Purchasing Pearls online


Jan 11, 2014
Dear all,

I am brand new on Pearl Guide, but I follow you up since years;
My question is: do you order pearls online?? My answer is YES!
Amazingly, I love Freshwater pearls; if long before, the FWP had very low quality because of very hazardous shapes, they have turned to perfect round shape, beautiful luster and surface since the Chinese farmers have learnt a lot about pearls cultivation; I have found very beautiful FWP, and love wear them every days; But obviously, if I can afford it one day, Jacques Christophe Branellec will be the first informed about my order: Golden Philippines Pearls are far away the pearls I would die to wear one day.
Purchasing pearls online? Definitely yes! Where? I?ve been trying several ways to purchase FWP like ?direct farms?, wholesalers, traders, distributors in China (Shanghai, Zhuji, Suzhou) across up to 140 different contacts, then I?ve ordered tens of samples strands to evaluate the quality and sellers graduating system and? only one among all of the mentioned contacts has sent me the exact described pearls: AAA Round 12 mm white freshwater pearls, 16 inch strand;
I have received near round, oval, button or potatoes shape instead, circled, ?baroque? or up to 45% spotted surface or very poor luster? well, disappointed in all aspects, except with one seller. What is the point? Then, I started to make my searches on a famous Auction website and the result is amazing, but (here is the point) you must keep a few tips in mind:
1) Always chose a seller that accept full return policies;
2) Always use the website?s payment mode: you get your money back whatever happens, if you reject the transaction and send back the item;
3) check all other items sold by the seller: if you see ?handicraft, plastic beads, tons of gemstones, shoes?, don?t purchase your pearls to this seller; better you choose a seller that only sells pearls, gemstones, or fine jewelry;
4) A seller that offers South seas Pearls, Akoya, Freshwater pearls and Tahitians pearls all at once, must be double checked: for a ?pearl beginner? (what I am !), the difference between these pearls? origin is not that easy to make;
5) If the description mentions ?AAAAAAAA+?, step out! As you know, AAA is the highest grade; almost no one use the Tahitian grade level system (A, B, C?)
6) Watch out the full description: origin of the pearls, size, shape, luster, surface: the seller that takes the time to fill out these details has probably more pearls knowledge than the one with his ?AAAAAAA+? description;
7) When you place your order, ALWAYS ask for the exact photo description?s item: what you see is what you must receive!
8) Finally, communicate with the vendor first: ask questions, check out his answers, if you can, give him a call;

Since I order pearls on this Auction website, I never been disappointed: the bad quality products has been shipped back and refunded;
My last order is a ?AA 11 / 12 mm round white South Sea pearls 14k clasp 16 inch necklace?: not disappointed at all in regard of the price: 400?; the pearls are real south sea pearls, the surface is AA, the size of the pearls is good, the luster is AA, only the matching color shows some difference, but obviously for the price, I couldn?t expect more for an everyday pearls necklace;
Now, why didn?t place a new order to my direct Chinese supplier that provided such beautiful pearls? The price! But It doesn?t mean that I will not call him again, after rough negotiation;
Now, what?s your opinion? What do you think? Do you have more tips?

Thank you in advance
Welcome to Pearl Guide, Claudia.
You have made some very good observations!
Bonjour Claudia. You forgot to mention that, being in France, you will have had to pay import duty and tax and customs clearance fees on all your imports.
That is not the concern of the seller, of course. But then you know that.
Hi all,

Thank you for your warm welcome and remarks :)
Wendy, you are absolutely right! custom fees and taxes are due to be paid by the customer, and it's expensive believe me! And even more for strands importation: better you order a necklace with a ugly claps than pearls in strands, because in that case, you have to pay for a local agent that will deliver custom clearance and will handle the shipping to you; the fees are expensive, believe me! Why? Who knows! Even if you are just a final customer and not a trader, you must call a local Agent! So far, when the seller use Hong Kong or China Post (or EMS), for any reasons, I hadn't pay these fees;
And you will hear about me soon Wendy, I am pretty interested by one of your SSP necklace :)

"Perlissimement" yours
If you buy only low priced items then they enter the EU without having any taxes due. And loose pearls and temporary strands attract no duty, only VAT - and the shipping company charges
The customs codes are the same worldwide, btw
717101 for loose pearls on temporary strands or single unset pearls
717116 for finished jewellery
No doubt that you have a perfect knowledge for UK importation, but… I am in France.
Each time I have purchased a foreign (outside of EU) item, vintage crocodile handbags from USA, pearls from China or Hong Kong, I had to pay an importation tax;
And remember: I am not a trader, an online shop, a supplier or a jeweler: just a final customer; I dont import, but purchase pearls for myself; that is why you are exempted to pay such taxes, and why I have to. In our French TVA Code, article N? 42 mentions this exoneration;
As you see, unfortunately, I paid and will have to pay these extra charges, but I warmly thank you for your kind advice.
What you are paying is the VAT - it is the same for everyone in the EU. the tax is payable when the items enter the EU. After that no tax.
I'm not exempted from paying tax! I wish I was.
Welcome Claudia! In France, I understand that you have to hire an independent customs broker to help your items clear customs faster- is that accurate?