Are you looking for a jewelry fabrication manufacturer, but not sure who to trust? You will not only learn how to do it but also how to figure out how much it will cost in this post.
The insider secrets include how to sniff out the right jewelry suppliers, how to choose the gems and metals you want in your pieces, which techniques work best, and more.
1. What is the Right Material For Your Jewelry?
A. Which Metals Should You Use?
Metal is a common word in jewelry making. In the jewelry industry, there is a hierarchy of precious metals that is followed. Gold is at the top of the list; then silver and platinum; followed by brass, stainless steel, alloy, and other less expensive metals.
Choosing the right metal for your jewelry can be an overwhelming decision. Let us help you make that decision with a quick look at the pros and cons.
Copper Jewelry/Brass Jewelry
Most big players in the jewelry industry use this material. It can be made into very exquisite jewelry. It is popular with middle and low-end customers because of its low price. It is especially suitable for e-commerce and entrepreneurs with low budgets.
Low minimum order quantity. The minimum order quantity accepted by most factories is 100 pieces.
Flexible shapes. Since the material is soft and can be formed into any shape, all jewelry crafts are possible.
Short production time. The finished product can be produced in 7-15 days. This makes it possible for you to keep up with jewelry designs.
Low price. The raw material is cheap and basically negligible
Color changes with time and wear. Brass jewelry might turn black or green. It can oxidize in combination with skin oils. It generally lasts between 1 and 6 months depending on the physical condition of the wearer.
Allergic reaction. Copper jewelry (mainly earrings) may cause allergic reactions in some people. Many earrings have silver needles, while the main parts of the earrings are made of copper).
Stainless Steel Jewelry
Stainless steel is commonly used in men’s fashion jewelry. Jewelry made from stainless steel can vary significantly in price depending on the stainless steel type.
The most commonly used is 304. However, better stainless steel jewelry is made from 316 and 316L, which are food and pharmaceutical-grade stainless steel. It has stronger corrosion resistance.
316 costs twice as much as 304. 304 and 316 stainless steel have no visible difference. This leads to many jewelry manufacturers using 304 instead of 316 to maximize profits.
Stainless steel jewelry is corrosion-resistant. It does not easily turn black like silver jewelry.
It does not produce allergic reactions like copper jewelry. It is safer than other metals which contain harmful lead.
Vacuum coating will stay on the jewelry longer than traditional plating. It provides very high levels of durability – better corrosion resistance against sweat, chlorine, etc.
When compared to the precious metal used in jewelry such as gold and silver, the price is more affordable.
Simple styles. Stainless steel jewelry has a high hardness. It is suitable for simple and non-deformed styles. It is not as refined as copper jewelry.
Difficulty in stone setting. Stone settings are difficult and can easily fall off.
High MOQ. The minimum order quantity is high, depending on the process, it’s typically between 500 and 1000 pieces.
Long lead time. The production cycle is typically 25-35 days, which is 2-3 times the time it takes to manufacture copper jewelry.
Among the goods poured through the machine, since steel has a high melting point, the cooling time during production is longer than that of copper, and the scrap rate is high (the scrap rate is 20%, and that of copper is 5%-2%).
The factory must meet a minimum order quantity prior to starting production of the goods cut by the machine. The time for production and processing of steel materials would also be increased.
Sterling Silver Jewelry
Silver jewelry has been popular for many years. It is a sign of status and beauty in many cultures around the world. It is considered eternal and you can keep the silver jewelry forever. It’s typically used for jewelry such as rings, bracelets and earrings, and other decorations.
It’s soft, doesn’t rust, mixes well with other metals, and is malleable that can be molded into any shape. Although not as strong as stainless steel, the tone and luster of pure silver give a sense of expensiveness while maintaining a reasonable price.
Silver jewelry gives people a feeling of wealth and makes it special.
The minimum order quantity is low. In general, silver jewelry factories accept orders of 50-100 pieces or less.
This material is soft and can be made into a variety of shapes, hence practically all jewelry crafts are possible.
Fast production time, generally it takes 7-15 days to complete silver jewelry production. As a result, you can stay on top of jewelry trends.
It will not cause allergies to the wearer. By using sterling silver, you should be able to wear silver jewelry with no skin problems.
Sterling silver costs more than copper or stainless steel.
Silver requires more handwork than copper or stainless steel.
Silver jewelry will turn black over time. 925 Sterling Silver darkens due to daily use. It easily reacts with air, sweat, and sulfur.
Silver is soft and it is easy to cause certain scratches.
Silver jewelry requires more time to maintain. Proper care and correct storage are essential to preventing tarnishing and oxidation.
Karat Gold Jewelry
Gold rings and jewelry often come in a variety of gold karats, including 9K, 10K, 14K, and 18K. Pure Gold is also sometimes referred to as 24 Karat Gold (or 24K Gold). The higher the gold content, the darker the color and the higher the price.
Gold jewelry made of 14K and 18K is durable and hard because it is mixed with other metals such as silver and copper. Due to their versatility, they can be shaped in many different ways, which makes them popular among young people. 9K and 10K gold tend to dull with time. Unlike gilding, by cleaning, the dullness of the surface can be removed.
18K Gold: 75% gold; 25% other metals
Best Color & Quality.
If your budget can stretch to 18K we recommend it!
14K Gold: 58.3% gold; 41.7% other metals
Excellent Color. Great compromise between quality & price. The most common choice for our customers.
10K Gold: 41.7% gold; 58.3% other metals
Strong & durable with good color. An excellent choice for a moderate budget.
9K Gold: 37.5% gold; 62.5% other metals
Best price. Entry-level gold. At this low Karat, the red color of the Copper mix begins to come through
In addition, Karat Gold will show different colors (white gold, rose gold, etc.) according to the type and proportion of the added metal. Typically, pure gold is mixed with white metals such as palladium or silver to make white gold jewelry.
Rose gold is very similar to yellow gold, with the exception of the higher proportion of copper used in the alloy to achieve the rosy color. The karat of White Gold and Rose Gold follows the same pattern as Yellow Gold.
Suitable for setting high-end stones
Styles and shapes to suit any taste
Available in yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold
Often considered an investment. You can pass them down to family members
Gold material prices are high
The cost of handcraft is much higher than silver or copper
B. Which Stones should I use?
There are many different types of stones for jewelry making. Some are real, some are not. They are so versatile you can use them for pretty much anything, from intricate necklaces and drop earrings to tennis bracelets and bespoke brooches.
Here are some facts about the three major categories of gemstones – Natural Stones, Synthetic Stones, and Simulated stones.
Created naturally with no human interference
More expensive because of their rarity and will maintain their value
Considered a symbol of beauty, power, and wealth
Tend to look more real due to natural inclusions and less vivid colors
Created in a lab using identical properties to genuine gemstone
More sustainable to produce
Middle-ground price between real gems and simulated
Provide the real feel, density, and look of a natural gemstone
Have fewer natural imperfections
Looks similar but it’s a different material
Cubic zirconia and moissanite are two popular simulated diamonds
Most affordable making them a favorite for fashion jewelry
Most Common Gemstones for Jewelry manufacturing: Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Agate, Amber, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Garnet, Jade, Opal, Pearl, Turquoise. The list can go on and on.
Synthetic stones and imitation stones are often used in jewelry. These stones appear flawless, giving them added appeal for those wanting perfection.
Another benefit is the price tag. Because they are so cheap to make, they can be offered as low-priced jewels to a wide array of consumers.
2. How much does it cost to get jewelry Mass-Produced?
The price of jewelry production is typically based on the cost of materials (gems and metals), labor, processing technic, design time, and overhead. Let’s go over a few of the most important ones here.
1. Materials for jewelry
The choice of raw materials directly determines the price level of the product.
The prices of commonly used metal materials from low to high are copper, brass, stainless steel, silver, and Karat Gold. Jewelry made with precious or base metal can have a great deal of influence on the price and value, as well as how it wears.
Quality jewelry should have hallmarks to tell you what metal it is. Precious metals fluctuate in price according to the market, so when metal prices increase, precious metal jewelry prices rise as well. Fine Jewellery is regularly constructed of precious metals (gold, sterling silver, or platinum) and natural gemstones, pearls, or diamonds.
Base metals tarnish much faster and are more reactive to skin. Adding a coating layer of expensive metal is one way to combat this, however, poor quality plating may result in the thin coat rubbing off in a few months or even days. Costume Jewellery is usually made with base metals (brass, copper, or aluminum, etc) and simulated stones.
2. Stones for jewelry
There’s a difference in the look and the price of different types of stones. There’s a market for them all. To make the right choice when selecting a stone for your jewelry production, you need to understand the difference.
A gemstone can be valued by evaluating the four Cs: carat, color, clarity, and cut. Lab diamonds will show variations in all four Cs and have a range of poor to excellent quality too. Not all lab stones are perfect, colorless, and flawless!
Carat Weight actually refers to the measurement of a diamond’s weight and not its size. One carat is exactly one-fifth of a gram (0.20 g). When a diamond is properly cut, its carat weight determines its size, and bigger diamonds are typically more expensive.
Diamond clarity is measured by how many blemishes or inclusions there are in it.
Blemishes are external flaws on a gem such as chips, scratches, abrasions, naturals on diamonds, or spots on pearls.
Inclusions are formed inside of the gem (also known as the cloudiness of a gem). These may include bubbles, small pockets of liquid, minute crystals of the same mineral or a different mineral, or fractures or cleavages.
A perfect diamond, free from any impurities and defects, is colorless. The less color, the higher the grade. Diamonds can exhibit undesirable yellow or brown tinges due to impurities, such as nitrogen.
The cut of the diamond describes the quality of the shape, geometry, and finish of the gemstone. Only round brilliant diamonds receive formal cut grades ranging from Excellent (the best) to Poor (the worst). Diamonds with perfect cut quality will have the best brightness, fire, scintillation, and light performance.
3. Processing techniques for jewelry
Processing techniques have a significant impact on jewelry prices. Many jewelry processing procedures require handwork. Therefore, labor costs are a significant component of jewelry production.
As an example, bras jewelry manual costs account for more than 80% of the total. Since copper is so cheap, materials can be ignored largely. The exact same style will vary between five and ten times because of the difference in workmanship.
In the case of silver jewelry, the manual cost accounts for 30%-50% of the total jewelry price(depending on the size and design).
The more complex the jewelry structure, the higher the processing cost. Processing costs increase as jewelry structures become more complex.
For example, a ring with flower patterns is much more difficult to be processed than a ring with only a pattern of lines and surface texturing. Some designs require special polishing methods in addition to certain features.
Silver and karat gold has a much higher processing cost than copper and steel. Almost all processing procedures of silver and karat gold can only be done by hand, and it is more refined.
There are also differences in the cost of electroplating color. In general, rose gold and gold plating are more expensive to electroplate than silver plating. The thicker the plating, the higher the cost, and the better the quality of the final product. The most common plating thickness is 0.025~0.03mil.
3. What jewelry do you want to make?
You can start by telling jewelry factories what jewelry you want and where you are at the moment.
A. Using your own design
Typically, design documents include information such as materials and specific parameters, such as jewelry dimensions, stone size, and so on. Manufacturing factories can produce jewelry according to your design.
B. You don’t have a design, but you want to tweak or upgrade an existing model
Some customers are unfamiliar with jewelry customization. Instead, they may be inspired by certain jewelry styles on the market. Here are a few ways to regularly tweak an existing model.
Change the size of the jewelry
Modify some of the design
Alternate the accessories
Make the colors different
C. You just have an idea of what jewelry you want
You can provide a detailed outline and requirements of your concept. The more specific you are, the better. Use simple and clear words to describe the jewelry you need, for example: “I want a rectangular pendant with a star-shaped pink crystal centered.”
Next, the jewelry manufacturer will produce a 3D design for you and confirm every detail before moving forward with samples.
4. Insider secrets into outsourcing your jewelry production in China
A. What you see in the picture might not be what you get.
Often, jewelry manufacturers will reduce the number of operations to reduce costs. Listed below are some ways a bad factory might cutwork that will impact jewelry quality.
Sanding. Lack of sanding or inadequate sanding can result in rough jewelry or jewelry with sharp edges, which can scratch the skin.
Polishing. If jewelry is not well polished before electroplating, it will not be as bright and may even have gaps afterward.
Quality inspection. Without necessary quality inspections in each jewelry production phase, there is no way to locate defective products, such as falling stones, broken stones, and deformed jewelry. As a result, the defective rate on your jewelry order will increase, ultimately resulting in a higher return cost.
Jewelry Molds. Rubber molds have a typical service life of 1,000 to 2,000 times. A jewelry mold overused can result in batch defects in the finished jewelry.
B. Testing raw materials is essential, especially for silver jewelry and gold jewelry.
Some unscrupulous jewelry factories even use white copper in order to pass them off as silver in order to reap huge profits. The price of metal materials directly depends upon the content of silver and gold. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between white copper and silver in appearance after the final product has been completed.
During different stages of jewelry production, we will inspect the raw materials.
Making the order
Factory purchasing raw materials
Alternatively, we supply gold or silver directly
Before the jewelry assembly
Before jewelry plating
After jewelry plating
C. Choosing a high-quality jewelry manufacturer with extensive expertise and management will also affect the product’s quality and price.
With an efficient management factory, production costs can be reduced with the least amount of labor possible. Many jewelry defects are caused by poor management. It can be frustrating to deal with quality issues when the decision-makers don’t care much about how well a jewelry piece is made and don’t contribute to quality control.
D. The control jewelry factories have over the supply chain upstream affects the price and quality of their products as well.
Factory experience will allow them to take more initiative in purchasing raw materials and accessories. This is most noticeable in the procurement of stones and accessories. Expert factories have access to more suppliers of stones and accessories and can obtain better quality and prices.
Experienced factories will be able to control delivery times more accurately. They will have more insight into the supply chain and be more proactive. They can arrange priority processing for orders that need to be handled urgently.
Factory quality varies. The handcraft skills of workers in different factories vary as well. Factories that produce low-quality jewelry for a long time are unlikely to produce exquisite jewelry. In contrast, factories that manufacture high-quality goods have stricter requirements for craftsmanship. For this reason, labor costs tend to be higher.
Want your jewelry business to grow? The secret lies not only in the quality of the jewelry itself but also in who you buy it from.
Whether you’re a seasoned jewelry retailer, jewelry E-Commerce owner, a part-time artisan, or just starting out, the right jewelry factory can expand your jewelry business. They ensure that you have access to affordable and high-quality materials while helping you increase the professionalism of your brand and offering support throughout each phase of jewelry manufacturing.
Get in touch with us to discuss how you can benefit from our jewelry fabrication services.