wholesale jewelry supplies guide small businesses

Jewelry-making has appealed to creative entrepreneurial types for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a craft that’s relatively approachable — anyone who’s patient enough can master it — and one that can also fit nicely in your budget, no matter what it is. Whether you’re an artsy jeweler who regularly exhibits at craft fairs or you’re operating a small restoration shop to spiff up old pieces, to succeed in your small business, you must know a little bit about wholesale jewelry supplies.

Beads of Cambay is your one-stop resource for affordably priced jewelry-making supplies, and this guide will help you understand how to buy them without breaking the bank.

In this article, we’ll go over all the most common jewelry supplies that you should be purchasing wholesale and help you figure out how much of each you should buy for your business.

Wholesale Beads, Pearls, Charms and Chains

hands holding pliers above bead set

As the (forgive us) crown jewels of your jewelry pieces, your gems, beads, pearls and charms are of utmost importance when it comes to design. But these components vary widely in price. A flawless precious gem can run you thousands, while a plastic bead might ring up for a single cent. Here are some common supplies in this category, with information on how to estimate costs and the quantity you’ll need for your project.

  • Gemstone Beads — Gemstone beads are perfect for adding an elegant, high-quality look to your work without spending thousands. Explore both precious — including ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond beads — and semi-precious gemstone beads to add a higher quality finish to your pieces. These beads come as strings or single beads. Though these beads cost more than metal and plastic beads, you can charge more for jewelry made with gemstone beads.
  • Freshwater Pearls — Otherwise known as baroque pearls, freshwater pearls come in unique shapes and a wide range of colors. They tend to be more affordable than saltwater pearls, which are usually perfectly round. The color, size and shape of freshwater pearls determines how much they cost, but you’ll find options that range from $1 to $600 each.
  • Saltwater Pearls — Saltwater pearls are generally more expensive — and can therefore be used to create higher-cost jewelry pieces — compared with freshwater pearls. Look for precious Tahitian (black), Akoya (white) or South Sea (gold or white) pearls if you want to add an elegant, premium finish to your jewelry pieces.
  • Metal Beads — Metal beads are generally more affordable than pearls or gemstones, but not always. For example, your beads may be hand-painted, hand-carved or finished with gemstones or crystals, which can ramp up the cost. They may also be plated in gold, sterling silver, platinum, copper and other metals, which can impact the cost.
  • Charms — Typically used as focal pieces in jewelry, charms can ring up for more than regular beads. With that said, you typically only need a single charm per piece, so you won’t need as large a stock of them as you might with beads.
  • Chains — Chains can be used as the basis of your jewelry piece or to add a little something special to your project. They come in options ranging from simple but beautiful gold-plated chains to dazzling bezeled chains that bring a colorful, multidimensional feel to your design.

strands of gemstone beads

Wholesale Jewelry Findings

Findings — the components that link beads and gems together — are an important part of the jewelry-making process. Clasps, knots, fasteners, connectors, endings and wire may not be as eye-catching as your beads, pearls and gems, but they are equally as important. Jewelry designers may opt to hand-select high-quality, beautiful jewelry components or to go the more basic route to save costs.

  • jewelry clasps quoteClasps and Fasteners — Jewelry clasps and fasteners are the components that secure a piece of jewelry, primarily bracelets and necklaces. They may include barrel clasps, box clasps, lobster clasps, magnetic clasps, vermeil clasps and others. It’s important that you know about the different types of clasps before making your purchase to be sure that you choose the right one for your project.
  • Connectors — Connectors include pins and rings that are used to make jewelry components, including chains and charms. You will need eye pins if you intend to make your own chains and jump rings to connect two loops on a piece of jewelry.
  • Endings — As you might assume, endings provide an “ending” to your strand of jewelry to help ensure that the pieces stay in place and to delineate one section from another. Common ending types include crimp beads — which are great for ending a strand of beads — cones, which can be used to connect the ends of multiple strands, and double-cup connectors, which conceal knots.
  • Stringing Materials — Your stringing material — most commonly beading thread, wire, cord, leather or hemp — is one of the most basic jewelry supplies in your arsenal. It allows you to build amazing pieces from scratch and to beautifully assemble your favorite beads, pearls, charms and gems on a single piece of jewelry. Take some time to learn the different types of stringing materials to find one that’s ideal for your unique vision.

beads and pliers

Jewelry Tools and Accessories

Even if you’ve got all the pretty gems and pearls in the world, you won’t get very far if you don’t have the tools to turn them into wearable works of art. In general, jewelry tools are made to help you put components together — to string your beads onto your stringing material, to attach your clasps to your strings and so forth. Having a good set of jewelry tools can help you fashion high-quality, heirloom-worthy pieces quickly and without frustration.

Note: we don’t recommend buying your jewelry-making tools wholesale. Instead, buy tools that are made from quality materials and will last you through hundreds of projects. Quality and durability are vital when your tools will be used for commercial applications.

  • Jeweler’s Pliers — If you work with a lot of wire or metal when making jewelry, your jeweler’s pliers will quickly become one of the most important items in your toolbox. Pliers are handheld pinchers that help you grip, bend and maneuver small objects, so for many jewelers, they’re like a second pair of hands.
  • Wire Cutters Wire cutters are extremely important for those jewelry designers and crafters who work primarily with wire, but they are also useful when working with pins and findings. Make sure that you choose a pair of pliers and cutters that are comfortable and cushioned enough for extended periods of use.
  • Nylon-Tip Tweezers Anytime you’re working with small, fragile and precious components such as gems and beads, you want to make sure that you have a strong grip that doesn’t affect the shape or finish. A pair of nylon-tip tweezers allows you to inspect and move small pieces without the risk of scratching or tarnishing the surface.
  • Beading Needles Beading needles are used to string beads onto your stringing material. It’s important that you have needles in many different sizes to accommodate various bead openings and that you choose high-quality needles that help you secure beads quickly.
  • Bead Reamer — This handy tool is specifically designed to reshape the holes of your beads, which can be invaluable if your primary focus is making bead-centric jewelry. Use it to make your beads work on any type of stringing material or to change the appearance of the bead to match your aesthetic. Reamers may also come with other types of tools for various jewelry-making jobs.

jewelry tools accessories graphic

Tips for Buying Wholesale Jewelry Supplies

Now that you know the basic jewelry supplies needed to get your small business off the ground, you may need some assistance with the actual purchasing process. Here are some of our best quick tips for new jewelry entrepreneurs who are getting ready to place their first wholesale order.

  • shop domestically quoteAcquire Resale Documents — If you’re looking to make the leap from casual jewelry crafter to full-blown entrepreneur, one of the first things you need to do is acquire a resale number from your state government. Often, you will only be able to buy jewelry supplies at truly wholesale prices if you have this number. Beads of Cambay is happy to honor wholesale pricing for legitimate resellers. You may also need a tax ID number and other formal business documents to purchase wholesale goods and supplies from online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
  • Know What You Need — Perhaps one of the most difficult parts about stocking up on supplies is knowing exactly how much you need. If you’re making string-based jewelry, the process is somewhat straightforward. Simply order the estimated amount of stringing material you need by multiplying the length of each piece by how many pieces you will make. Estimating how many focal beads, charms, pearls or gems you need can be more complicated. Our best piece of advice in this department is to pay very close attention to sizing and rely on your trusty calculator. Try to estimate how many of each you will need per piece and order accordingly. Always order between 5 and 10 percent extra to accommodate mistakes, miscalculations and accidents — because we’ve all accidentally dropped a bead or two down the register!
  • Shop Domestically — When you’re scouring the web for wholesale suppliers, pay attention to addresses. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of purchasing wholesale items from China and other countries that may offer lower prices but often compromise with poor customer service, subpar quality and shipping that takes eons. Spend some time finding wholesale jewelry supply stores with American addresses who sell some US-manufactured products. Beads of Cambay is the best place to start for your wholesale beads and other supplies.
  • Stay Organized — Some of the most basic tricks of the trade for jewelry-makers center around organization. Be sure that you keep all your supplies neatly grouped in see-through containers so that you can constantly keep track of what you need to order. Set a specific order date once a month or at a frequency that makes sense for the volume of your business and how much you need to produce. This will help ensure that you never run out of your most vital supplies. Placing frequent orders also allows you to try new products and experiment with different components. Be sure that you’re storing your supplies properly so they don’t get damaged.

pair of hands making jewelry

Why Buy Wholesale at Beads of Cambay?

If you’re like most people, we’re willing to bet you’ve occasionally run out of an important jewelry element and had to buy a replacement from your local craft store or jeweler. You probably noticed that buying individually was much costlier than buying wholesale online, which can significantly eat into your margins. If your goal is to earn money, you have to be smart about where and how you source your supplies.

Beads of Cambay invites you to sign up for a wholesale account to take advantage of discounts on wholesale beading and supplies. Our wholesale discount program is simple — the more you spend, the more you save! But you don’t have to spend a ton to take advantage of great pricing. Take a look at this wholesale table to see how much you can save when you buy wholesale jewelry supplies from us:

  • Spend $50-$99 — Receive 10% Off
  • Spend $100-$499 — Receive 20% Off
  • Spend $500-$999 — Receive 25% Off
  • Spend $1,000+ — Receive 30% Off

As you can see, there’s no reason why resellers shouldn’t be taking advantage of these fantastic breaks on jewelry supplies. Ready to get started? Simply contact us with your resale tax ID number (resale document) or add it to your Beads of Cambay account in the provided field. Send us your resale document through the postal service, fax (678-924-0819) or e-mail (info@beadsofcambay.com), and we’ll gladly set up your wholesale account so you can begin enjoying big savings on wholesale beads.