A few months ago, lots of customers inquired about us to help them import jewelry accessories and jewelry materials from China through emails. Because they think this product niche is pretty promising with its advantages of high value, small volume, low shipping cost, and high profit. But few of them have enough experience in this area.

Good articles were not found when I searched how to import jewelry from China on Google, so I write this article. No matter you are purchasing jewelry from China online, or actually visiting China in person, you will find this article very informative and useful.

Besides, if you want to private label jewelry and need more knowledge about jewelry materials, take How to Customize and Private Label Jewelry and Top Jewelry Materials as a reference.

Table of Contents

How to Select Suppliers When Importing Jewelry Accessories from China?

Selecting suppliers is essential when importing jewelry from China, as it concerns the quality and price of products. Design and quantity are the two most important elements for jewelry importers, so I divide them into the following three types.

a. Importers Who Do Not Have Specific Styles

Some foreign jewelry importers are interested in hot selling and popular jewelry, and they are purchasing regularly, like every season, then selling to local jewelry shops. These importers don’t have specific styles when importing from Chinese suppliers, so they would like suppliers to recommend some popular styles.

These importers can source suppliers on Alibaba.com, or if are possible, come to Guangzhou or Yiwu City to source from local jewelry markets. Styles in the market are updated frequently in order to keep up with the fashion trends. Otherwise, you can find many spot goods with lower MOQ, which is more suitable for smaller quantity importers.

If you are purchasing a large quantity, such as 5000 units for one style, you can also source large jewelry factories. These factories have their own designers to create lots of new styles, and you can let them recommend to you. You’d better source them from famous fairs, such as Hong Kong Global Sources Fair, Canton Fair, select several reliable ones then have a long-term business.

Hong Kong Global Sources FairCanton Fair
Hong Kong Global Sources FairCanton Fair

b. Importers Who Have Their Own Designs or Samples

Importers who have their own designs can be divided into four types:

  • Foreign trading companies, whose customers are mainly famous foreign jewelry companies;
  • Foreign large-scale chain supermarket, such as Walmart;
  • Foreign famous jewelry or fashion brands, such as Forever 21, Topshop;
  • Foreign original jewelry shops/craft shops/tourist souvenir shops.

1) Big quantity importers-over 2000 units for each item

Forever 21 jewelry styles

Forever 21 jewelry styles

Importers who are from the first three types usually purchase big quantities in every single order, but they have stricter requests for their suppliers as well. Especially like large famous brand Walmart, passing its factory audit is an integrant condition for its suppliers. They will entrust a professional factory-auditing organization to do the audit one or two times every year, so passing just one audit doesn’t mean the factories will be qualified forever.

Some other importers require suppliers to sign NDA/NNN agreements (Non-Disclosure Agreement/Non-disclosure, non-use/non-compete, and non-circumvention Agreement) to make sure none of their own designs and products will be sold or recommended to other importers from these suppliers.

If you are one of these kinds of importers, you can select large/middle jewelry trading companies or factories as your suppliers, I believe that your strict requirements in product quality and test will be achieved by them. Also source them from large fairs will be a wise choice.

2) Small quantity importers-under 2000 units for each item

If you only need hundreds of units for each item for customizing your design, then obviously you cannot reach the MOQ of most large jewelry factories/trading companies. So you need to source small-scale trading companies that can deal with small quantity orders flexibly.

They will get materials from the market, then entrust the production to cooperated small jewelry workshops. Such as an electroplating factory, welding plant if it’s an alloy jewelry product; If it’s a hand knitting product, they will send materials with samples to some countryside nearby, because there are lots of people who are doing handwork with lower labor charge. That’s why these small trading companies reduce the cost.

One of my colleagues had worked in a small jewelry trading company for two years. All of their small orders are produced by very small jewelry workshops. For example, a hand-knitted shell necklace, the workshop will send material which gets from Yiwu market to the countryside in Jiangxi Province (not far from Yiwu), then send the finished goods back to Yiwu trading company after 10-15 days of production.

small electroplate factorypeople who are doing handwork in countryside
Small electroplate factoryPeople who are doing handwork in the countryside

c. Importers Who Want to Buy Stock Accessories

There are some importers who aim to low-price stock jewelry products, for selling in African or other developing areas. These stock jewelry products are from different sources, such as leftover products, rejected products because of mistakes in producing, customized products abandoned by clients, etc. These products are sold to stock collectors at a tenth of the original price, some are even sold by weight, just like fruits and vegetables.

If you want to buy stock accessories, you can visit the stock street in Yiwu, Guangzhou, and Qingdao, where you can find lots of stock jewelry shops, such as Wuai stock street and Meihu stock street in Yiwu.

I did research in Yiwu Wuai stock street, and one shop owner told me that most of their stock jewelry is brought from Guangzhou, normally is leftover products. Many different styles of necklaces with colorful stones are all in one price $0.3/pc. The quality is good as I checked some of them. If you buy from the Guangzhou factory in bulk, this necklace at least needs $1.5-$2.0/pc. Major customers of these shops are from Africa.  

Stock jewelry styleAfrican customer is placing order in shop
Stock jewelry styleAfrican customer is placing an order in the shop

Three Main Producing Areas of Jewelry Accessories in China

Guangzhou, Yiwu, and Qingdao are the three main producing areas of China’s jewelry accessories. No matter what you are purchasing in anyways, the suppliers are all from these three cities. Each of them has its own characteristics.

a. Guangzhou-Best Quality and Most Specialized City of China’s Jewelry Accessories

The jewelry industry in Guangzhou was led up from Hong Kong, as their position is very close. So Guangzhou’s jewelry styles and designs are the most innovative and closest to the international fashion trend. Jewelry businessmen from Yiwu usually visit Guangzhou to buy some new styles, then produce accordingly. The maturity of Guangzhou’s jewelry industry makes its quality higher than in other cities.

But the MOQ of Guangzhou’s suppliers is normally higher, which means Guangzhou is not suitable for small-quantity importers (hundreds of units of one item). Except you are their old customer, they may help to do some occasional small orders.

Artificial stone shop in Liwan plaza

Artificial stone shop in Liwan plaza

You can find lots of jewelry wholesale markets in Guangzhou, such as the Xijiao Building, Liwan Plaza, and the Market of South-China International Little Commodities.

Xijiao Building is located near Guangzhou train station, most of the products inside are of high quality and price. If you are interested in high-level jewelry, you cannot miss this market. The main products in Liwan Plaza are crystal and jade products. The market of South-China International Little Commodities is an omnibus market with abundant suppliers.

b. Yiwu- Low Price, Best Choice for Small Jewelry Accessories Importers

There are 3 main ways to find jewelry suppliers in Yiwu, by my experience:

  1. Visit District 1 of Yiwu Wholesale Market, or Xingzhong Area (兴中小区);
  2. Search jewelry factories/trading companies from Yiwu, Jinhua on Alibaba;
  3. Visit Yiwu Fair which is held on Oct. 21st-25th every year.
Jewelry products booth in Yiwu wholesale market

Jewelry products booth in Yiwu wholesale market

The advantages of Yiwu’s jewelry products are rich and varied styles and quality, lower prices than Guangzhou jewelry. And purchasing from the Yiwu market is more convenient. Meanwhile, its disadvantages are: suppliers’ holistic level is lower than Guangzhou, most styles and designs are imitative, products with distressed prices are of bad quality.

A lot of people think Yiwu jewelry’s quality is poor, but it’s not true. Here you can buy the jewelry product at the world’s lowest price, but you can still find factories and trading companies who are doing OEM/ODM orders for large European and US fashion brands.

c. Qingdao-Major Production Place of Korean Style Jewelry

Sino-Korea International Commodities market

Sino-Korea International Commodities market

Qingdao is situated in the northeast of China, which means it’s very close to Korea. Lots of Korean jewelry companies were attracted to establish factories there, hence the major product is Korean style jewelry, and the quality is normally high.

Jewelry wholesale market also can be found in Qingdao, the most popular two among them are Sino-Korea International Commodities market and Jimo Small Commodities market.

How do Chinese Jewelry Suppliers Get Their Product Design?

As I mentioned above, importers like suppliers to recommend new styles, also selecting new styles is their main purpose when attending jewelry fairs. But how do Chinese jewelry suppliers get their product designs?

Most large-scale factories have their own designers, they take some of top international fashion brands’ new styles as a reference, then add their own idea and revise, to create a new own style then recommend to customers. They also select beautiful styles from big customers’ finished orders to take as reference, introduce them to other importers with/without their own revise.

Middle and small suppliers who cannot afford to have their own designers, usually go to Guangzhou and Qingdao to buy new style samples, then copy to own designs to show to customers.

Many booths in the Yiwu jewelry market are specialized in “hot cake” jewelry styles. E.g. hot cake in 2014: flower headband; hot cake in 2015: choker. These suppliers will change their products according to the hotcakes trend at different times.

Flower headbandChoker sets
Flower headbandChoker sets

What Kind of Compliance Is Needed for Importing Jewelry from China?

The compliance test is very important when importing jewelry accessories from China as most countries and areas have their own regulates for imported jewelry. So the test report is necessary for them.

High-end customers from Europe and the US normally have cooperated with Chinese testing companies (such as SGS branch company in China), their suppliers need to send samples and materials to the testing company before shipping. The test report is sent to the customer directly by the testing company, in case any fake reports are made by suppliers.

Most jewelry products touch the skin, and its test can be divided into two parts: physical test and chemical test. Physical test includes colorfastness, tensile test, sharp point, and edges, etc. Chemical tests mainly check the content and thickness of hazardous chemical substances such as lead, cadmium, nickel. The right picture shows the content standards of hazardous chemical substances in major countries.

test requirements

test requirements

How to Ship Jewelry Products When Import from China?

The most widely-used shipping way of jewelry accessories is the International Express, because of jewelry’s characteristics of rapid updating, small volume, and high requirement in timeliness. But there still are some large-quantity importers who prefer using LCL sea shipping, as their total volume of one order is biggish. In order to catch the jewelry seasonal fashion, they will place the order a few months earlier to offset the long-time in sea shipping.

Necklace for Valentine's Day

Necklace for Valentine’s Day

But when you are purchasing low-value jewelry accessories, the express shipping cost will far exceed the product value. In this situation, I suggest you purchase as many as you can in one order, at least the total volume can reach LCL sea shipping’s minimum volume standard. Only in this way you can lower your cost.

One of our US customers is a large-scale trading company, their main clients are famous US jewelry brands, such as Burlington. Most orders they place to us are in large quantities, around 3,000 units of each item in one color. So the total volume is around 10 CBM. Order for 2016’s Valentine’s Day is placed to us at Nov. 2015, and demand us to ship the goods out before the end of Dec. So the goods can arrive in the US at the end of Jan. 2016 by sea shipping, and still catch their selling season. 

Finally, if you need help with sourcing jewelry from China, feel free to contact us.

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