The Jewelry Trade

Jewelry is a form of personal expression and a reflection of culture, tradition, and social standing. While the style of jewelry may vary widely across cultures, many basic elements remain the same. Jewelry is worn for a variety of reasons including decoration, as a symbol of adornment, as a mark of status and to enhance physical beauty. Jewelry can also be worn to commemorate a special occasion such as a wedding or anniversary. A jeweler’s business can be very profitable if they are able to capture the attention of shoppers and sell products effectively.

Retail Jewelers

A large portion of the jewelry trade is comprised of resale items. These are loose diamonds, gemstones and finished pieces that have been sold to a third party retailer such as a jewelry store or even a chain of jewelers. Retailer’s who are able to offer these items for sale at a much lower price than what they paid out to the vendor can make a large profit on this type of merchandise.

Jewelers often use memo as a way to fill in gaps in their inventory without having to pay upfront for the item. Essentially, the jewelry is on loan to the retail store until it is sold. This allows the jewelry store to have a variety of merchandise available and it keeps the shop’s inventory fresh. Some vendors and suppliers will even lend their merchandise to a jeweler on a permanent basis. This can be especially useful for newer businesses that do not have a large enough investment to purchase inventory on their own.

In the gem trade, a jeweler’s ability to get a good price for their merchandise depends on the quality of the material and its provenance. For example, a ruby with documentation from the Czar will be more valuable than a comparable gem with no known history. To establish the authenticity of a gem, it is common practice for a jeweler to send it out to reputable laboratories such as GIA, Gubelin or the American Gem Society (AGS).


Some gem manufacturers buy raw material in bulk and then use it for a variety of purposes. This includes crafting loose diamonds and gemstones into a variety of finished pieces. For example, a diamond could be shaped into a ring or set in a filigree mount. The same can be done with metals such as silver or gold, resulting in finely crafted jewelry.

A large portion of the gem trade is comprised of dealers and collectors who deal in rarer or more exotic gem materials that are not easily or quickly marketable to Tier 1 stores. These traders typically sell their merchandise to collectors or to other jewelry retailers and are a vital part of the industry. In some cases, they also act as consultants for their clients helping them to find the right piece of jewelry to match their specific needs and tastes. In addition, these merchants can often help a client with financing options which is critical for a lot of high-end customers.