to its reach. Consumers have a wide range of buying choices, so it can be difficult to become discoverable. If a jewelry designer wants to be discovered by a large audience, it’s often necessary to have a brick-and-mortar location and hire a sales staff.

Wholesale gem dealers supply small retailers, jewelry manufacturers, and other jewelers with a variety of gemstones. These dealers will typically have a high level of expertise in the gem trade, including knowledge about geology, rarity, and value. They may even have a lab where they can test and grade gemstones. These dealers will often have special relationships with some wholesale jewelry makers, offering them discounts on gemstones and raw metals that they buy in bulk.

Generally speaking, jewelry that is made by hand is more desirable than mass-produced pieces. However, this approach to production can be expensive, especially if the jewelry maker has limited space and equipment. In this scenario, the jewelry maker might consider sharing studio space with another jeweler or finding co-op studio space where she can share costs and resources with other designers.

Jewelry designers are constantly seeking supplies and tools, such as wire cutters, soldering irons, and a wide array of metals to work with. It’s common for a jewelry maker to use scraps and old materials as the foundation for new creations. In order to keep their inventory organized, many jewelers have dedicated storage units for each material type, ensuring that they can quickly retrieve what they need.

When selling used or inherited jewelry, it’s important to be knowledgeable about what the piece is worth. Having a strong grasp of the history and current market price will help you get the most money for your items. For example, knowing how much your gold is worth can make a significant difference in the amount you receive from a pawnbroker or jewelry store. It’s also a good idea to research the prices of similar jewelry on eBay or other websites before walking into a pawn shop. This can help you avoid being taken advantage of.