Good place(s) to sell akoya pearl strand necklaces and loose, undrilled akoya pearls?
I am interested in finding out where I could sell akoya pearl strand necklaces and loose, undrilled akoya pearls online as well as offline. Anyone have any ideas?
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
At a jewelry show. Vegas, Tucson, and New York would all work well. But you really need to know your product and market pricing before you make that type of investment.
Most people that buy loose hanks in the US buy freshwater pearls. They are the designers and beaders. Akoya always sells better finished.
What exactly do you mean by "finished"?
Can you give me any more information on these jewelry shows?
Senior Guide Member
By "finished", he means that the pearls need to be strung in to necklaces with clasps or set into "finished" earring, ring, or pendant settings. Unfinished pearls would be the pearls on hanks or loose pearls. It's very important to really know the product before you sell it. This will actually help you as a buyer and a seller.
Something you might try...
Depending on their size, you might also try your luck by approaching various retailers that have a decent pearl offering. This is actually how I got my start. If you are sourcing your Akoya well, you will be able to offer much lower prices than what the typical pearl distributor will offer the end retail store. It is not an easy approach, but it is a good way to discover more about pricing points in the retail world, and if you only intend to sell pearls to suppliment your income, it can be an exciting hobby and perhaps will lead to bigger and better things.
Andrew, any size akoya in particular that you think or know from experience that tends to be a better seller?
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
6.5-7mm and 7-7.5mm are the staple sizes. There is a bit of a price jump after 7.5mm because those larger pearls are slmost exclusively harvested in Japan. Japan has all but stopped producing Akoya smaller than 7.5mm.
Pearls smaller than 6.5mm have been difficult to source in the past, but they are not nearly as popular anyway.
A few tips
Jeremy is right. the 6.5-7mm and 7-7.5mm are the most commonly purchased sizes. Above 7.5mm and the price is too high for most retailers to want to buy, because they don't want to tie up too much money in inventory. It also depends on the demographics of your area. We are in the midwest and the retailers we sell to are mostly small mom & pop operations. They will carry 4-5 strands and perhaps sell 1 during the year and maybe 2-3 during christmas. They are used to paying distributors $500+ for lower quality strands, and so are excited to purchase a higher quality strand for less money. They can then charge a lower price to their customers (middle class to lower middle class clients) for $500 - $700 instead of the $1200+ they use to have to charge. A broader customer base then have access to pearls and the jeweler can turn their inventory more frequently.
If you already have a good source from strands for low cost, you may be in a good position to start testing the waters in your area. The key is to make sure you can converse intelligently about your product (this is a good place to study up) and to make a nice presentation. Visit the jeweler when you know it will be a slow time during the day. Don't try to go for the "hard sell" or exaggerate your background as a pearl guru. Be honest and let them know that you are new to the business, but have a nice connection for high quality, low cost pearls, and that your willing to give them better deals then they are currently getting.
Anyway, I hope you give it a try. It can be a little scary and intimidating when you first get started (expect to be rejected most of the time). But if you do have nice pearls and nice prices, your persistence will pay off.
Like any other jewelry, quality and price are major factors. It depends what quality you have and at what price you can offer.
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