Sterling silver, also referred to as “925” is the standars for “silver jewelry”. This means that 92.5% of the material is silver. The remaining 7.5% consists of other metals such as zinc. In most cases the jewelry will be stamped “925” somewhere on the piece. However, don’t be overly concerned if you come across a piece that is not stamped from time to time, especially if it is from a trusted supplier. Think about it – anyone can put a stamp on something. Just because it has a stamp does not prove anything except that the manufacturer knows he should apply a stamp! There are kits you can purchase if you want to test the jewelry yourself (www.jewelrysupply.com). Silver is not an expensive metal like Gold or Platinum and counterfitting is not a big issue.
What is the difference between silver and “silver plated”? Sterling silver is solid, consistent throughout the material. Plated means that you take a base metal and coat the exterior with sterling silver. If you want your business to last more than a few days, then don’t buy plated jewelry! The plating tends to chip off very easily and quickly. Plated jewelry, in my opinion, is worthless.
Rhodium plated jewelry is another option. This process involves treating the silver with Rhodium during the finishing process and is essentially permanent. The chipping issues that you get with silver plating are not a factor. Rhodium-finished jewelry does not tarnish and will maintain a high, lustrious shine. It tends to be more expensive. I don’t see the value in it myself.
Silver jewelry will tarnish over time. This is a natural oxidation process. Tarnish is easily cleaned by polishing te silver surface with a soft cloth. Some designs actually look nice with some tarnish in the filigree of the silver-work.
Hand-made vs. Machine made – We carry mostly handmade jewelry. Every piece is unique and there is more chance of variation among the designs. Hand-filigree silver work in particular has superior elegance to machine made. I think machine made jewelry can look too commercial. BUT in some cases it is preferred. Most of our amber jewelry is set in machine made in poland where labor costs are higher than in India, for example. Since people buy the amber jewelry for the amber, not the silver work (most cases), hand made settings work fine. And in some ways better because the nice clean designs frame the exquisite amber pieces nicely.
A True Wholesaler? — Is your wholesale jewelry vendor a true “wholesaler?” Many companies claim to be wholesalers but still sell to the general public. This is not cool because this means they are competing with their own customers. If your price starts off at retail, and then gets discounted based on volume, this is does not really qualify as wholesale. You should be able to markup your prices by 2 to 2.5 times and still offer a fair retail price. All wholesalegemshop.com’s jewelry is priced at wholesale. We do not sell to to retail customers through our site. Period! Never have, never will. And we offer a very competitive price whether you are buying $75 pr $2,000. Checkout our prices and you will find ours are often as low or lower than our competitors’ lowest “tier” which you may not reach until you spend $3,000!