How to Sell: Costume Jewelry

Now that we’ve got our feet under us in terms of establishing this blog and our other various social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook), I’d like to start up a new series. This one is called “How to Sell.” I’ll be breaking down the best ways to sell a certain item, and what you should definitely include in your listings if you wish to sell that item. Handy, right?

First up is costume jewelry.

I LOVE selling costume jewelry. It’s cheap to buy – we can easily spend $200 on a flat of jewelry and then double our money when we turn around and sell it. It’s also easy to list. I can put up right around 10 listings in an hour. During an ideal (read: unrealistic) workday, that means I can do about 80 listings. In one week? 400 listings. Wow! But the best part of selling jewelry? It can make you a lot of money. You probably won’t hit that many home runs with it, but all of those little profits of $10 or $20 really add up in the end.

Plus, I’m a girl. It’s fun to look at.

So, here are our tips for you:

A. Buy in bulk. If you’re buying pieces individually, you’re probably not getting the best deal. We usually try to count up the number of pieces and multiply that by $10 – the maximum amount we’ll spend on each piece. If you’re buying a box that contains roughly 200 pieces, people aren’t going to want to bid up to $2,000 for the lot. But if you’re buying it piece by little piece? You’ll quickly find they have no trouble dropping $10 for one of them. People tend to overspend when they buy individually, whereas they will drop out much sooner if they’re trying to purchase a bulk lot.

B. Buy the good stuff. Don’t buy cheap jewelry, no matter how pretty it looks. I’m mostly talking about those plastic bead necklaces and the rings that look like they came out of a gumball machine. Avoid them, because they won’t sell well. Instead, go for the better looking jewelry. It should be bright and shiny, covered in rhinestones, or signed by a maker. (And if you’ve got all three, you’re golden!)

C. Learn your makers. It pays to do research. Some companies are selling better than others. (Trifari, for example, is pretty popular right now.) You don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into buying jewelry from only one company, but you want to be aware of this information. In your listings you want to sound professional and knowledgeable. Would you rather buy from someone who says, “This is a pin signed Trifari,” or from someone who says, “This is a pin signed Trifari. Trifari began making jewelry in 1918, however the copyright symbol indicates this was produced sometime after 1955.” Here’s our favorite reference site. You can also find it (and more!) on the side panel under “Links – Research Database (For Sellers & Collectors).”

D. Take close and clear pictures. This is a good rule to follow in general, but an extremely important one to follow when dealing with this type of merchandise. You want close pictures so your buyer can see every rhinestone – they want to make sure they’re all there. You also want clear pictures for the same reason, but also because you want them to look professional. I would much rather buy from someone who looks like they have a professional setup than from someone who took a picture of a pin on their kitchen table with their cat in the background. (Again, this applies to more than just jewelry.) Be sure to take pictures of both the front and back of a piece, so they can see total condition and what sort of clasp it has. It’s also important to take a close up of the maker’s mark. Different marks from the same company can identify when it was made, and even if you don’t know this information, your buyer might.

E. List in bulk. Get all of your picture taking and formatting done and then sit down with your jewelry and try to get out as many as you can right away. I usually like to spread everything out and put them in groups according to type (necklaces, earrings, brooches, etc.). Then I split them up further into signed/extremely nice pieces and unsigned/lesser pieces. That way I get the better pieces up first.

F. Don’t be afraid to list items with missing rhinestones/tarnish. We’ve had plenty of luck in the past with pieces like this. Some people like to repair them and then either wear or resell them. Just make sure you’re not selling pieces that are beyond repair, or you’ll probably never find a new home for them.

These are an identical pair of pins that were both missing rhinestones, so we sold them together in hopes that one could be used to repair the other. We ended up selling them for $30!

G. Make sure your description is very, very clear. Most people don’t like to buy jewelry that is broken, has been repaired, is missing stones, or is tarnished. If your piece has any of those attributes, make sure you state it clearly. Someone will still want it, and it’s better to be honest than to leave out that information and have to deal with a returned item or negative feedback. You should also include the following information in your listings: type (necklace, pin, etc.), clear description (ie. “This is a pin shaped like a cat. It is silver with black rhinestones on the body, and two green rhinestones for eyes.”), maker’s marks (including any relevant history or dates in reference to the company or the individual piece), measurements (length and width), and condition (BE SPECIFIC). Be sure to mention you’re listing other jewelry or that you have a stash in your store. Provide a link so they can browse your selection.

H. Don’t be afraid to price high. This is especially true of your signed pieces. Do your research if you think you’ve got something really great on your hands, but otherwise find a price you’re happy to start your listings out with. We usually try for around $19.99, but will go lower or higher if we feel that’s necessary. You’d be surprised at how many we can sell at that price. If it doesn’t sell, we throw it in our store at a higher price (around $30) and set the Best Offer option. Sometimes they offer the price we had it up for at auction, and other times it’s a little lower. Either way, if we can sell it for at least $10, we’re guaranteed our money back (and probably profit on top of that).

This is a gorgeous set that we knew would be a home run for us. It was from Trifari and signed with the designer's name - Kunio Matsumoto. We started this much higher than our other pieces (around $100) and it ended up selling for $180! The best part was that this was hidden amongst the rest of the jewelry we bought that day, so we got it really inexpensively!

I. Find an easy way to ship your jewelry. Another reason why we love jewelry so much is because it is EASY to ship. We spend a little extra money here buying Tyvec envelopes and little boxes. It pays off, though. Instead of having to bubble wrap each piece and hope we have a tiny enough box, we just throw it together and get it on its way. It looks nicer, too.

J. Don’t toss the junk jewelry. You’d be surprised how well junk jewelry that’s broken or missing rhinestones will sell for. We’ve sold a small lot (4-5lbs) for about $50. People use it to repair other pieces of jewelry or make their own. They can also use it for all sorts of other crafts, too. Buyers love to get this stuff in bulk, so keep a bag of it handy. When it’s full to the brim, throw it on eBay and see how it does!

There you have it! That’s a sneak peek into how we sell and list costume jewelry. Did it help? I hope so! If you’ve got any questions, tips, or success stories, please feel free to mention them in the comments below.

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36 thoughts on “How to Sell: Costume Jewelry

  1. Louise says:

    I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading extremely slow for

    me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back
    later and

    see if the problem still exists.

  2. Sherri says:

    Hi, can you give a few hints on where you buy your bulk jewelry?

  3. joann says:

    Yes, I’d also like to know where to buy bulk jewelry in order to sell it on ebay.

  4. This site is really nice. Any kind of JEWELRY product is here. So, it is very helpful for JEWELRY product.
    http://shop.annaleece.com

  5. […] up a wholesale to retail jewelry website. For example, the website Its All Our Vault states that costume jewelry is the cheapest investment option and you can always find sites selling bulk orders. However, some […]

  6. Nayana V says:

    Very helpful…would need this kind of advice in future…

  7. Jasmine says:

    Great information, we are making our first trip to Los Angeles this week to prepare for our first sale. Do you sell anywhere other than online? Are you mainly vintage? I feel like I don’t have an “eye” for vintage. It intimidates me for reason. Again, thanks for all of the wonderful information.

  8. Corey says:

    This was a great read! I have tons of jewelry to sell but I’m having a hard time finding the right customers to buy it…any suggestions on how to find customers who want to buy in bulk?

  9. Michele says:

    Hi im trying to sell 2 shoe boxes of vintage costume jewelry I dont know whi buys costume jewelry….help lol.

    • leeAnn says:

      I am looking to sell my grandmothers vintage antique jewelry also, please , I need help

      • Lanelle says:

        Hi leanness sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Things have been real crazy lately. Usually I get respond real quick. Let me know how I can help you with your costume jewelry. I know a lot about costume jewelry and I will do everything I can to help you and maybe send me pictures and see what you have. My email is lanylove5@gmail.com

  10. Tash Mayers says:

    SMOKE & PET FREE HOME
    PLEASE CHECK OUT MY OTHER ITEMS (10% DISCOUNT ON PURCHASES OVER £10 + DISCOUNT ON P&P)
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/accessories_2015

  11. tomas lourie says:

    2:17 pm
    10/29/2015

    I’m at the Anaheim public library opposite fire station on Uclid Ave between Katella & Ball Road in Anaheim. Anyone need to purchase about 10 ibs bulk costume jewelry ? Good shape and a good show !

    tl

  12. Hello I appreciate your blog it has help understand sales of jewelry I have around 50 pieces of Vidal brutalist jewelry that need to be sold can some one help me I don’t know where to start

  13. Larry says:

    I have 3 moving boxes full of rings, precious stones, bracelets, necklaces that my mother purchased over the years. Looking for buyer.

  14. Linda siegel says:

    Where can I sell my nice costume jewelry. I’m pretty computer illiterate

  15. Dewey says:

    Hello All….
    I am a collector and Large Reseller of Costume Jewelry. If you have anything you would like to sell, please contact me with a few photos and a contact number. Your asking price would also be helpful. Looking forward to seeing what you have…
    Dewey

    • BILLIE says:

      WE HAVE ABOUT 3 CUBIC FEET OF COSTUME JEWELRY NEAR VALPARAISO IN. CAN YOU COME OVER AND LOOK AT IT?

      • Dewey says:

        Billy,
        I apologize.. I didn’t see that you responded to our post.. Any way you could send me some photos of what you have ? I am in PA.
        Dewey

    • Chris Shapcott says:

      Sorry to bother you, but I saw your email in a blog about selling jewelry and was hoping you or someone you may know may be interested. I have about 50+ lbs of costume jewelry, seems like mostly items that would be sold at a Claire’s retail store. Each piece is tagged but no name. I am looking to sell the whole lot and wanted to see if you may be interested. I could send pics when I get home. Hope to hear from you. Thank you.

      • Dewey says:

        Hello Chris,
        I would take a look at your photo’s. I couldn’t promise anything, but if you have anything older I would also be interested in that as well. We are always interested in purchasing lots.. Especially older stuff.
        Dewey

    • Norma says:

      Hi Dewey
      I hope that you are still in the business of buying and selling “Costume Jewelry”. I have a large amount of great pieces from some of our most modern designers e.g. Heidi Daus, Nicky Butler and Jay King among others. With an original purchasing price of approximately $17000.00, I have generously discounted, for rapid sale. I will be happy to send you photos if you will send me your email address. Hope to hear from you soon.
      Norma

  16. Debi McCloskey says:

    Was wondering if anyone knows if there is an online place to sell some costume jewelry. I don’t want to nor do I have the time to sell each item separately on ebay.

    • Nancy Lattin says:

      Tradesy.com, they have a program where you ship the items to them, they photograph and ship to the buyer and I think you get 80% and they take 20%. Ebay now has the same “valet” service available I believe.

      • Debi McCloskey says:

        I went on tradesy.com and there is no where I can find on their site that I can just ship my stuff to them, everything I see is basically take a photo and sell piece by piece just like ebay. Am I missing something, I just want to sell it all at one time.

  17. […] How to Sell: Costume Jewelry | ItsAllOurVault – Feb 13, 2012  · How to Sell: Costume Jewelry … In one week? 400 listings. Wow! But the best part of selling jewelry? It can make you a lot of money. […]

  18. Margaret bolden says:

    What about buy jewelry from Wish.com

  19. Harold says:

    Very helpful and I thank you I have few thousand pieces that I want to sell Don’t know if I really have the time to list them the way you suggested which seems like fun and a lot more profitable Well if you know anyone who buys in bulk 4076928188 I will send pics

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